Frank Ocean in 2013.

RORY/COURTESY CREATIVE COMMONS

Big Deals

In another exposé after a big one in Esquire last week, the New Yorker turns its monocle on the Sackler family, famous for philanthropy at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim, the Louvre, Harvard, et al.—but also, it becomes increasingly clear, for a history of fortune-building that led to the current opioid crisis roiling the nation. [The New Yorker]

About her recent commission to paint the portrait of former First Lady Michelle Obama, Amy Sherald told the New York Times, “I’m just going to pretend it’s not a big deal.” Yet it is a big deal—as elucidated in a profile by Robin Pogrebin of a 44-year-old artist who, unlike her portrait-commission colleague Kehinde Wiley, is “just taking off.” [The New York Times]

The Mugrabi family claims part of its cache of Warhols is being held hostage at Mana Contemporary, an art center and storage facility in Jersey City, New Jersey. A lawsuit reported by Bloomberg contends that business is being unfairly halted as a result of a disagreement over storage fees. [Bloomberg]

Photography/Music

The mercurial R&B star Frank Ocean—whose art-world connections include a cover design that was extremely evocative of Kerry James Marshall and collaborative dalliances with Tom Sachs—created a 32-page folio for i-D magazine. The contents include a bounty of photographs and brief written musings “about peace, love, and Szechuan sauce.” [i-D]

William Eggleston’s debut album Musik got a 6.4 on Pitchfork. About the surprising synthesizer tunes by a 78-year-old who has been better-known as a photographer, Kyle Chayka writes: “Mostly meandering improvisations, the 13 tracks combine luscious, slippery textures with discordant melodies, moving without going anywhere, fighting easy resolution with every turn.” [Pitchfork]

Anatomy

Judy Chicago, dubbed for the occasion as the “feminist godmother of vagina art,” is the subject of an enterprising profile in W magazine. About an Instagram account credited to @clubclitoris, she says, “I just totally love it.” [W]

The French novelist Marie Darrieussecq wrote a “slim, enigmatic biography” of the German Expressionist painter Paula Modersohn-Becker. She also spoke at length about it in an interview with the Paris Review. About the artist painting herself naked, the author suggests, “They’re not sensual paintings, it’s a dialogue with herself.” [The Paris Review]

Protest

As reported by the Art Newspaper, large protest art pieces are up on the facade of the Doha Fire Station arts venue in Qatar, unveiled last month as part of the Qatar Museums’s “100 days of blockade” art initiative. The next part: more work of the sort to go up on a bridge, tunnel, or wall. [The Art Newspaper]

At the New Republic, Rahel Aima takes a considered look at Ai Weiwei’s New York City-wide art project Good Fences Make Good Neighbors. “The piece is about freedom of movement and the humanity of migrants and refugees,” Aima writes, “but it is in one of the world’s wealthiest and most surveilled cities, where the forces of oppression and displacement are on full display alongside the piece’s loud, unsubtle calls for their downfall.” [The New Republic]

Etc.

The Guardian’s “Best Photos of the Day” roundup includes pictures of “a meerkat posing with pumpkins in Bristol and big wave surfing in South Africa.” Also, from the good ol’ U.S.A.: trees reflecting surreally on the waters of the Okefenokee Swamp. [The Guardian]

At Bandcamp, a site where you can buy digital music, a good guide to Arthur Russell gives a primer on a mystique-filled musician who rocked downtown New York in his own quiet way in the 1970s and ’80s. To wit: “He was an artist that managed to create music for both the club and the concert hall, often at the same time or even within the same piece. For Russell, minimalism wasn’t something to be confined to one style or tone; through his music he sought to expand it, both conceptually and sonically.” [Bandcamp Daily]