Art Movements

This week in art news: Facebook blocked a photo of a statue of Neptune for being “sexually explicit,” the Louvre’s attendance dropped following terrorist attacks in Paris, and a long-lost self-portrait by a female painter of the Dutch Golden Age was found.

A statue of Neptune in Bologna's Piazza del Nettuno that was blocked by Facebook for "" (photo by Cassinam, via Wikimedia Commons)
A statue of Neptune in Bologna’s Piazza del Nettuno that was deemed “sexually explicit” by Facebook (photo by Cassinam/Wikimedia Commons)

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

Facebook blocked a photo of a 16th-century statue of Neptune that stands in Bologna’s Piazza del Nettuno for being “sexually explicit” and revealing the human anatomy “to an excessive degree.”

Attendance at the Louvre dropped for the second year in a row to 7.3 million visitors in 2016, from 8.6 million in 2015 (when it was down from its 2014 high of 9.3 million). The museum, which is the most visited one in the world, attributed the drop to reduced tourist numbers following terrorist attacks in Paris.

A self-portrait by the Dutch Golden Age painter Judith Leyster that was long believed lost was discovered hanging in a family’s country home.

A council in West Yorkshire that recently had to close two of its museums for lack of funds is contemplating selling an early painting by Francis Bacon from its collection. “Figure Study II,” a work from the 1940s, has been valued at £19.5 million (~$24.2 million).

The French government has placed a 30-month export ban on a two-sided drawing recently attributed to Leonardo da Vinci in hopes of raising the €15 million (~$15.9 million) needed to keep it in the country.

The reverse of the c. 1482 drawing attributed to Leonardo da Vinci, showing two scientific studies (©TAJAN)
The reverse of a c. 1482 drawing attributed to Leonardo da Vinci, showing two scientific studies (© TAJAN)

New York City’s municipal ID program, IDNYC, will remain free in its third year and has brought on 11 more cultural institutions at which cardholders can enjoy benefits like free membership, including the Museum of Arts and Design and the Jacques Marchais Center for Tibetan Art. Some institutions have left the program, including the Guggenheim.

The Victoria & Albert Museum was evacuated and shut down on Tuesday following a bomb scare. An hour and a half later, after an inspection by police specialists, staff and visitors were allowed back in.

The director of the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Mikhail Piotrovsky, believes that art loans to the US from Russia, suspended since 2011, may soon resume. Piotrovsky cites legislation that’s currently being considered by the Senate that would protect art from foreign institutions on loan in the US from being seized.

The Musée de Montmartre et des Jardins Renoir claims that the InterMusées organization is discriminating against it by refusing to add it to the popular Paris Museum Pass program.

The Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities retrieved a trove of 340 archaeological objects that had been smuggled to Jordan in a coal shipment.

Instagram appears to be suppressing the hashtag #pussypower, which happens to be the title of a group exhibition currently on view at David & Schweitzer Contemporary in Brooklyn. One of the show’s co-curators, Jennifer Samet (a Hyperallergic contributor), points out that related hashtags — including #pussy — have not been censored by the social network.


The central atrium of the Amon Carter Museum of American Art in Fort Worth, Texas (photo by Steven Watson via Wikimedia Commons)
The central atrium of the Amon Carter Museum of American Art in Fort Worth, Texas (photo by Steven Watson/Wikimedia Commons)

The Amon Carter Museum of American Art received a $20 million endowment from the Walton Family Foundation.

The Blanton Museum of Art acquired Sonya Clark’s “Madam C.J. Walker” (2008), largely through the fundraising efforts of local businesswoman, museum board member, and docent Marilyn Johnson.

The Newport Art Museum received an anonymous donation of $4.7 million.

The National Archives of the United States gave out 30 grants and three cooperative agreements totaling $2.1 million.

The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts received a $500,000 naming donation for its printmaking shop from Julie Jensen Bryan and Robert Bryan.

The Ringling College of Art and Design received two donations totaling $400,000 toward the construction of a new performing arts pavilion.

The Fine Arts Center in Colorado Springs acquired James Surls’s hanging sculpture “It’s Not About the Numbers” (2002).


New York gallery Murray Guy will close after 18 years in business following its next exhibition, January Show, which opens January 10.

Meriç Öner will become the new director of research and programs at SALT in March, when the current director, Vasıf Kortun, steps down and joins the institution’s board.

Doron Rabina was appointed chief curator of the Tel Aviv Museum of Art.

Performance Space 122 named Jenny Schlenzka as its new executive artistic director.

Kenneth Weine was named the chief communications officer at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum named Colleen Kelly as its new senior director of advancement and communications.

Phillips appointed Vivian Pfeiffer to be its new head of business development and deputy chairman for the Americas, and named Cândida Sodré as its new regional director for Brazil.

Santtu Mustonen was named the next collaborator in the New York City Ballet’s Art Series program.


Architect David Adjaye and photographer Don McCullin were knighted as part of the Queen of England’s New Year Honors, while artist Chris Ofili received a CBE.

Richard Deacon won the Ernst Franz Vogelmann Prize for Sculpture.

Richard Deacon, "Nobody Here But Us" (1991) (photo by russellstreet/Flickr)
Richard Deacon, “Nobody Here But Us” (1991) (photo by russellstreet/Flickr)


John Berger (1926–2017), author, essayist, novelist, and art critic. Most famous for his book and BBC series Ways of Seeing (1972).

Joanne Corneau (1952–2016), artist.

Robert Hulseman (1932–2016), inventor of the iconic red, plastic Solo cup.

Jennifer Maloney (1961–2016), longtime chef of the restaurant at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art.

Lika Mutal (1936–2016), sculptor [email announcement].

Georges Prêtre (1924–2017), orchestra conductor.

Barbara Weiss (1960–2016), founder of the eponymous Berlin gallery.

Tyrus Wong (1910–2016), painter, illustrator, kite maker, and lead artist on Disney’s film Bambi (1942).

Lika Mutal, "El Ojo que Llora" (2005) (courtesy Nohra Haime Gallery)
Lika Mutal, “El Ojo que Llora” (2005) (courtesy Nohra Haime Gallery)
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