Art Movements

This week in art news: artists were injured in clashes with Chinese security officials during the demolition of a studio complex in Beijing, a deputy director of the State Hermitage Museum was put under house arrest on suspicion of fraud, and Ai Weiwei revealed plans to install more than 100 fence sculptures around New York City.

Rendering of one piece in the multi-part Public Art Fund project “Ai Weiwei: Good Fences Make Good Neighbors” (courtesy Ai Weiwei Studio)

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

Ai Weiwei will install over 100 fences around New York City in October as part of a project commissioned by the Public Art Fund. In a press release, the Public Art Fund described the project as a response to “the international migration crisis and [the] tense sociopolitical battles surrounding the issue in the United States and worldwide.” The project is entitled, “Good Fences Make Good Neighbors,” a reference to Robert Frost’s poem “Mending Wall.”

Multiple artists were injured during clashes with Chinese security officials in Beijing’s Songzhuang district. Around 100 artists attempted to prevent the demolition of the home and studio of artists Shen Jingdong and Cao Zhiwen. Government officials cited illegal construction as grounds to demolish the property.

Mikhail Novikov, the deputy director of construction projects at Saint Petersburg’s State Hermitage Museum, was placed under house arrest on charges of suspected fraud by Moscow’s Lefortovsky District Court.

Tehran’s Ag Galerie withdrew from AIPAD’s Photography Show due to President Trump’s travel ban on six predominantly Muslim countries. A notice explaining the gallery’s absence is on display in its vacant booth.

Christie’s cancelled its June postwar and contemporary art auctions in London. The announcement follows the auction house’s recent decision to close its showroom in South Kensington and scale back its operations in Amsterdam.

Thomas Krens, the former director of the Guggenheim Foundation, criticized the Foundation’s plans to open a museum in Abu Dhabi, despite having brokered the 2006 deal to open the satellite museum there. In an interview with the In Other Words podcast, Krens suggested that the museum should be postponed or downsized. “The world financial crisis of 2008 and the Arab Spring has changed the equation radically […] It may not be such a good idea these days to have an American museum, essentially with a Jewish name, in a country [that doesn’t recognize Israel] in such a prominent location, at such a big scale.” The construction of the museum on Saadiyat Island has been mired in controversy, with groups such as Gulf Labor and Human Rights Watch calling attention to the widespread abuse of laborers working on the island’s cultural construction projects.

Leonardo da Vinci, “Adoration of the Magi” (1481), oil on wood, 243 x 246 cm (via Wikipedia)

The Uffizi Gallery unveiled Leonardo da Vinci’s “Adoration of the Magi” following a six-year restoration.

Workmen for the Chicago company Methods and Materials Inc. began to dismantle Alexander Calder’s monumental mobile, “Universe,” from the lobby of Willis Tower. The work is currently the subject of a legal dispute regarding its ownership.

The Turner Prize lifted its rule that eligible artists must be under 50 years old.

Thomas Gainsborough’s “Mr. and Mrs. William Hallett” (1785) went back on display at the National Gallery in London, just over a week after it was slashed with a screwdriver by a 63-year-old man.

A report by the BBC describes how Syrian archaeologists are using a clear traceable liquid, which is made visible under UV light, to mark valuable artifacts. The technique is currently being used to identify stolen antiquities.

One hundred and fifty works of antisemitic propaganda went on display at the Caen-Normandy Memorial Museum as part of an exhibition entitled Heinous Cartoons 1886-1945: The Antisemitic Corrosion in Europe. The works are from the private collection of Holocaust survivor Arthur Langerman.

Eleven people were detained after staging a naked protest at the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum. According to the BBC, Polish media speculated that the action was a protest against the war in Ukraine.

The Spectator awarded its second annual What’s That Thing? — an award for the worst piece of public art — to “Origin,” a sculpture created by Solas Creative.

(courtesy Brooklyn Public Library)

The Brooklyn Public Library unveiled a limited edition library card featuring artwork from Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are (1963).

Kristen Visbal’s bronze sculpture “Fearless Girl” will remain on view in Manhattan’s Financial District through February 2018 according to New York City mayor Bill de Blasio. “Fearless Girl has fueled powerful conversations about women in leadership and inspired so many,” de Blasio stated. “Now, she’ll be asserting herself and affirming her strength even after her temporary permit expires — a fitting path for a girl who refuses to quit.” Hyperallergic’s Jillian Steinhauer described the sculpture as a work of “fake corporate feminism.”

The neon sign for Pearl Paint, the beloved NYC art supply store that closed in 2014, has been incorporated into the lobby of the luxury apartments built in the store’s former building. According to Curbed, the four units range from $16,000 to $18,000 per month.

