News From Around the Art World: December 7, 2020

In a 2010 photo, painting conservator Elizabeth Wigfield and frame conservator Kirk Vuillemot carry Claude Monet's "Apple.. (Charles Osgood / Chicago Tribune)

Union League Club votes to sell its prized Monet painting to cover pandemic losses

The story of Claude Monet’s “Apple Trees in Blossom” and Chicago is long, significant and now — with the Union League Club’s decision to sell its most valuable artwork to cover pandemic-year losses — potentially dire.

The painting is currently hanging in the Art Institute’s expansive “Monet in Chicago” exhibition, on loan as a focal point of the show, the first work by the noted French impressionist to be purchased by a Chicago institution.

By Steve Johnson, The Chicago Tribune

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Chicago’s cultural historian Tim Samuelson retired this week Sun-Times Media file photo

Tim Samuelson, the city’s first and only cultural historian, retires

Samuelson, 69, worked for the city since 2002. Lois Weisberg, the former commissioner of cultural affairs, got him to leave the Chicago History Museum with the promise that he would be allowed to do “whatever you do” as the city’s cultural historian.

For almost two decades, Samuelson did exactly that, assisting fellow historians, reporters, businesses, architects and foreign delegations as a combination spokesman, consultant, historian and storyteller.

By Bob Chiarito, Chicago Sun Times

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Collins Avenue in Miami. And there's no one there. Photo by Nate Freeman.

Here’s What It’s Like on the Ground in Miami Beach, Where Zombie Art Basel Is Happening, Sort Of

The fairs were cancelled, penthouses languished, and parties got called off. That's when things got interesting.

By Nate Freeman, Artnet News

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The Utah monolith before it was dismantled. UTAH DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY / AP

How the Monoliths Became an Instagram Trap

It’s rare that an anonymous work of art makes international headlines, especially given the political and pandemic news cycles of the past year. But 2020’s final surprise might be a nearly 10-foot-tall stainless-steel pillar in the Utah desert. The monolith, as it is now referred to (it already has a lengthy Wikipedia entry), was installed by an unknown party some time between July and October 2016, according to satellite imagery, in a red sandstone slot canyon in Lockhart Basin, a site that had been part of public lands until the Trump administration removed it. It was discovered on November 18 of this year, when state biologists spotted it during a helicopter trip to survey bighorn sheep. The piece was carefully planned, with a hole drilled into the rock.

By Kyle Chayka, Art News

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