At Large  January 11, 2024  Carlota Gamboa

The Site Where Alexander the Great was Crowned King Reopens and More News

Via Greece Ministry of Culture and Sports

The Palace of Aigai in Vergina, Greece. 

This news roundup of the week includes stories gathered from art and news sites around the internet and include links to the original stories for those who would like to read more. Enjoy!

The 2,400-Year-Old Palace Where Alexander the Great was Crowned King Reopens

It may have taken 16 years and $21.9 million euro to restore, but the Palace of Aigai, in Vergina, Greece, where Alexander the Great was crowned king, reopened to the public on Sunday, January 7. The BBC reports that the site was inaugurated by prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis. The palace, which was destroyed by the Romans in 148 BCE, is one of the most significant buildings from classical Greece. Marble flooring, stucco columns, and about 15,000 square feet of mosaics were restored. Built by Philip II (359 – 336 BC) and most likely designed by Pytheos, the location of Alexander the Great’s coronation was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996 after priceless archaeological tombs and treasures were discovered there.

Art Collector Stefan Simchowitz Is Running for Dianne Feinstein's Senate Seat

The controversial Los Angeles-based art collector, advisor, and dealer once referred to as “patron Satan" of art in a New York Times article, has put himself in the running amongst 15 other conservative candidates for the seat of late senator Dianne Feinstein who died in September. Self-described as a “progressive compassionate republican” via instagram, Simchowitz hopes the centrist platform will serve as a reference point for those who share his views. Despite having little hope of winning, Simchowitz told the Art Newspaper, “I’m a Don Quixote character,”, and that his nomination “is not some stupid art performance. This is a real thing.”

Image: skinnypantsmcgee on Reddit. Created using Midjourney.

Image created by tasking Midjourney to create a scene featuring Elvis and Priscilla Presley in the style of David Lynch.

List of Artists Used to Train Midjourney Leaked Online

Copyright lawsuits against Stability AI, Midjourney and other generative artificial intelligence programs have been ongoing since early 2023. But it wasn’t until last month, December 31, when Riot Games artist Jon Lam posted screenshots on X of a prior communication thread that we got to see it spelled out. Hyperallergic reports that the thread shows Midjourney founder and CEO David Holz and other Midjourney developers discussing how the database was fed the work of thousands of artists. Some of the names included on a Google spreadsheet called the “Midjourney Style List” were Jean-Michel Basquiat, Salvador Dalí, Marcel Duchamp, Frida Kahlo, David Hockney, Damien Hirst, David Lynch, Joan Miró, Joan Mitchell, Claude Monet, Yoko Ono, Cy Twombly and Andy Warhol. The list also includes cartoonists and illustrators like Sarah Andersen, Julia Kaye, and Gerald Brom, who are among those that banded together to file a class action lawsuit against the programs for the unlicensed use of their work.

Courtesy of The Frick Collection

Ian Wardropper

Frick Collection's Ian Wardropper to Retire

Ian Wardropper, who has been with the Frick Collection since 2011, has acted as a proactive force in modernizing the museum both in terms of what it showcases and how. While in charge of the collection, The Frick began displaying contemporary work in conjunction with Old Masters, in addition to the recirculation of longtime stored pieces like Bellini’s 1478 painting St. Francis in the Desert. However, it’s more what’s happening to the museum rather than inside of it that has been drawing attention. Major renovations overseen by Selldorf Architects were announced in 2014. The project is expected to be unveiled this spring and has cost the institution a confirmed $195 million, but will add 42,000 square feet of additional gallery space, new classrooms, a 220-seat auditorium, and updated conservation laboratories.

Auction House Merger Creates New Contender

Freeman’s, the 200-year-old Philadelphia auction house, teamed up with its much younger partner, Hindman (formed in 2019), earlier this week. The auction house has the largest nationwide presence in the country with offices in Atlanta, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Detroit, the city of Naples in Florida, Milwaukee, Richmond, San Diego, Scottsdale, and St. Louis. On February 27, 2024, Freeman’s | Hindman will launch “What Do You See?” the first of two auctions for the late Sidney Rothberg’s collection.

About the Author

Carlota Gamboa

Carlota Gamboa is an art writer based in Los Angeles.

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