Art Movements

A new Banksy stencil in Calais, France (via

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

Turkish artist Bedri Baykam held a press conference to protest Saudi Arabia’s decision to execute Palestinian artist and poet Ashraf Fayadh.

Stephan Salisbury reported on Philadelphia‘s beleaguered gallery scene. Rosenfeld Gallery, Gallery Joe, LGTripp Gallery, Artists’ House, and Hooloon Gallery have all closed in the past year.

Banksy unveiled a series of new, immigration-themed stencils — including a parody of Théodore Géricault’s “The Raft of the Medusa” (1818–19) — in and around the “jungle,” a refugee camp outside of Calais, France.

A group of 137 Iranian film directors penned a letter in support of Keywan Karimi, the 30-year-old filmmaker who was sentenced to six years in prison and 223 lashes for “insulting the sacred” with Writing on the City, his film about street art in Tehran.

According to New York Times reporter Robin Pogrebin, an unexpected number of employees volunteered for a round of buyouts at Sotheby’s. Pogrebin’s claim was later corrected by the Times as “erroneous.” Last month, Bloomberg cited an internal email written by Sotheby’s CEO Tad Smith in which he stated that staffers would be offered “an attractive economic opportunity to volunteer to resign, should they wish to do so.”

The cover of ‘TIME’ magazine’s 2015 Person of the Year issue (via

Artist Colin Davidson was commissioned to paint Angela Merkel’s portrait for the cover of TIME‘s 2015 Person of the Year issue.

The Rijksmuseum is removing offensive and racially charged terms from its digitized collection. Terms such as ‘negro’ and ‘dwarf’ will be removed from the titles and descriptions of works online.

The US National Parks Service is looking to hire a full-time photographer for a salary of between $63,722 and $99,296 a year. Applicants must specialize in large format black-and-white photography. The deadline to apply is Tuesday, December 15, 11:59pm EST.

The Versailles Court of Appeal overturned a 2013 ruling against former Centre Pompidou director Werner Spies. The German art historian was ordered to reimburse collector Louis Reijtenbagh for a Max Ernst work that turned out to be a fake created by art forger Wolfgang Beltracchi.

Turkey’s Datça Municipality initiated a project to repatriate artifacts taken from the ancient Greek city of Knidos.

Trade unions in Barcelona objected to a proposal to transform Picasso’s former art school, the Escola d’Arts i Oficis de Barcelona, into a museum dedicated to the work of film director Woody Allen.

The American Civil Liberties Union accused Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) of censoring a gentrification-themed work by artist Victor De La Rosa. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, BART specifically took issue with the phrase “bitch you’re not from here!,” which appears on the work alongside phrases such as “start up,” “forced out,” and “taken over.”

Architect Eric Parry unveiled his design for 1 Undershaft, which, if built, would become the tallest structure in the City of London.

A sweater from the “School of Thought” collection (photo by Brick x Birch, via (click to enlarge)

Philadelphia Printworks released its “School of Thought” collection, a line of sweaters emblazoned with the names of fictional colleges named after black intellectuals and activists.

The tomb of Ottoman sultan Suleiman the Magnificent is believed to have been discovered near Szigetvar in southern Hungary.

Artists Andrea Fraser, Lucy Dodd, Michael Heizer, Cecil Taylor, and Steve McQueen will each in turn be given the entire fifth floor of the Whitney Museum of American Art as part of a “experimental” program named Open Plan.

A 30-foot Christmas tree decorated by Damien Hirst was branded insensitive by Mayfair residents due to its proximity to a homeless shelter. Commissioned by London’s Connaught Hotel, the tree includes a number of suspended syringes in place of traditional decorations.

A group of protestors from the Class War Women’s Death Brigade gathered outside London’s Jack the Ripper Museum to maim and behead an effigy of the museum’s owner Mark Palmer-Edgecume. The former Google diversity chief initially claimed that the institution would be “the first women’s museum in the UK.”

