At Large  February 17, 2024  Carlota Gamboa

Jeff Koons Sends Sculptures to the Moon and More News

Via Jeff Koons

Jeff Koons with his miniature moon sculptures. (Detail)

Jeff Koons Sends Artwork to the Moon with Elon Musk’s Help

In a futuristic collaboration, the artist Jeff Koons has sent 125 sculptures to the moon with the help of billionaire Elon Musk’s SpaceX company. On the morning of Thursday, February 15, lunar lander Nova-C (Odysseus) was packed up on a rocket and sent off with Jeff Koons: Moon Phases from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The series of miniature moon sculptures, which was first announced in March 2022, is accompanied by Koons’ first line of NFTs, making the distant objects still available for earthly purchase. “I wanted to create a historically meaningful NFT project rooted in humanistic and philosophical thought," Koons told the press in 2022. The individual sculptures, inspired by influential historical figures like Cleopatra, Billie Holiday, and Galileo, embody different phases of the moon and will be available through Pace Verso, Pace Gallery’s NFT platform.

Courtesy of Christie's

René Magritte, L’ami intime (The Intimate Friend), 1958

A Mysterious Painting by René Magritte Leads Christie's London's Art of the Surreal Sale

André Breton’s ‘Surrealist Manifesto’ gets a centennial celebration highlighted by Christie’s annual Art of the Surreal  Evening Sale in London on March 7. This year's auction, which will follow the 20th/ 21st Century: London Evening Sale, will be led by René Magritte’s mysterious 1958 painting, “L’ami intime (The Intimate Friend),” which hasn’t been shown since 1998. Bought in 1980 by Gilbert and Lena Kaplan, the painting has been valued between $37.8 million and $63 million, as reported by Hyperallergic. Having left New York on February 14, the work will be on view at Christie’s Hong Kong February 21-23. The pre-sale exhibition gallery at Christie’s Rockefeller Center’s will be replaced by the preceding 20th/21st Century evening sale show, where Francis Bacon’s 1963 painting Landscape near Malabata, Tangier, is estimated to bring in between $18.8 million and $25 million after 40 years in Roald Dahl's private collection.

Hammer Museum Announces Curators for 2025 Biennial 

Essence Harden and Paulina Poboch have been selected to co-curate Made in LA, the Hammer’s highly anticipated biennial show, scheduled to open in the fall of 2025. Poboch is a new addition to the Hammer family, having joined in September as one of two new Robert Soros Senior Curators. Fairly new to Los Angeles, she has spent the last 16 years of her career at the Museum of Modern Art. Harden, whose doctoral research focused on LA-based avant-garde artist collective Studio Z, has been in the city for almost a decade. “I feel like we’ve found perfect partners in each other because Essence does know the landscape in a way that I do not," Poboch told artnews about Harden. But, our methodologies and our academic training puts us in sync with one another.” The latter, who is also curating the Focus section of Frieze LA, has stated that “LA is a type of grammar,” and is considering, “the signs and symbols that create the structure by which we come to understand the visual practices that happen here.”

© Negativ Courtesy BIG

Bjarke Ingels Group's design for the Museum of Freedom and Democracy and its surrounding complex | image 

Bjarke Ingels Group Releases Designs for NYC’s Waterfront Museum of Freedom and Democracy 

In a spot along the East River next to the United Nations, Manhattan will be getting a new addition to its waterfront skyline. Global architecture firm Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) has released its design for the Museum of Freedom and Democracy and its surrounding complex. Plans for what will soon be known as the “Freedom Plaza” include 1,325 apartments, the Banyan Tree and Mohegan hotels, and a pending casino. “The Museum of Freedom and Democracy will be designed like an urban agora,” Ingels told the Architect's Newspaper. “Our goal is to allow visitors to immerse themselves in the actual artifacts that are somehow associated with the stepping stones that led to the formation of democracy as it exists today.” 

Via Wikipedia

Frans Hals, Two Boys Laughing with a Mug of Beer, 1626. 

Museum Director Makes Plea for Return of Stolen Frans Hals Painting

Taco Dibbits, the director general of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, publicly asked for the return of Frans Hals’ work, Two Boys Laughing with a Mug of Beer, 1626, at a press preview Tuesday for the launch of a major retrospective of the Dutch master. The $16 million dollar work, which was stolen from Leerdam’s Museum Hofje van Mevrouw van Aerden in August of 2022, was missed among the group of 50 paintings. “Usually [Hals] paints a group portrait or people on their own and here you see two boys interacting,” Dibbits told the Guardian regarding the significance of the work. “That is something we would love to show and I really hope this painting will be rediscovered. This is a painting that belongs to us all.” Whether by fate or coincidence, the painting has been stolen twice before, once in 1988 and again in 2011 before being recovered a couple months later.

About the Author

Carlota Gamboa

Carlota Gamboa is an art writer based in Los Angeles.

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