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PROVENANCE. The Kunstmuseum Bern in Switzerland has announced that it will return more than two dozen artworks that were part of Cornelius Gurlitt’s collection, a sizable portion of which is believed to have been Nazi loot. Two of the pieces, both watercolors by Otto Dix will be returned directly to the heirs. Meanwhile, in Pennsylvania, the heirs to Piet Mondrian have filed suit against the Philadelphia Museum of Art, claiming that its prized work Composition with Blue (1926) by the Dutch-born artist likewise has questionable provenance. The museum has pushed back, arguing that Mondrian never objected to the work being on display at PMA during his lifetime.
FAREWELL. The storied New York gallery Metro Pictures closed its doors once and for all on Saturday at 6 p.m. To mark its closing, Roberta Smith and David Colman sat down with the gallery’s founders Janelle Reiring and Helene Winer to reminisce on the enterprise’s lasting impact on the art world, in particular how it ushered in the Pictures Generation. Critic Jason Farago pointed his Twitter followers to the gallery’s OVR from last year, which includes a detailed history of Metro Pictures by writer Andrew Russeth. And Whitney Museum chief curator Scott Rothkopf shared a photo on Instagram of two matchbooks by artist Louise Lawler from ca. 1995 to honor the gallery’s closure.
Investigative journalist Patrick Radden Keefe reports that the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s decision to remove the Sackler name from its galleries might have also been influenced by a letter (produced in full) that was organized by photographer and activist Nan Goldin and signed by several prominent artists, including Ai Weiwei, Kara Walker, Arthur Jafa, Maurizio Cattelan, and others. [The New Yorker]
The National Museum of Afghanistan in Kabul has reportedly reopened since the Taliban seized power in August; members of the Taliban’s militia are apparently acting as guards. [The Art Newspaper]
French luxury fashion house Chanel has named the 10 artists who are the recipients of its inaugural biannual Chanel Next Prize, which comes with €100,000 ($130,000) each. [ARTnews]
An exhibition dedicated to Suzanne Valadon at the Barnes Collection in Philadelphia “reveals how the French artist explored love, desire, family and jealousy,” writes Ariella Budick. [Financial Times]
SPIRITUALITY. As part of a new exhibition titled “Encountering the Buddha: Art and Practice Across Asia,” featuring works owned by New York collector Alice Kandell, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art has commissioned composer Philip Glass, a practicing Buddhist, to “craft a hypnotic 90-minute performance responding to artworks,” the Art Newspaper reports. The Brooklyn Museum currently has on view “Andy Warhol : Revelation,” exploring the Pop artist’s Catholic side, which Eleanor Heartney has reviewed. All around it seems like a moment to take stock and reflect as the new year approaches.