Art Movements

This week in art news: a portrait of Donald Trump on a toilet caused a bomb scare, the Whitney Museum released its list of participants for next year’s Biennial, and Ohad Meromi’s controversial sculpture “The Sunbather” was installed in Queens.

Ohad Meromi, “The Sunbather” (courtesy New York City Department of Cultural Affairs)

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

Ohad Meromi‘s monumental pink sculpture, “The Sunbather,” was installed at an intersection in Long Island City, Queens. The controversial work, which cost $515,000 to produce, led to the passing of a bill by the New York City Council requiring community hearings prior to the installation of public art projects.

A toilet emblazoned with a portrait of the US president-elect and the phrase “Dump on Trump” was left outside the entrance of the American Visionary Art Museum. According to The Baltimore Sun, police were prompted to respond to the sculpture as “a possible bomb threat.”

The Whitney Museum released the list of 63 artists and artist collectives who will be included in next year’s Whitney Biennial — the first in the museum’s new Meatpacking District building.

Residents at Trump Place in Manhattan voted to remove the president-elect’s name from the premises. Power washers were used to remove the marks left by the building’s brass signage.

The Van Gogh Museum rejected the attribution of ink drawings included in the newly released book, Vincent van Gogh: The Lost Arles Sketchbook.

The German culture minister, Monika Grütters, appointed the first Jewish members to the Limbach Commission — the panel established to mediate Nazi-looted art ownership disputes.

An oil painting attributed to Elias García Martinez (courtesy Maturen Art Gallery)

Two antique dealers, Ricardo Ostalé and David Maturén, believe that they have discovered Elias García Martinez’s original study for “Ecce Homo,” the fresco that was infamously “restored” by Cecilia Giménez — aka “Beast Jesus.”

Eric McNatt filed a lawsuit against Richard Prince. The photographer is the fourth person to file a copyright complaint over Prince’s New Portraits series.

Police are investing the vandalization of Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s “Elephant and Obelisk” (1667) in Rome. A marble fragment (specifically the left tusk of the elephant) was recovered near the sculpture on Monday morning.

Jenny Holzer and Giuseppe Penone were commissioned to create works for the Louvre Abu Dhabi. The museum, which will open next year, has come under intense criticism for the abuse and exploitation of its construction workers.

Annette Lemieux‘s 1995 work, “Left Right Left Right” was reinstalled upside down at the Whitney Museum following the outcome of the presidential election.

The UK culture minister, Matt Hancock, placed a temporary export bar on William Hogarth‘s “The Christening” (c. 1728).

William Hogarth, “The Christening” (c. 1728), oil on canvas, 49.5 x 62.8 cm (courtesy the Department for Culture, Media, and Sport)

The Romanian government passed an emergency ordinance to purchase Constantin Brancusi‘s “The Wisdom of the Earth” (1907) after a public fundraising campaign only raised €1 million (~$1.06 million) of its €6 million (~$6.37 million) goal.

Anselm Kiefer called upon Beijing’s Central Academy of Fine Arts to pull an upcoming exhibition of his work. The artist claims that the show was planned “without [his] involvement or consent.”

Residents in the German town of Heppenheim complained about a poster featuring Artemisia Gentileschi’s painting “Judith Slaying Holofernes” (c. 1614–20). The work is currently on display at the Wiesbaden Museum as part its exhibition Caravaggio’s Heirs. According to the BBC, the museum has agreed to “gradually remove” its posters from the region.


Glenn Brown, “In the end we all succumb to the pull of the molten core” (2016), indian ink and acrylic on panel, 135 x 95 x 2.8 cm, presented by the Contemporary Art Society and the artist through Great Works, supported by the Sfumato Foundation (© Glenn Brown, photo by Edgar Laguinia, courtesy Gagosian)

Glenn Brown produced a new work for the Laing Art Gallery in Newcastle — the first donation made through the Contemporary Art Society’s Great Works scheme.

Edvard Munch‘s “Girls on a Bridge” (1902) was sold at Sotheby’s for $54.5 million, the second-highest auction price for a work by the artist.

The Museum of Modern Art acquired László Moholy-Nagy’s “EM 1 (Telephone Picture)” (1923).

The Nationalmuseum acquired five works by Christoffer Wilhelm Eckersberg (1783–1853).

The Currier Museum of Art acquired a double-sided painting by Max Pechstein (1881–1955).

