Olympic Organizers in Tokyo Will Put Together a Splashy Art and Culture Initiative to Accompany the Summer Games

The Olympic Foundation for Culture and Heritage (OFCH) has unveiled plans for the inaugural Olympic Agora, an exhibition and series of art installations that celebrate the ideals and spirit of the games.

The project, on view in Tokyo from July 1 to August 15, is inspired by the public assembly spaces, or agoras, of Ancient Greece, according to a statement.

Viewers will be able to see artworks throughout Tokyo’s historic Nihonbashi district, including installations by Japanese artists Rinko Kawauchi and Makoto Tojiki and exhibitions of works by six Olympian and Paralympian artists-in-residence. 

Another highlight will be a life-size commission by French artist Xavier Veilhan, who represented France at the 2017 Venice Biennale, that depicts five people of various ages, genders, and nationalities gathered in sport spectatorship. 

Titled The Audience, it will become a permanent installation after its unveiling on June 30.

3D rendering of Xavier Veilhan's The Audience commissioned for Olympic Agora at the upcoming Tokyo Olympic games.

3D rendering of Xavier Veilhan’s The Audience commissioned for Olympic Agora at the upcoming Tokyo Olympic games.

The project also includes a multimedia installation by Montreal-based studio Moment Factory, and an exhibition of treasures from the Olympic Museum’s permanent collection in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Onsite installations will be complemented by a digital program, including virtual exhibitions and artist talks on the Olympic Agora website and the Olympic Museum’s social media channels.

In keeping with public health restrictions, visitor levels to in-person events will be limited and strictly controlled, organizers said.

The agora will serve as “a hub for the cultivation, exploration and promotion of the Olympic values,” said OFCH director Angelita Teo.

“In this unprecedented moment, the Olympic Agora is a symbol of determination, overcoming challenges, and international cooperation; of the power of sport and art to carry us in times of crisis.”

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Longing for the Louvre? The Museum Just Put Over 75 Percent of Its Collection Online in a New Database

The Musée du Louvre remains closed to the public, as it has been since October under French President Emmanuel Macron’s aggressive efforts to curb the spread of the pandemic. But now, art lovers around the world can feast their eyes on the museum’s famed offerings thanks to a new online database.

Last week, the Louvre launched a new website where digitized, high-resolution versions of more than 482,000 artworks can be viewed—including many that are in storage. That’s 75 percent of the Louvre’s entire collection, per a representative from the museum. A host of details accompanies each listing: materials and techniques, date and place of production, and object history, as well as an interactive map.

Even after more than a year’s worth of Zoom meetings and virtual art fairs, there seems to be a hungry audience for such a resource. The Louvre’s website received a record 21 million visits in 2020—a 50 percent increase from the previous high mark of 14 million in 2019, which was credited to its wildly popular Leonardo da Vinci exhibition. (Before that, the site averaged roughly 11 million visits per year.)

Though the process of digitizing the collection began “several decades ago,” according to a representative, the online collection database has been in the works since 2019.

Caravaggio's <i>La Mort de la Vierge</i> (1604–16) on the Louvre's new online collections database. Courtesy of the Courtesy of the Musée du Louvre.

Caravaggio’s La Mort de la Vierge (1604–16) on the Louvre’s new online collections database. Courtesy of the Courtesy of the Musée du Louvre.


“The Louvre is dusting off its treasures, even the least-known,” Jean-Luc Martinez, president-director of the Louvre, said in a statement. “For the first time, anyone can access the entire collection of works from a computer or smartphone for free, whether they are on display in the museum, on loan, even long-term, or in storage.” 

Also featured in the database are roughly 1,700 looted objects recovered from Germany since the end of World War II in 1945, which the Louvre will house until they can be properly restituted to the families of the original owners. 

Paolo Veronese's<i>Les Noces de Cana</i> on the Louvre's new online collections database. Courtesy of the Courtesy of the Musée du Louvre.

Paolo Veronese’sLes Noces de Cana on the Louvre’s new online collections database. Courtesy of the Courtesy of the Musée du Louvre.

The museum is currently in the process of analyzing some 13,900 objects acquired between 1933 and 1945—the results of which may soon be included in the database, according to the Art Newspaper. Following that effort, which is expected to take five years, the institution will turn its attention to objects that entered the collection after 1945.  

“The Louvre has nothing to hide, and the reputational risk is enormous,” Martinez, who will seek a new three-year contract after his current deal expires in April, told the Associated Press. “When the next generations want to know where these collections came from, how do we react? By doing the historical work and establishing the facts.”