A 100-kilo, 24-carat gold coin worth $4 million was stolen from the Bode Museum in Berlin. The coin, which bears the image of Queen Elizabeth II, was minted by the Royal Canadian Mint in 2007. It is thought that the thieves executed the theft with the use of a rope, a foldout ladder, and a wheelbarrow.

Ikon Gallery is looking for volunteers to participate in a staging of On Kawara’s “One Million Years (Reading)” at the Venice Biennale.


Louis Draper, “Boy with lace curtain” (nd), gelatin silver print, 12 7/8 x 9 in, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts; Arthur and Margaret Glasgow Endowment (© Louis H. Draper Preservation Trust)

The National Endowment for the Humanities awarded the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts a $173,833 grant to digitize its collection of materials by photographer Louis Draper.

The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts acquired 30 works, including pieces by Jim Campbell, Bill Walton, Emily Sartain, and Debra Priestly.

The Museum of London acquired 100 items of clothing and accessories worn by Francis Golding, a former secretary of the Royal Fine Art Commission.

Patti Smith purchased the reconstructed home of Arthur Rimbaud for an undisclosed sum.

The Library of Congress acquired the archive of photographer Bob Adelman.

The Getty Research Institute acquired Frank Gehry’s archive from 1954 to 1988.

Frank Gehry, Winton Guest House Model (1982–87), Wayzata, Minnesota, Frank Gehry Papers at the Getty Research Institute


The Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s director, Michael Govan, and Roger W. Ferguson, the chief executive of financial services company TIAA, have been asked by the Smithsonian to join its board of regents. Their nominations will need to be approved by President Trump and the House of Representatives.

Christine Poggi was appointed director of New York University’s Institute of Fine Arts.

Jeffrey Andersen announced his retirement as director of the Florence Griswold Museum.

Blake Shell was appointed executive director of the Disjecta Contemporary Art Center.

Emma Imbrie Chubb was appointed the first curator of contemporary art at the Smith College Museum of Art.

The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, appointed Amanda Hunt as director of education and public programs, and Anna Katz as assistant curator.

Andrea Gyorody was appointed assistant curator of modern and contemporary art at the Allen Memorial Art Museum.

Don McMahon was appointed editorial director of the Museum of Modern Art’s publications department.

Phillips appointed Laurence Calmels as regional director for France.

Matt Packer was appointed director of EVA International.

Tate St. Ives reopened after an 18-month, £20-million (~$24.9 million) renovation.

The Musée Camille Claudel opened in the French town of Nogent-sur-Seine.

The Philadelphia Museum of Art broke ground on its $196-million expansion project.

Koenig & Clinton gallery will relocate from Chelsea to Bushwick in June.

Zurich’s Galerie Eva Presenhuber announced plans to open its third space in New York City.

Two London galleries, Vilma Gold and Ibid gallery, will close.


Ethan Murrow, “Plethora” (detail) (2016), sharpie on wall, 40 x 30 ft, site-specific installation as part of the Project Atrium series at MOCA Jacksonville (courtesy MOCA Jacksonville and Doug Eng)

Ethan Murrow was awarded the Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville’s 2017 Brooke and Hap Stein Emerging Artist Prize.

Oskar Hult, Jonas Silfversten Bergman, and Josefine Östberg Olsson were awarded the Fredrik Roos Art Prize.

Kriota Willberg was awarded the first-ever artist residency at the New York Academy of Medicine.

The Library of Congress awarded the 2016 Bobbitt National Prizes for Poetry to Claudia Rankine and Nathaniel Mackey.

The City of Houston announced the recipients of its 2017 artist grants.

Bob Dylan agreed to formally accept the Nobel Prize for Literature at a small ceremony scheduled this weekend — five months after the award was first announced.


Julian Stanczak, “Forming in Four Reds” (1993-1994) (via Flickr/Sharon Mollerus)

Arthur Blythe (1940–2017), saxophonist.

Frank Delaney (1942–2017), author and arts broadcaster.

Don Hunstein (1928–2017), photographer. Best known for his iconic image of Bob Dylan and Suze Rotolo walking in Greenwich Village.

Peter Johns (1930–2017), photographer.

Ahmed Kathrada (1929–2017), anti-Apartheid activist and writer.

Molly Mahood (1919–2017), scholar. Best known for Shakespeare’s Wordplay (1957).

William McPherson (1933–2017), critic and novelist. Awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Distinguished Criticism in 1977.

Robin O’Hara (1954–2017), film producer.

Liana Paredes (unconfirmed–2017), chief curator and director of collections at Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens.

William Powell (1949-2017), author of The Anarchist Cookbook (1971).

Julian Stanczak (1928–2017), artist. Figurehead of the Op art movement.

David Storey (1933–2017), author and playwright.

Christina Vella (1942–2017), author.

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