At Large  January 18, 2024  Carlota Gamboa

Pokémon to Reissue Pikachu x Van Gogh Cards, Tamara de Lempicka at Sotheby's, and More News

Via Wikimedia Commons

Photo collage display for the exhibition "Tamara Łempicka", Muzeum Narodowe, Kraków, Poland 2022 (Detail)

Tamara de Lempicka Selling Exhibition at Sotheby's
Polish painter Tamara de Lempicka’s life is hitting the stage this spring in “Lempicka" on Broadway, and Sotheby’s plans to make the most of it with an upcoming selling exhibition, “The World of Tamara: A Celebration of Lempicka and Art Deco,” which will run from March 28 through April 16, 2024. Born in Warsaw, the Parisian transplant is best known for her Art Deco portraits of aristocrats which combine subtle cubism with a neoclassical flare. Having gained career momentum in the late 1930’s despite the great depression, her work was shown alongside Georgia O'Keeffe, Santiago Martínez Delgado, and Willem de Kooning. As a precursor to the Broadway opening, Sotheby's staged a one-night performance of the show on January 17. The selling exhibition will feature works by Lempicka, in addition to other Art Deco objects. Sotheby's achieved the artist’s auction house record with the sale of Portrait de Romana de la Salle (1928) in November, 2022, which went for just over $14 million.

The Pokémon Company International

The Pikachu Pokemon trading card inspired by Van Gogh's Self-Portrait with Grey Felt Hat by Naoyo Kimura (1960).

Pokémon x Van Gogh Special Edition Card to Be Reissued

When the "Pokémon x Van Gogh Museum" exhibition opened in September in Amsterdam, crowds reportedly made a run for the special edition trading cards and other merchandise issued with the show, causing chaos in the gift shop. Pokémon trading card illustrators riffed on famous Van Gogh works featuring Pokémon characters. There was such a furor among scalpers for the limited edition Pikachu-inspired Self-Portrait with Grey Felt Hat that the company withdrew the cards, according to artnet News in October. But now it has been reported that the company will reissue the cards to a batch of stores in the Netherlands, though Pokémon has not yet confirmed the news. For those who cannot wait, the original cards can be found on eBay selling anywhere between $150 to $5000 dollars.

Courtesy of National Institute of History and Anthropology (INAH)

Funerary urn found in Campeche.

A Mayan Funerary Urn Unearthed During Controversial Construction Across the Yucatán

Tren Maya, or the Maya Train, inaugurated its first segment last month, running between Campeche and Cancún. The initial installation of the 966-mile railway has 14 stations and travels across 290 miles. Though the project is estimated to create 1.1 million jobs through Latin America’s second largest rainforest, satellite data from the environmental organization CartoCrítica also shows almost 16,500 acres of deforestation. This, in combination with the 2021 decree passed by Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador which obligates the approval of public works said to be “in the national interest,” has raised concern. But silver-linings come in many shapes and sizes. The construction has yielded a myriad of archeological discoveries, the most recent being a funerary urn depicting Hun Hunahpu, the Mayan god of corn, who also represents the birth, death, and rebirth of human life. The clay pot, which “contains the mortal remains of a person,” according to The Art Newspaper, dates back to a pre-Hispanic period between 680 CE and 770 CE.

Courtesy Refik Anadol Studio

Refik Anadol. Installation view of Living Archive: Nature (2024)

Refik Anadol Creates ‘World's First’ AI Model Trained on Data from Nature Instead of Humans

Refik Anadol Studio debuted the first open-source AI model taught by “nature’s inherent intelligence” at the 54th World Economic Forum on January 15 in Switzerland. Featured in the installation Living Archive: Nature, the model named Large Nature Model, departs from more common language training model systems. Through a synthesis of high-resolution images and immersive audio, according to archinect, the Turkish artist’s studio was able to build “world’s first open-source generative AI model dedicated to nature.” Anadol, whose 2022 A.I.-fueled work Unsupervised—Machine Hallucinations—MoMA was acquired by MoMA in 2023, has also mentioned his hopes of "engaging people on multiple sensory levels,” through the work, and that, “the outputs of the model make the abstract concept of environmental conservation tangible, encouraging a collective responsibility to act.” 

Orlando Museum Faces 'Financial Crisis' After Falsifications of Jean-Michel Basquiat 

Often referred to as OMA, the Florida institution has been facing up to $500,000 in debt after the debacle which took place during the “Heroes and Monsters: Basquiat” exhibition in the summer of 2022. Due to the financial repercussions following the FBI’s raid on the exhibit, executive director Cathryn Mattson stated that, “within a year’s time we had a 25 percent increase in unbudgeted expenses,” according to the story in the New York Times, and that the museum’s reserve funds “are nearing exhaustion.” Despite previous director and chief executive, Aaron De Groft, maintaining innocence about the suspected forgeries, the collateral damage has come with an enormous price-tag. The museum has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to hire “crisis communication professionals” and “a legal defense team,” subsequently shrinking the annual budget of about $4 million and leaving them with an estimated deficit of $835,000 for 2024’s fiscal year. Read more here:


About the Author

Carlota Gamboa

Carlota Gamboa is an art writer based in Los Angeles.

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