<iframe src="//www.googletagmanager.com/ns.html?id=GTM-PWMWG4" height="0" width="0" style="display:none;visibility:hidden">

The week in art news – Glenstone museum receives donation of $1.9bn

3 March 2023

The Glenstone Foundation, which manages the privately owned Glenstone museum in Potomac, Maryland, has received a $1.9bn donation from co-founder Mitchell Rales. Disclosed in Glenstone’s 2021 tax return and first reported by Bloomberg on Tuesday (28 February), the gift means that Glenstone’s assets now stand at $4.6bn (for comparison, the Met has an endowment of $4.4bn). Mitchell Rales and his wife, Emily, established the museum and sculpture park to house their collection of modern art, which includes major works by Twombly, Rothko, Koons and Basquiat, in 2006. A $200m expansion was completed in 2018. Forbes estimates the personal net worth of Mitchell Rales, co-founder of Danaher Corporation, at $5.7bn.

A Birkenhead flat full of artworks, known as Ron’s Place, has been saved just before it was due to be auctioned off. The art was created in secret by former tenant Ron Gittins, who died in 2019. With fireplaces moulded into the heads of a lion and a minotaur and fantastical murals on every wall and ceiling, the property is a gesamtkunstwerk of outsider art. Campaigners feared the art would be stripped away if the property sold at the auction this Wednesday. But thanks to the donation by Tamsin Wimhurst, a social historian who also helped to save the David Parr house in Cambridge, friends of Ron’s Place were able to win the auction with a bid of £335,000. There are plans to conserve the flat and turn it into a community resource.

Peter Weibel, the influential artist, curator and theoretician of new media art, has died at the age of 78. Born in Odesa in 1944, Weibel studied cinematography in Paris, before moving to Vienna to study mathematics. He became involved with the Viennese Actionists, beginning a relationship with the feminist artist Valie Export, before increasingly being drawn to works made using digital technologies. With Kasper König, he established the Institute of New Media at the Städelschule in Frankfurt in 1987. In 1999, he co-curated the exhibition ‘net_condition’ with Walter van der Cruijsen, the earliest museum blockbuster devoted to net art; it took place at the ZKM (Centre for Art and Media) in Karlsruhe, of which Weibel was director from 1999 until his death.

A moai statue has been discovered on Rapa Nui, or Easter Island. The statue was found by a team of volunteers in a dried-out lakebed near the Rano Raraku volcano. The researchers expect that there may be more of these famous statues in the lake, which began drying up in 2018; prior to that, the lake was inaccessible for 200–300 years, leading the researchers to conclude that ‘no human being could have left the moai there in that time’.