A casta painting by Miguel Cabrera, who also made a missing work hiding somewhere in Los Angeles.

VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Conundrums

Two years ago, a Los Angeles County Museum of Art curator received a puzzling letter about a missing 18th-century Mexican painting, signed only by a person named “Española.” In a report for the Los Angeles Times, Christopher Knight ponders the mystery behind the work, which may be hiding somewhere in Los Angeles. [Los Angeles Times]

For the Paris Review, Chris Newens meditates on Joep van Lieshout’s controversial sculpture Domestikator. Why, he wonders, is it more appropriate for the Centre Pompidou’s neighborhood than the Louvre’s? [The Paris Review]

Coming Attractions

The New Yorker critic Peter Schjeldahl profiles Laura Owens, whose work will be the subject of a major survey at the Whitney Museum in November. “I really believe in art, that art can do things that other things don’t do,” she tells Schjeldahl. [The New Yorker]

According to Artnet News, a Jack Whitten survey will make stops at the Baltimore Museum of Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2018. This will mark another career high for Whitten, who had a traveling retrospective three years ago and recently joined Hauser & Wirth’s roster. [Artnet News]

For a new exhibition at Mitchell-Innes & Nash gallery in New York, Mary Kelly has made works using compressed lint and dryers. In an interview with the New York Times, Kelly discusses this series, which took thousands of loads of laundry to produce. [The New York Times]

Agnieszka Polska has won this year’s Preis der Nationalgalerie, Deutsche Welle reports. The prize doesn’t come with any money, but it will offer the young Polish artist the chance to show her work at the Nationalgalerie in Berlin. [Deutsche Welle]

Unusual Dealings

A drawing of the Empire State Building by Donald Trump has sold at auction for $16,000, the Washington Times reports. The buyer still isn’t known, but let’s hope it wasn’t someone in Russia. [The Washington Times]

According to a report in the Guardian, Swiss dealer Gianfranco Becchina may have exhibited, and failed to find a buyer for, two looted ancient Greek vases at the Frieze Masters art fair in London. They were worth more than £100,000, and strangely enough, selling them would’ve been legal. [The Guardian]

The New York Times reports that a handwritten letter from the Titanic sold for $153,000 this past weekend. Yes, the letter was water-stained. [The New York Times]

The Critics

An Omer Fast installation that supposedly mimics a Chinatown shop was the subject of controversy last week. And is the work any good? No, not really, writes New York Times critic Holland Cotter, who, in his review, calls the piece a “serious misfire.” [The New York Times]

For 4Columns, Aruna D’Souza addresses Sophie Calle’s Voir la mer, a “lovely, mesmerizing” video installation that appears in New York’s Times Square around midnight every night. [4Columns]

Valie Export

Paris’s Galerie Thaddeus Ropac now represents Valie Export, according to ArtDaily. In January, the gallery will show Export’s “Body Configuration Series,” for which the Austrian artist photographed herself lying on benches and slumped over stairs. [ArtDaily]