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Banksy Screen Print Becomes NFT, Ben Heller’s Influential Collecting, and More: Morning Links from March 4, 2021

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The Headlines
A BANKSY WORK HAS GONE UP IN SMOKE AND BECOME A NFT WORK , thanks to a blockchain company.  CBS News   reports  that  Injective Protocol  bought a screen print by the elusive street artist for $95,000, only to destroy it via a live-streamed event. Now, it only exists as a blockchain-based object. The transformation of the Banksy work comes as the art world experiences  NFT mania . Bidding for a  Beeple NFT work  now up for sale at Christie’s is currently at $3.5 million, and the pop star Grimes  recently sold  $6 million in art made using the fully digital medium.
BEN HELLER ’S INFLUENTIAL COLLECTING  helped  shape the holdings of the Museum of Modern Art —but before he gave masterpieces by  Abstract Expressionists  to the institution, he made his own New York apartment (the “Frick of the West Side,” as some called it) an art destination unto itself, hanging key works by  Jackson Pollock ,  Clyfford Still , and others in his home. “He committed himself a thousand percent, which is what he believed the artists were doing,” MoMA curator  Ann Temkin   told  ARTnews . And Heller wasn’t only significant as a collector—he also wrote important scholarship, addressing Still’s art for one  landmark  Art in America  essay  from 1990.
The Digest
Marlborough Gallery, which began winding down operations last year, could have a buyer in Thomas Goode & Co., a tableware company. The enterprise is valued at $250 million.  [Financial Times]
The Museum of Modern Art has been gifted 25 sketchbooks by Ellsworth Kelly, the artist known for his transcendent paintings composed of just a few colors.  [The Wall Street Journal]
The Library of Congress has acquired 269 sketches related to the Rodney King trial. They’re by Mary Chaney, who also drew famed images of the “Night Stalker” trial and many other key Los Angeles legal proceedings.  [Los Angeles Times]
Sebastian Smee addresses a 17th-century Bichitr painting at the Freer/Sackler museum, calling it “an incredible thing.”  [The Washington Post]
Algerian modernist Baya Mahieddine is getting her first-ever museum show in the Middle East. The Sharjah Art Museum in the United Arab Emirates will give her a retrospective, with a focus on what it meant for a woman to paint other women.  [The Art Newspaper]
Toko Shinoda, an artist who merged the styles of Japanese calligraphy and Abstract Expressionism, has died at 107. “To think that I am still able to produce works that delight art lovers is in itself rewarding,” she said in 2017, at age 104.  [CNN]
The  New York Times  takes a deep dive into the history behind the looting of artifacts in Afghanistan. Many of these objects were plundered during conflicts and now face calls for their return.  [The New York Times Magazine]
German museums, which have faced four months of closure, can reopen on Monday, putting them ahead of restaurants and sports facilities. But the openings won’t be so simple: their guidelines are tied to how quickly the coronavirus is spreading in the surrounding region.  [The Art Newspaper]
The Kicker
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI’S CORONAVIRUS MODEL , a staple at various news briefings over the past year, will get a permanent home at one of the U.S.’s top museums. The  Smithsonian ’s National Museum of American History  has acquired Fauci’s 3D-printed blue orb with spikes denoting proteins, and it has plans to show it in a forthcoming exhibition about medical practices in the U.S. over the past two centuries. “It’s a really phenomenally graphic way to get people to understand,” Fauci said.  [The New York Times]
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