Art Movements

Ai Weiwei
Ai Weiwei, “Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads” (2010), gold-plated bronze. The set of sculptures sold for $4.3 million, a record price for a work by the artist (courtesy Phillips).

Art Movements is a weekly collection of news, developments, and stirrings in the art world.

Larissa Harris, a curator at the Queens Museum, told a Manhattan judge that she would like to exhibit work by Joe Gibbons, an artist and former MIT professor who is currently facing charges for bank robbery. Gibbons allegedly robbed a Capital One branch in Manhattan’s Chinatown as part of an art project.

Fourteen artists, including Jeremy Deller, Howard Hodgkin, and Anish Kapoor, have condemned the detention of Cuban artist of Tania Bruguera in an open letter to the Guardian.

A study by Thomson Reuters legal business concluded that the value of art exports from Britain reached a record high in 2014. Art works worth £11.3 billion ($17.4 billion) were exported from Britain between January to April 2014, an increase of 7.6% from the previous year.

Visits by UK residents to the Tate and National Galleries have dropped since 2008–09, according to figures published by the Department for Culture, Media, and Sport.

The Pratt Institute cancelled its annual design show, a day after students would have been eligible for a tuition refund. In an email shared with DNAinfo, Provost Peter Barna stated that the annual show will be replaced by smaller, inter-departmental exhibitions. A petition to restore the annual exhibition currently has 2,600 signatures.

The Glenstone museum outside Washington, DC is to receive a $372,993 tax refund from Montgomery County. The County Council decided it was unfair to charge the museum the same rate of tax as a commercial establishment. The museum was founded by billionaire Mitchell Rales and his wife, art historian and curator Emily Rales.

A display from the traveling ‘Body Worlds’ exhibition (photo by Sugar Ray Banister/Flickr/)

The Menschen Museum (human being museum), a permanent space for human bodies preserved by anatomist Dr. Gunther von Hagens, opened on Wednesday. Von Hagens, dubbed ‘Dr. Death” by the media, is best known for his traveling Body Worlds exhibition.

A dispute over the will of Nazi-era art hoarder Cornelius Gurlitt, has prevented the Kunstmuseum Bern from taking possession of 1,600 works bequeathed to the museum. A cousin of Gurlitt, Uta Werner, filed a petition contesting the will with a Munich court. In a statement, the museum’s board of trustees claimed that the legal action has “impeded the settlement of restitution cases.”

Scuba divers stumbled across 2,000 gold coins off the coast of Israel.

The US nominated nine buildings designed by Frank Lloyd Wright to the UNESCO World Heritage List, including the Guggenheim Museum and Fallingwater in Mill Run, Pennsylvania.

Casey Kaplan Gallery will open its new space in Manhattan’s so-called “Flower District” next week.

The Chicago Architectural Club (CAC) selected two winning entries from their open call for designs for the Barack Obama Presidential Library. An honorable mention was given to “Obama’s Drone Aviary,” a provocative design which envisions a fleet of drones delivering library material.

Austin-based arts magazine Pastelgram and the Meadows School of Art launched a new online publication entitled Coronagraph.

The United Arab Emirates launched its first national e-registry for antiquities.

Cheltenham Borough Council granted retrospective planning permission to Banksy’s “Spy Booth” mural.

Sotheby’s acquired an ownership interest in RM Auctions. The collector car auctioneer will be rebranded as RM Sotheby’s.

Architect Gene Kaufman released a rendering of the AnX, a four-story building for retail, restaurants, and galleries slated for 13 Grattan Street in Bushwick, Brooklyn. Kaufman’s projects have been subject to fierce criticism in the past. The architect has previously been described as the “dark lord of architectural blandness” and the “baron of bland buildings.”


Marble head of a youth, after a Polycletus Greek original of the 5th century BCE Roman period, 1st century CE, part of the Belfer Collection (© The Israel Museum; Photo by Elie Posner)

Ai Weiwei’s group of gold-plated animal heads (entitled “Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads”) sold for $4.3 million at Phillips auction house, a record price for a work by the artist (image at top of post).

Princeton University received the rare book collection of William H. Scheide. Valued at $300 million, it is the largest gift in the museum’s history. The collection includes six printed editions of the Bible and copies of Shakespeare’s first four folios.

Robert and Renée Belfer donated over 350 works to the Israel Museum to mark the institution’s 50th anniversary. The collection consits of ancient Greco-Roman sculpture, mosaics, and Near-Eastern glass vessels.

A judge ruled that AXA must pay $2.5 million to the Richard Avedon Foundation after the insurer lost a dispute regarding a damaged portrait of the Chicago Seven.

The Samerian Foundation donated $20 million to the US Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Hedge fund manager Ken Griffin donated $10 million to the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.

According to Vulture’s Josef Adalian, the Smithsonian’s Museum of American History plans to accept a gift of a selection of ephemera from the television series Mad Men. Items to be included in the museum’s permanent collection include Don Draper’s suit and fedora, and a copy of the season one finale script. Part of a broader slew of museum related events, Adalian described the Smithsonian gift as “an effort to both market the Mad Men farewell season and position the show for a long and prosperous pop-culture afterlife.”

The Royal Museums Greenwich acquired three photographic prints by Wolfgang Tillmans.

Edward R. Allen III and Chinhui Juhn donated $1.5 million to the Asia Society Texas Center.

The Toledo Museum of Art will return the Astrolabe, a 16th century astrological instrument, to the Gotha Museum in Germany. The device went missing after World War II and was purchased by the Toledo Museum in 1954.

Christoph Schissler the Elder, Astronomical Compendium or Astrolabium (Astrolabe) (1567), gilt bronze and enamel (courtesy the Toledo Museum of Art)


The Museo Universidad de Navarra opened its doors in Pamplona, Spain.

The Musée Maillol in Paris shut its doors indefinitely. Tecniarte, the company that manages the museum, filed for bankruptcy. The museum owes €3.3 million (~$3.75 million) in debt.

The Museum of Westward Expansion closed its doors as part of the renovations to St. Louis’s Gateway Arch and its surrounding grounds. A new interactive museum is scheduled to open in spring of 2017.

Construction on the future Museum of the Bible is underway in Washington, DC.

Hauser & Wirth will construct a new gallery building in Chelsea, Manhattan.

Rosanne Somerson was appointed the president of the Rhode Island School of Design.

Pierre Huyghe, “I do not own Tate Modern or the Death Star” (2006), neon lights; Huyghe was awarded the 2015 Kurt Schwitters Award earlier this week. (photo by Banalities/Flickr)

James Knox, the former managing director of The Art Newspaper, was appointed the director of the Fleming-Wyfold Art Foundation.

Michele Ellis Pracy was appointed the new executive director of the Fresno Art Museum.

The California College of the Arts assumed the publication of online art journals Art Practical and Daily Serving.

Bisi Silva was appointed artistic director of the tenth edition of Bamako Encounters.

Hallie S. Hobson was appointed the Studio Museum in Harlem’s director of institutional advancement.

The Tate appointed Natalia Sidlina as adjunct research curator for Russian art and Julia Tatiana Bailey as assistant curator of collections in international art. Both posts are supported by the V-A-C Foundation, an organization dedicated to the presentation and production of Russian contemporary art.


The High Museum will award the 2015 David C. Driskell Prize to Dr. Kirsten Pai Buick.

Pierre Huyghe was named the winner of the 2015 Kurt Schwitters Award.

Wladyslaw Mirecki won the 2015 Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize.


Sheila Caro (1924–2015), painter.

Jon Jerde (1940–2015), architect.

Philip Levine (1928–2015), poet and Pulitzer Prize winner.

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