ICYMI: Highlights from the week that was Sept. 10–Sept.16, 2017

No one can keep up with everything, so let us do it for you. We’ll gather the top Smithsonian stories from across the country and around the world each week so you’ll never be at a loss for conversation around the water cooler.

This week, we took our mind off the hideous sea monster Hurricane Harvey washed up by savoring a cup of coffee (thank you, bees) and thinking about the intersection of art, inspiration and money.


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The Gray Market: Why Galleries Shouldn’t Sell Primarily to Museums (and Other Insights)

This week, our columnist considers the financial uncertainties faced by gallerists, artists, and museums.

ArtNet, September 11

Young man winking and flashing peace sign

Jean-Claude Freymond Guth. Image courtesy Flavio Karrer

SWISS MISS: On Tuesday, my colleague Henri Neuendorf interviewed Jean-Claude Freymond-Guth, the midlevel Swiss gallerist who announced the closure of his namesake space in Basel less than a week earlier. But while Freymond-Guth used the opportunity to make multiple valid points about the polarized structure of the industry—most of them expansions on his much-discussed farewell-letter-turned-industry critique—he also may have revealed at least one entirely avoidable flaw in his business plan.

In the course of denying the idea that his gallery previously sustained itself via secondary-market sales, Freymond-Guth mentioned that he and his staff were “in a very privileged situation where we [sold] mainly to institutions”—a process in which “the negotiations take months and months.” In fact, as other experienced dealers could attest, “months and months” can sometimes extend to a year or more, depending on the stature (and budgets) of the players involved. Read more from Tim Schneider for ArtNet.

Resilient bees brighten coffee’s climate-change outlook

There may be hope for coffee in a warming world after all, according to a new study that takes into account the adaptable nature of pollinating bees. Andrew Masterson reports.

Cosmos, Sept. 12

Bee hovers above white flowers

A honey bee on coffee flowers. Credit: Alvis Upitis / Getty

Predictions of dramatic decreases in coffee supply thanks to climate change may be overblown, and salvation may come from resilient bees.

That’s the prediction arising from new modelling from a team of researchers from the US, Panama, Vietnam, Costa Rica, Peru and France, and published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The team, led by David Roubik of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute took a fresh run at models used to predict habitat and biodiversity in coffee-growing areas of Latin America. Read more from Andrew Masterson for Cosmos.

At the Hirshhorn, 22 miniature installations by once-underground Russian artists

The Washington Post, September 12

Model ship made of reeds

This miniature version of “The Ship of Tolerance” was created by the Kabakovs after their full-sized version set sail in Egypt. (Photo courtesy the Kabakovs)

In 2015, Hirshhorn chief curator Stephane Aquin visited the Long Island home of Russian artists Ilya and Emilia Kabakov. As the artists showed Aquin around their studio, the curator was floored by what he saw: dozens of perfect little models representing the huge, whimsical installations the couple have become famous for erecting all over the world.

“I was just stunned, and I came back and discussed it with [Hirshhorn director] Melissa [Chiu] and said, ‘These are just fantastic things. We have to show them,’ ” Aquin recalls. Read more from Sadie Dingfelder for Washington Post Express.

Yoko Ono mural installed at Union Market as part of Hirshhorn celebration

The Washington Post, September 12

Building with phrase, Relaxm your heart is stronger than what you

Workers install a Yoko Ono mural on the exterior of Union Market. The mural is a collaboration between the market and the Hirshhorn Museum (Photo by Emma McAlary)

Four works has turned into five.

“Four Works for Washington and the World,” the Hirshhorn Museum’s summer celebration of Yoko Ono, expands to five with Friday’s debut of a large-scale public art work at Union Market.

The conceptual work — “Relax. Your heart is stronger than what you think!” — is being installed this week on an exterior wall of the market at 6th Street NE. It appears in time for the final weekend of the “Four Works” exhibition at the Smithsonian’s modern and contemporary art museum on the Mall. Read more from Peggy McGlone for The Washington Post.

A Family of Artists Creates a Portrait of Inuk Life Across Three Generations

The exhibition of work by Inuk grandmother, mother, and daughter contains prints and drawings that resonate with intergenerational themes of motherhood and community.

Hyperallergic, Sept. 13

Wall panel with exhibition name

Installation view of Akunnittinni: A Kinngait Family Portrait

Three generations of artists from Kinngait, the renowned center of Inuit printmaking best known as Cape Dorset, are on view in an exhibition that consists of a century-spanning matrilineal exchange of forms, stories, and values. Akunnittinni: A Kinngait Family Portrait is titled for the Inuktitut word akunnittinni, meaning “between us,” and features work by Inuk grandmother, mother, and daughter Pitseolak Ashoona, Napachie Pootoogook, and Annie Pootoogook. Their prints and drawings resonate with intergenerational themes of motherhood and community, and the exhibition is itself a sampling of the history of the resilience of Inuit life in the face of the complexities of modernity and globalization as seen through the lens of a single, extraordinary family of artists. Read more from Christopher Green for Hyperallergic.

Strange eel: mystery of the Texas eyeless sea beast solved

Scary-looking fish found on a Texas beach after Hurricane Harvey is identified as a fangtooth snake-eel with the help of social media

The Guardian, Sept. 14

Dead decomposing thing with teeth

The fangtooth snake-eel found on a Texas beach. Photograph: Preeti Desai/Pen News

The mystery of an eyeless fanged sea monster washed ashore by Hurricane Harvey has been solved by social media.

Preeti Desai, a science communicator, found the sinister-looking fish on a beach in Texas City after the storm, and asked Twitter users to help identify it.

It was variously identified as “that thing” from the film Tremors, to Disney’s Dr Finkelstein in eel form until Desai’s photographs were passed to Dr Kenneth Tighe, a biologist at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. Read more from the Guardian.

What is Hispanic Heritage Month?

Time, Sept. 15

Costumed dancers

Composed of 56 contingents including 26 mariachis in countries like Costa Rica, Venezuela, Peru, Colombia, United States and Mexico, the parade of the XX International Mariachi and Charreria was held in Mexico on Sept. 1, 2013. Mariachi groups or ensembles Mariachis are typical of Mexico, while the music and clothing are famous worldwide. (Hugo Ortuno—Getty Images)

Hispanic Heritage Month is an official celebration of American citizens whose ancestry can be traced back to Spain, Mexico, Central and South America and the Caribbean. Read more from Rachel Lewis for Time. 


Posted: 18 September 2017
About the Author:

Alex di Giovanni has been editing The Torch since August 2006. Prior to joining the Smithsonian, she worked as a writer and editor for the National Geographic Society, Plexus Scientific, The Nature Conservancy, The National Foreign Language Center and St. Martin’s Press, among others. She has the best job in the world.