Inside Simone Leigh’s U.S. Pavilion—and Moe Art News – ARTnews.com

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The Headlines

A MYSTERIOUS SARCOPHAGUS that was discovered Notre-Dame in Paris this year will be opened, France 24 reports. We already have a preview of what’s inside, since experts used a camera to see a skeleton and a pillow made of leaves, but now we’re likely to get a more complete view of the sarcophagus, which could date back to the 14th century. Special care will be taken with the skeleton, since, as Dominique Garcia, head of France’s national archaeology, put it, “a human body is not an archaeological object.” The archaeological news kept coming yesterday in Mexico, where experts found animal remains related to a ritual at the Mayan city of Palanque, HeritageDaily reports.

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BIENNALE WATCH. We’re only days away from the inauguration of the Venice Biennaleand with the world’s biggest art festival just about to kick off, artists have begun opening up about what they’re showing there. Simone Leigh gave Siddartha Mitter a first look at her US Pavilion for a New York Times preview. The pavilion, set in a neo-Palladian structure, has “gone African, with a thatched roof that drapes partway down the facade,” Mitter reports. Meanwhile, Robert Narkus offered Artnet News a preview of his Lithuanian Pavilion, which will see a “mysterious product” made of algae take up residence in Venice. “People are the biggest challenge—they are everywhere!” Narkus said. And Stan Doulgas‘s Canadian Pavilion was featured in the Financial Timesand Paula Pivi‘s Finnish Pavilion got the profile treatment in the Times. Leigh, Narkus, Douglas, and Pivi are but four of dozens of artists representing their respective countries at the Biennale, however. ARTnews has a guide to every national pavilion announced so far. Stay tuned for more Biennale coverage next week.

The Digest

Where most biennials are named after quotations from obscure sources, the forthcoming Singapore Biennale has a plain name: “Natasha.” Why, you ask? The organizers wanted something more accessible that would foster a “deeper connection” with the art. [South China Morning Post]

Actors Sarah Michelle Gellar, Ryan Phillippeand Selma Blair stopped by New York’s Jeffrey Deitch Gallerywhere paintings by Sam McKinniss depicting the stars of Cruel Intentions are now on view. [Instagram]

A 24-foot-long David Hockney painting is now on view at the Art Gallery of Ontario. Though it had been rolled up and stowed away for nearly three decades, its condition is “fantastic,” according to a museum spokesperson. [The Art Newspaper]

French authorities seized collector Roman Abramovich‘s ritzy mansion in the Riviera. It’s one of 12 residences owned by Abramovich in France, all of which have now been seized. [New York Post]

The Inverted Arm Museuma new space that will in each gallery feature “a different urban landscape unfolding the various personalities of New York City,” is coming to the Big Apple in September. [Time Out]

The Kicker

MILLARD FILLMORE, THE 13TH PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATESmay not be a popular politician for artists to take up in their work, and yet his image figures in none other than musician Aimee Mann‘s first art exhibition, at City Winery in New York. Her portrait of him is a part of her painting series “Ten Worst Presidents.” Here’s Mann on the series’ genesis: “In 2013 my friend Tony Blinken went to work at the White House. He told me he needed art for his walls in his new office and I offered to paint him something. I was going to paint a portrait of Obama, but in a burst of some kind of superstitiousness, I didn’t want to paint a political figure I really believed in, and instead became obsessed with the idea of ​​painting only the worst past presidents.” Not so surprisingly, Mann’s Fillmore portrait never made it to the White House’s walls. [Pitchfork]

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