The War’s Toll on Ukrainian Culture—and More Art News –

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The Headlines

A MAJOR ARTIST IN THE JESUIT ORDER who was briefly excommunicated for special and spiritual abuse is under renewed scrutiny, the Associated Press reports. The religious group is asking any victims of Rev. Marko Ivan Rupnik to come forward, a move the wire service described as part of “an effort to tamp down the scandal” surrounding Rupnik. Last week, per the AP , the Jesuits said that he was excommunicated in 2020 for absolving in confession a woman with whom he had sexual relations, but then had his excommunication lifted that same month. Some observers have criticized that light punishment. Another abuse allegation from a nun, in 2021, was dismissed because the statute of limitations had lapsed. The Catholic news outlet the Pillar reports that Rupnik, 68, has created work in Europe and the United States and directs the Pontifical Oriental Institute, which focuses on culture and theology. 

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ARTIST UPDATES. Tau Lewis, whose grand wall-hung mask sculptures made her a breakout star at this year’s Venice Biennale, is in the Cut. She currently has a show at 52 Walker in New York, and said, “Everything I do has been dedicated to the ubiquitous, I guess, angel, ancestor, ghost, all of whom are synonymous in my world.” The artist-musician Patti Smith, who is exhibiting her paintings and drawings at the Centre Pompidou, is in Artnet News. “I don’t like entering a lot of social situations,” she said. “I’m not the most generous person—I might be generous as an artist, but if I’m at a dinner party or something, I mostly want to leave.” And the ever-inventive Tomás Saraceno is in the Guardian, on the occasion of his show at the Museum of Old and New Art in Hobart, Australia. MONA’s founder, David Walsh , offered a pretty nice compliment: “Of the artists I know, Tomás Saraceno is the most likely to change the world.”

The Digest

More than 300 cultural sites in Ukraine—including libraries, museums, and churches—have suffered “substantial damage” since Russia’s invasion of the country early this year, according to a New York Times investigation. [The New York Times]

The influential film curator Adrienne Mancia, who supported the work of foreign and under-appreciated directors at the Museum of Modern Art and the Brooklyn Academy of Music, has died at 95. “To discover people who have new ways of saying things with film is thrilling,” she once said. [The New York Times]

UTA Artist Space in Los Angeles will host an Ernie Barnes show in February that looks at how the late artist depicted music in his work. Earlier this year, Barnes’s Sugar Shack (1976)—which appears on the cover of Marvin Gaye’s album I Want You (1976)—sold for $15.3 million at Christie’s, well beyond its $150,000 low estimate. [ARTnews]

For many years, a radiant portrait of the writer Joan Didion hung in her home, but when she died and the painting was readied for sale, the auction house could not initially identify its creator. The work sold at $110,000 (on a $5,000 high estimate), and its astonishing and moving backstory have now been revealed. [The New York Times]

Speaking of remarkable discoveries: Zaharia Cusnir died in obscurity in 1993, but the chance find of a trove of his photographs a few years ago has him “being hailed as an artist of rare talent, a master of composition whose works’ striking intimacy has been celebrated in exhibitions” across Europe, Andrew Higgins writes. [The New York Times]

New York’s latest issue focuses on rise of the term “nepo baby,” meaning the children of Hollywood celebrities who follow their parents into the business. The phenomenon, of course, exists in art, too, and journalist Rachel Corbett compiled a handy primer to five such families, from the Mugrabis to the Wildensteins. [Vulture/New York]

The Kicker

WHEN I PAINT MY MASTERPIECE.Bob Dylan—songwriter, painter, sculptor, whiskey creator, author, and more—has a new book out, and gave a very rare, very wide-ranging interview to the Wall Street Journal . One tidbit: During lockdown, he “made some landscape paintings.” On the topic of creativity, he also had a lot to offer. “When we’re inventing something, we’re more vulnerable than we’ll ever be,” he said. “Eating and sleeping mean nothing. We’re in ‘Splendid Isolation,’ like in the Warren Zevon song; the world of self, Georgia O’Keeffe alone in the desert. To be creative you’ve got to be unsociable and tight-assed.” Hope that is inspiring for all you artists reading this! [WSJ]

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