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Damien Hirst Confesses He First Wanted to Put Pickled People in His Vitrines Before Going With Sheep + Other News

Art Industry News is a daily digest of the most consequential developments coming out of the art world and art market. Here’s what you need to know on this Thursday, February 18.


New Arts Hub Near Marfa Takes Shape – Marfa Invitational is a new year-round arts and cultural foundation planned for the tiny Texas enclave that Donald Judd once called home. Artist Michael Phelan hopes to complete the project, which includes a pair of exhibition halls on a five-acre plot of land, this fall. He previously founded an art fair of the same name. (New York Times)

MoMA Gets 100 Photographs by Women Artists – The collector Helen Kornblum has donated 100 photographs to the Museum of Modern Art in New York, including works by Louise Lawler, Dora Maar, and Carrie Mae Weems. The MoMA photography committee member’s gift will, according to one curator, help with “unfixing the canon.” Highlights will go on view at the museum in 2022. (ARTnews)

Damien Hirst’s Famous Pickles Could Have Looked Very Different – It turns out that Damien Hirst entertained some other ideas when considering what he would pickle for his now-famous sculptures of preserved animals in formaldehyde. He considered focusing on humans instead, and even flirted with the idea of showing a male and female form in copulation. In the end, however, he said, “I much prefer it when you’ve got this neglected thing like a sheep, which is meat—you’re thinking why am I feeling empathy? That’s a great thing because you should. Because it’s not just meat.” (Guardian)

Priest Charged With Stealing Ornaments From Hindu Temple – The former chief priest of Singapore’s oldest Hindu temple has been charged for pawning gold religious ornaments between 2016 and 2020. The items taken from Sri Mariamman Temple, which is 194 years old, are valued at $1.5 million. (Courthouse News)


Art Dubai Halves Exhibitor List, Changes Dates – As case numbers rise in the emirate, Art Dubai will scale back its planned in-person fair from 85 to 45 exhibitors and delay its opening by 12 days. The rescheduled fair, running from March 29 to April 3, will also move from the hotel Madinat Jumeirah to a “purpose-built venue” in the Gate Building at Dubai International Financial Center. Organizers are considering a shift to appointment-only. (ARTnews)

Calida Rawles Joins Lehmann Maupin – The international gallery will present a selection of works by the LA-based painter, known for her canvases depicting Black figures floating in water, at Art Basel Hong Kong in May. Rawles will continue to work with her LA gallery Various Small Fires. (Financial Times)

Hear Midnight Publishing Group CEO Jacob Pabst on Clubhouse – The CEO of Midnight Publishing Group will be sitting in on a Clubhouse, the art world’s favorite new social platform, with German collector Niklas Bolle and journalist Sebastian Späth to field questions about the art market. Tune in at 4:30 p.m. Central Eastern Europe time. (Clubhouse)


Theaster Gates and Michelle Grabner to Curate Outdoor Sculpture Show – The 2021 edition of Sculpture Milwaukee will be co-organized by artists Theaster Gates and Michelle Grabner. The outdoor sculpture show opens in June and will be on view through fall 2022. (Chicago Gallery News)

Sobey Art Award Now Open to All Ages – Canada’s top art prize has officially ditched its age restriction. (Previously, artists had to be under 40 to qualify.) The purse has grown, too. All long-listed finalists will now receive CA$10,000. The top prize remains CA$100,000, with the four-person shortlist receiving CA$25,000. (The Art Newspaper)


Photographer Sues Tattoo Artist Kat Von D – Photographer Jeffrey Sedlik is suing celebrity tattoo artist Kat Von D for copyright infringement after she posted a picture of a customer’s Miles Davis tattoo on social media. The photographer claims he owns exclusive rights to the image, which he took of Davis in 1989. (Billboard)

Hauser & Wirth’s Menorca Outpost Gets Opening Date – The mega-gallery’s new space in Menorca, Spain, will open on July 17 with a show of new paintings and sculptures by Mark Bradford. The 1,500-square-meter complex, which includes eight galleries, a shop, and a restaurant, is on the Isla del Rey. If you aren’t suffering from wanderlust yet, you will be as soon as you look at the image below. (Press release)

Hauser & Wirth Menorca on Isla del Rey. Courtesy Hauser & Wirth. Photo: Be Creative, Menorca.

Hauser & Wirth Menorca on Isla del Rey. Courtesy Hauser & Wirth. Photo: Be Creative, Menorca.

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