From a Mysterious Alien Monolith to the Death of an Art-Dealing French Resistance Hero: The Best and Worst of the Art World This Week

Catch up on this week's news—fast.

The steel monolith discovered in southern Utah. Courtesy of the Utah Department of Public Safety.


Aliens! (Or Artists) Land in the Desert – The internet went wild with speculation after researchers discovered a mysterious steel monolith in the Utah desert, and the art world got to speculating whether it was a piece of land art by a famous artist.

Emeka Ogboh Is Dropping an Album With Berghain – The sound artist will release his first album, thanks to a chance encounter with the highly selective club label.

A History-Making Acquisition – The White House acquired an abstract bronze sculpture by Isamu Noguchi, marking the first work by an Asian American artist to enter the national collection.

Galleries Champion the Global South – More than 40 international galleries announced a new online archive and selling platform focused on artists from the Global South.

Colorado’s Tribute to Native Americans – Colorado is replacing a toppled monument to a Civil War soldier with a sculpture of a Native American woman in mourning, which will become a memorial to the 1864 Sand Creek Massacre. 

The Art History Easter Egg in The Queen’s Gambit The Netflix hit show offers a background homage to the 19th-century French painter Rosa Bonheur, whose life is echoed in the themes of the show.

France to Reopen Museums and Galleries – President Emmanuel Macron made the French art world happy when he announced this week that museums and galleries could open next month. Germany took a different approach.


The Death of Daniel Cordier – The war hero went undercover as an art dealer while working in the French resistance during World War II, and then went on to open a gallery and became a major arts patron. He died on November 20 at age 100—read his incredible life story.

Museums Face a Difficult Road Ahead – A new report by ICOM shows that museums are marginally more optimistic about their future than in the spring, but 6.1 percent of surveyed institutions still believe they will have to close permanently due to the pandemic.

Forensic Architecture Investigates Beirut Blast – The interdisciplinary research group has released its investigation into the gross negligence that caused the devastating explosion that gutted Beirut in August.

Billionaire Gets Swindled – A Billionaire hedge-fund manager is suing Hirschl & Adler Galleries for $2 million, claiming they misled him on a 2017 deal to sell a painting of George Washington.

Pompeii’s Ill-Fated Duo – The archeological site of Pompeii has uncovered the remains of two of its past residents, who died when the volcano exploded centuries ago. It is thought that the two were master and servant.

Forgers Love These Bodies of Art – An art authentication expert tells us which famous artists are most often the victim of forgery. Can you guess which ones? There are some surprises on this list.

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