According to Courthouse News, art authenticator Peter Paul Biro lost his appeal for a defamation case brought against writer David Grann and the New Yorker. In his 2011 lawsuit, Biro described Grann’s 2010 article, “The Mark of a Masterpiece: The man who keeps finding famous fingerprints on uncelebrated works of art,” as a “false and defamatory screed.”


Joseph Wright, “A grotto in the Gulf of Salerno, with the figure of Julia, Banished from Rome” (1780), oil on canvas, 48 3/4 x 67 3/4 in. (courtesy Sotheby’s) (click to enlarge)

John Constable‘s “The Lock” sold for £9,109,000 ($13,699,025) at Sotheby’s Old Master and British Paintings evening sale. Joseph Wright‘s “A grotto in the Gulf of Salerno, with the figure of Julia, Banished from Rome” (1780) was sold at the same auction for £665,000 ($1,000,094). Godfrey Meynell, the former High Sheriff of Derbyshire, donated the painting to London-based charity United Society, which will use the sale’s proceeds to assist Syrian refugees in Greece.

As it nears its 50th year, the National Endowment for the Arts has pledged $27.7 million towards 1,126 projects as part of its first round of 2016 funding.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art signed a memorandum of understanding with the Republic of Korea’s Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism. The Ministry donated $1 million to fund initiatives related to the presentation of Korean art at the Met.

Barbara Lee donated 20 works by 12 female artists to the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston. Around this time last year, the philanthropist donated 43 works by female artists to the museum.

The Blaffer Art Museum received a $1 million bequest from the late Jane Dale Owen, the largest gift in the museum’s history.

The Bank of Montreal donated $1 million to the Winnipeg Art Gallery.

The A.K. Prakash Foundation donated 50 paintings by Canadian artist James Wilson Morrice to the National Gallery of Canada.

James Wilson Morrice, “Canal in Venice” (c. 1898–1900), oil on canvas. Gift of A.K. Prakash, J.W. Morrice Collection, 2015. National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa (photo © NGC)


Marc Porter resigned as chairman of Christie’s and will assume a role at Sotheby’s, though the title of his new position has yet to be announced.

Jack Persekian stepped down as the director of the Palestinian Museum. The institution is due to open in Birzeit next year.

Jorge Rivas Pérez was appointed curator of Spanish colonial art at the Denver Art Museum.

The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts appointed Leo G. Mazow as head of its department for American Art, and Kimberly J. Wilson as deputy director of human resources.

The Film Society of Lincoln Center appointed Thomas Beard as its programmer at large.

Alexander Brier Marr was appointed assistant curator of Native American art at the St. Louis Art Museum.

Jill Shaw was appointed associate curator of European art at the Detroit Institute of Arts.

Phillip March Jones was appointed director of the Andrew Edlin Gallery.

Art in General will reopen in a space in Dumbo on January 10. It will operate from 145 Plymouth Street for three years while looking for a new, long-term location.


Assemble group photo (2014) (© Assemble) (click to enlarge)

London-based collective Assemble were named the winners of the 2015 Turner Prize.

Camille Henrot was named the winner of the Edvard Munch Art Award.

Annette Kelm received the 2015 Camera Austria Award for Contemporary Photography from the Austrian city of Graz.

Victoria Sobel and Casey Gollan were each awarded a fellowship at the New School’s Vera List Center for Art and Politics.

Eileen Myles was awarded the 2015 Clark Prize for Excellence in Arts Writing.

Fifty-one artists and collectives were selected for the 2016 artists-in-residence program at the Headlands Center for the Arts.


Bryony Brind (1960–2015), ballet dancer.

Nadia Chomyn (1960–2015), artist.

Mariuccua Mandelli (1935–2015), fashion designer.

Victoria Nicodemus (1985–2015), curator for Indiewalls.

Timothy Seldes (1926–2015), literary agent.

Deanna Thompson (1958–2015), painter.

Tshering Wangyel (1972–2015), film director.

Holly Woodlawn (1946–2015), transgender actress. One of Andy Warhol’s “superstars,” co-star of Paul Morrissey’s Trash (1970), and the inspiration for Lou Reed’s 1972 song “Walk on the Wild Side.”

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