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Appeals court halts Berkshire Museum collection sale

Plus: Düsseldorf state art collection uncovers Malevich forgery | Karl Katz (1929–2017) | Stolen photographs are mailed back to MoMA PS1 | and recommended reading

13 November 2017

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

Appeals court grants injunction to halt Berkshire Museum collection sale | The Berkshire Museum’s first sale of a set of works from its collection, including two paintings by Norman Rockwell, was scheduled to occur today at Sotheby’s New York. Late on Friday, however, after the state’s Attorney General Maura Healey filed an appeal against an earlier court ruling in the museum’s favour, a Massachusetts Appeals Court judge granted a temporary injunction against the Pittsfield institution, prohibiting it from selling or ‘otherwise disposing of any of the artworks that have been listed for auction’. Justice Joseph Trainor granted Healey’s request on the basis of the ‘risk of irreparable harm’ that could be caused by the sales. The order expires on 11 December, with the option to extend the injunction until the Attorney General’s Office has completed its review of the Berkshire Museum’s deaccessioning plans.

Düsseldorf state art collection uncovers Malevich forgery | An artwork gifted in 2014 to the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen (North-Rhine Westphalia art collection), previously thought to be a 1915 painting by Kazimir Malevich, has been revealed as a forgery. A statement issued by the Düsseldorf-based state art collection explained that studies of the work, titled Black Rectangle, Red Square, revealed that it could not have been produced before 1955, and probably dates to 1972–75. A further 40 drawings also attributed to Malevich that were part of the same 2014 bequest are also undergoing testing, the Art Newspaper reports.

Karl Katz (1929–2017) | Karl Katz, a former director of New York’s Jewish Museum who over his 60-year career was involved in numerous cultural projects across the US and Israel, has died aged 88. In 2016 Katz published an autobiography, The Exhibitionist: Living Museums, Loving Museums, surveying his different roles, from that of founding curator of the Israel Museum in Jerusalem to his directorship of a non-profit art film and television production company. For more on Katz’s contributions to the international museum landscape, see the New York Times obituary here.

Stolen photographs are mailed back to MoMA PS1 | Two photographs that were recently stolen from MoMA PS1 (the Museum of Modern Art’s Queens-based affiliate contemporary art centre) have been returned to the museum by mail, New York police officials have confirmed. A surveillance video still of a woman carrying the works into a shipping centre in Brooklyn has been released by police hoping to identify the suspect. The prints went back on display yesterday as part of the Carolee Schneemann retrospective currently being held at PS1.

Recommended reading | In the London Review of Books, T.J. Clark reluctantly contemplates the art of the Russian Revolution: ‘I have been trying to forget the shows in London commemorating the Bolsheviks, in particular the Royal Academy’s Revolution: Russian Art 1917–32. But I haven’t been able to: some things, some spaces and images, have stuck in the mind like shards of glass.’ (£) Meanwhile, writing for the Guardian, Lara Feigel explores the myths and the truths behind the nudes of Amedeo Modigliani, who is the subject of a retrospective at Tate Modern opening later this month. Finally, at the New Yorker: Jamie Lauren Keiles on the typography of Barbara Kruger’s contributions to the New York performance art biennial Performa.

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