July Arts News Roundup
This month in our regular roundup of news you may have missed, we have fine art controversies, television honors, musical passings, and a criminal misstep by a corporate art collector.
Salvador Dali Ordered Exhumed in Paternity Case. In a case of life being more surreal than art, a Spanish tarot card reader has brought a suit claiming she is the daughter of Salvador Dali – and has successfully convinced a judge to exhume the artist’s remains. Though Dali never had children with his lifelong love Gala, the tarot reader claims she was conceived when her mother had an affair with Dali. The exhumation is now scheduled for 8pm Thursday, July 20th.
If her suit is succesful, the plaintiff would have the right to use Dali’s name, and could claim a portion of his estate.
Celebrated Florida Collector Estelle Berg Passes Away. Estelle Berg and her husband Paul started collecting art in the late 1960s, quickly becoming the heart of the South Florida art scene – at a time when that sort of support was even more vital than it is now. Estelle passed away at age 76 on June 27th, and the Miami Herald has a vital retrospective.
Emmy Nominations Announced. The nominations for the years best television were led by HBO’s Westworld and NBC’s Saturday Night Live, with more than 20 nominations each. Other notable nominations include The Handmaid’s Tale, Atlanta, Silicon Valley, and House of Cards. A full list can be found here.
Broady City’s Abbi Jacobson has a New Fine Art Podcast. Produced in collaboration with WNYC, the show will explore modern art with the help of offbeat guests from Hannibal Buress to RuPaul. It’s called “A Piece of Work,” and the first episode dropped July 10th on iTunes and other podcast platforms.
Hobby Lobby Smuggled Artifacts From Iraq. In easily the oddest arts news of the last month (and yes, I’m including Dali being exhumed), the craft chain Hobby Lobby was caught buying ancient cuneiform tablets and other objects that had been illegally smuggled out of Iraq. The acquisitions were part of the company’s commitment to collecting Biblical artifacts, but the Department of Justice has said the company had plenty of warning about the objects’ suspect origins.
As a recent Washington Post contributor pointed out, smuggling of artifacts often funds terrorism in unstable regions, while eroding the cultural heritage of some of the most important civilizations in human history. The chain has now been slapped with a $3 million fine and has to return the items.
Chelsea Manning Mounts DNA Portraiture Show. The former government leaker, recently released from prison, will be the subject/collaborator of a series of sculptures showing at New York’s Fridman Gallery starting August 2nd. During her time in prison, Manning sent cheek swabs and hair clippings to the artist Heather Dewey-Hagborg, who used them – exactly how isn’t totally clear – to make a series of 3-D portraits of Manning.
Linkin Part Frontman Chester Bennington Dead at 41. Bennington reportedly took his own life after struggling with depression. He was the frontman of one of the biggest nu-metal bands of the 1990s and early 2000s. He also, for a short while, fronted grunge pioneers Stone Temple Pilots.