Damien Hirst Critic Banned From Tate Show, Did the Pope Murder Caravaggio?, and More Must-Read Art News

Damien Hirst Critic Banned From Tate Show, Did the Pope Murder Caravaggio?, and More Must-Read Art News
Portrait of Caravaggio by Ottavio Leoni, c. 1621
(Courtesy Wikipaintings)

Tate Modern Denies Entry to Damien Hirst Detractor: Yesterday, art world maverick Julian Spalding — whose latest book is titled "Con Art – Why You Ought To Sell Your Damien Hirsts While You Can"— wasn't allowed into the Tate Modern, where he was planning to give TV interviews inside the musuem's Hirst retrospective. "The Tate's job is to encourage debate about art," he said. "The fact that I'm not allowed to talk about the work in front of [it] is extraordinary." [Independent]

– Was Caravaggio Murdered by the Church?: The hard-living Renaissance master, long thought to have died of lead poisoning or malaria, may have been whacked by the Knights of Malta in a church-sponsored assassination scheme to avenge a knight the painter had seriously injured in a fight. In his forthcoming book "Caravaggio, Between Art and Science," Italian historian Vincenzo Pacelli says that documents from the comically sinister Vatican Secret Archives suggest the artist was murdered by the knights with the approval of the papacy. [Telegraph]

– Zahi Hawass Faces New Charges: Egypt's embattled former antiquities minister — known as the country's "Indiana Jones" — is in hot water for allegedly wasting public money, violating Egyptian antiquities laws, and facilitating the theft of antiquities while in office. Many of the charges stem from Hawass's decision to display 143 objects from the Egyptian Museum in Washington, D.C. in 2003, violating a law that prohibits renting Egypt's heritage. [Ahram Online]

– Versailles's First Lady: After crowd-pleasing (and controversial) exhibitions by male art stars Jeff Koons, Xavier Veilhan, and Takashi Murakami, the contemporary art program at France's Versailles palace will welcome its first female artist this summer. The Paris-born, Lisbon-based sculptor Joana Vasconcelos will take over the mirrored and gilded galleries from June 19 to September 30. [Le Figaro]

– Banksy-14779">Banksy-14779">Banksy-14779">Banksy-14779">Banksy-14779">Banksy-14779">Banksy-14779">Banksy-14779">Banksy-14779">Banksy-14779">Banksy-14779">Banksy-14779">Banksy-14779">Banksy-14779">Banksy-14779">Banksy Market Bounces Back: Last week, works by the elusive street artist outpaced early estimates in auctions at Christie's and Bonhams, selling for up to half a million dollars. Bonhams's Alan Montgomery believes the four-year depression in the market for the urban prankster may have come to an end: Banksy-14779">Banksy-14779">Banksy-14779">Banksy-14779">Banksy-14779">Banksy-14779">Banksy-14779">Banksy-14779">Banksy-14779">Banksy-14779">Banksy-14779">Banksy-14779">Banksy-14779">Banksy-14779">Banksy-14779">Banksy is "back with a vengeance," he said. [Banksy-14779">Banksy-14779">Banksy-14779">Banksy-14779">Banksy-14779">Banksy-14779">Banksy-14779">Banksy-14779">Banksy-14779">Banksy-14779">Banksy-14779">Banksy-14779">Banksy-14779">Banksy-14779">Banksy-14779">Banksy-primed-and-all-set-for-take-off.html" target="_blank">Telegraph]

– Nazi-Looted Greek Antiquities Returned: The Pfahlbaumuseum in Germany recently contacted the Greek government after discovering a number of archeological objects in its collection originated from an illegal excavation in Thessaly during WWII. The works are now on their way back to Greece. [Greek Reporter]

Musée Toulouse-Lautrec Reopens: Located in the medieval fortress of the Palais de la Berbie in Albi, France, the world's largest public institution devoted to the work of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec has opened its doors today after a 10-year restoration. [ArtDaily]

– Mummy Mask Remains in Missouri: A District Court judge has ruled against the U.S. government in its quest to return the "Mummy Mask of the Lady Ka-nefer-nefer" (1295-1186 BC) from the collection of the St. Louis Art Museum (SLAM) to the Egyptian government. Judge Henry Autry sided with SLAM, whose director Brent Benjamin maintained that the museum researched the mask's provenance before acquiring it and found no reason to believe that it had been illegally imported to the U.S. [CulturegrrlCultural Heritage Lawyer]

Record-Breaking Price for Victor Hugo Drawing: "Souvenir de Belgique," a 1857 brown ink and watercolour by Victor Hugo, sold at the French auction house Artcurial for €447,500 ($597,345), the highest ever price paid for one of the writer's works on paper. [Connaissance des Arts]

 Tracey Emin Protégé Designs Airplanes: Pascal Anderson has unveiled the first of a set of special Olympics-inspired British Airways plane designs. Overseen by Anderson's mentor, YBA Tracey Emin, the arty airplane is painted to look like a golden dove and will be in service for one year. [Guardian]


Watch the opening of Damien Hirst's first retrospective at Tate Modern in London:


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