Eight Sentenced in Banksy Theft, Yves Coppens Dies—and More Art News – ARTnews.com

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The Headlines

EIGHT MEN HAVE BEEN SENTENCED by a French court for their involvement in the 2019 theft of a painting that Banksy installed at the Bataclan concert hall in Paris to memorialize the 90 who were killed there in a 2015 terrorist attack, the AFP reports. Three who helped transport it were given 10 months in jail, while others received sentences that can be served while wearing electronic tracking bracelets rather than sitting behind bars. A man identified intriguingly as a “41-year-old millionaire lottery winner” got three years (also to be served outside of jail with a tracking device) for handling stolen property. He had been fingered as the main organizer of the job, an argument that the court rejected. The Banksy was recovered by police in 2020 at a farm in eastern Italy.

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THE REVERED ARCHAEOLOGIST YVES COPPENS, a member of the team that discovered a fossil of a 3.2 million-year-old female hominid who was able to walk upright, captivating the world and filling a gap in the historical record, has died at 87, RFI reports. The famed fossil was found in Ethiopia by Coppens in 1974. He “used to say that, in addition to its scientific value, that complete fossil, which one could imagine walking and climbing trees in the savannah, allowed the public to get emotionally closer to that remote ancestor,” El País writes. The hominid was given the name Lucy at the suggestion of Pamela Aldermanold boyfriend, Donald Johansonled the project, because the Beatles classic “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” was playing as they celebrated.

The Digest

The 700 faculty members at the ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena, California, are the latest art workers to unionize, with 60 percent voting in favor. They will join the AFT/CFTthe California arm of the American Federation of Teachers. [Artforum]

Massachusetts’s Supreme Judicial Court said that a woman can pursue her suit against Harvard University for emotional distress that she alleges was caused by the publication of photos of her enslaved ancestors that are held by the school. A lower court had rejected her case. [Associated Press/Bloomberg]

Hedge-fund billionaire and major-league collector Ken Griffin is taking his talents to Miami, relocating his Citadel firm there from Chicago. In a letter to staff, he said that Florida offered a better business environment; Citadel said crime was also a factor. [The Wall Street Journal]

The Times has a rundown of how various art-world players are working to reduce their carbon footprints. Artist Olafur Eliassonfor one, has said that his studio will go carbon neutral in the next 10 years. [The New York Times]

The New Jersey house where artist Vaughn Spann lives with his family is filled with art by Stanley Whitney, Marcus Brutus, Kenny Scharfand many more. [Architectural Digest]

Actor Brad Pitt revealed that he spent a year hunting for gold at his estate in Provence. Alas, none was found. It turns out that the tip came from a man seeking investments in a radar company. (Some will say that this is not an art-related story, but Pitt has been to Documentary, is an art lover, and was engaged here in archaeology.) [GQ via Page Six]

The Kicker

A TRUE ORIGINAL. Music producer T Bone Burnett chatted with Variety about his plan to sell a new recording that Bob Dylan has made of his song “Blowin’ in the Wind” next month at Christie’s in London. Only a single disc has been made of it, and it carries a high estimate of £1 million (about $1.23 million). “Paintings sell for hundreds of millions of dollars,” Burnett said. “Why doesn’t a crucial piece of music sell for a million dollars?” It’s part of his effort to fight back streaming services that have pushed the price of music almost to zero. Music is “treated like any other commodity, like a jar of mayonnaise,” Burnett said. “I reject that.” [Variety]

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