The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden acquired works by Shirin Neshat, Krzysztof Wodiczko, Ed Atkins, Jesper Just, Jacqueline Humphries, Enrico David, and Joseph Kosuth.

The Museum Folkwang in Essen received a multimillion-dollar gift of paintings, real estate, and securities from the estate of Walter and Liselotte Griese.

The Meadows School of the Arts received a $300,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Louis-Jean-François Lagrenée’s “Maternal Affection” (1773) went on display at the National Gallery in London. The work was bequeathed to the museum by the late art critic Brian Sewell.

The National Galleries of Scotland launched a fundraising campaign to purchase Edwin Landsee’s “The Monarch of the Glen” (1851).

The Dallas Museum of Art acquired Sam Gilliam’s “Leaf” (1970), one of the artist’s signature “drape” works.

Sam Gilliam, “Leaf” (1970), acrylic on canvas, gift of Timothy C. Headington (courtesy Dallas Museum of Art)


Debora L. Spar will become the tenth president and CEO of the Lincoln Center in March 2017 — the first woman ever appointed to the role.

Camille Morineau will succeed Chiara Parisi as the director of the Monnaie de Paris.

Matthew McLendon was appointed director and chief curator of the Fralin Museum of Art at the University of Virginia.

Ken Tabachnick was appointed executive director of the Merce Cunningham Trust.

Lily Siegel was appointed executive director and curator of Virginia’s Greater Reston Arts Center.

Jim Leach was appointed interim director of the University of Iowa Museum of Art.

Anne Barlow was appointed artistic director of Tate St Ives.

Ben Pryor was appointed director of performance and residency programs at Gibney Dance.

Kimberli Gant was appointed curator of modern and contemporary art at the Chrysler Museum of Art.

Philip Hu was promoted to curator of Asian Art at the Saint Louis Museum.

Isolde Brielmaier was appointed curator-at-large at the Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College.

James S. Gerhardt was appointed chief advancement officer at the Corning Museum of Glass [via email announcement].

Michelle Moseley was appointed senior development officer at the Ringling.

Artist Shimon Attie was appointed the 2016–17 Freund Teaching Fellow at the Saint Louis Art Museum and Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Art.

The Baltic Gallery launched the Baltic Artists’ Award.

The first museum in Central America dedicated to remembering the Holocaust will open in Guatemala early next year.

The Walters Art Museum commenced work on its $10.4 million renovation.

The EMP Museum renamed itself the Museum of Pop Culture (or “MoPOP”).


Installation view of Helen Marten’s work at the Hepworth Wakefield, West Yorkshire (© the artist, courtesy the Hepworth Wakefield, photo by Lewis Ronald)

President Obama will present the Presidential Medal of Freedom to 21 recipients next week, including Maya Lin and Frank Gehry.

United States Artists announced its 2016 fellows.

The National YoungArts Foundation announced its 2017 Young Arts Winners — a total of 691 individuals from 40 US states.

Helen Marten was awarded the inaugural Hepworth Prize for Sculpture.

The Rema Hort Mann Foundation announced the recipients of its 2016 Emerging Artist Grant in New York City.

Rebecca Belmore was awarded the 2016 Gershon Iskowitz Prize.

Claudio Rasano was awarded the 2016 Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize for his portrait of Katlehong Matsenen, an eighteen-year-old schoolboy from Johannesburg.

Claudio Rasano, “Katlehong Matsenen” (2016) (© Claudio Rasano, courtesy the National Portrait Gallery)


Mose Allison (1927–2016), pianist, singer, and composer.

Diana Balmori (1932–2016), landscape architect.

Burt Barr (1938–2016), video artist.

Leonard Cohen (1934–2016), musician, poet, and novelist.

Bob Cranshaw (1932–2016), bassist.

Holly Dunn (1957–2016), country singer.

Jules Eskin (1931–2016), cellist for Boston Symphony Orchestra.

Alex Hamilton (1930–2016), novelist and journalist.

Gwen Ifill (1955–2016), journalist, newscaster, and author.

Zoltán Kocsis (1952–2016), pianist and conductor.

David Mancuso (1944–2016), DJ and underground party promotor.

Billy Miller (1954–2016), rock ‘n’ roll archivist.

Lionel Morrison (1935–2016), journalist and anti-apartheid activist. First black president of the National Union of Journalists.

Leon Russell (1942–2016), musician and songwriter.

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