Art Movements

This week in art news: pioneering Pop artist James Rosenquist died, 5Pointz artists were cleared to sue the site’s developer, and a crucifix attributed to Michelangelo was reinstalled at a church in Florence.

Robert Wyland, “East Coast Humpbacks” (1993), 2400 Market Street, Philadelphia (via Instagram/@someguyinphilly)

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

Philadelphia’s iconic “East Coast Humpbacks” mural (1993) at 2400 Market Street is being demolished to make way for Aramark’s new headquarters. The work is one of the last remaining 100 Whaling Wall murals painted by artist Robert Wyland between 1981 and 2008.

US District judge Frederic Block filed an order granting the artists of the former 5Pointz warehouse the right to sue the building’s owner, Jerry Wolkoff, under the 1990 Visual Artist Rights Act (VARA). Wolkoff had the building’s murals whitewashed overnight on November 19, 2013, without informing the artists who created them. Construction on two residential towers is currently underway on the site where union workers continue to demonstrate daily.

A wooden crucifix attributed to Michelangelo was reinstalled at the Santo Spirito church in Florence following an extensive restoration.

A federal judge denied Germany’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit regarding the recovery of the Guelph Treasure — the first such case to be impacted by the recently enacted Holocaust Expropriated Art Recovery Act.

Several museums worldwide will offer free admission on Sunday, April 9, to mark the centenary of Marcel Duchamp‘s “Fountain.” Visitors who enter participating museums between 3 to 4pm must identify themselves as “Richard Mutt” in order to be granted free entry.

Over 200 people signed a petition calling on the jury of the Foam Paul Huf Award to “reconsider” the recipient of its 2017 photography prize. Romain Mader received the award for Ekaterina, a narrative series in which Mader searches for a bride in a fictional town. According to the petition’s author, Sviatlana Kashuba, “the project creates an image of homogeneous post-soviet space […] with a hideous and misogynistic stereotype of Ukrainian women and then presenting the whole region as one by adding images of “whatever looks soviet” to his eyes.”

Special agents Jake Archer and Don Asper at the repatriation ceremony for a Norman Rockwell painting stolen in 1976 (courtesy FBI)

The FBI recovered a Norman Rockwell painting stolen from a New Jersey residence in 1976. Robert Grant purchased the work from a pool hall for $50 after accidentally puncturing the canvas with a pool cue. According to CNN, the painting — which has been variously titled as “Taking a Break,” “Boy Asleep with Hoe,” and “Lazybones” — is thought to be worth $1 million.

Two paintings by Gottfried Lindauer were stolen during a ram-raid attack on Parnell’s International Art Centre in Auckland, New Zealand.

ISIS appeared to be using the Mosul Museum as a tax office, according to journalists and soldiers who have recently searched the site.

The Toledo Museum of Art is seeking to deaccession 145 works from its collection.

Art dealer Perry Rubenstein pleaded no contest to two felony counts of grand theft by embezzlement.

The Santa Fe University of Art and Design will not accept any new students for the coming year after negotiations to sell the school to the Raffles Education Corp. of Singapore broke down.

Shia LaBeouf no longer faces assault charges for an alleged altercation during the initial run of the collaborative art project “He Will Not Divide Us.”

Royal Gifts, an exhibition of diplomatic gifts given to Queen Elizabeth II over the past 65 years, will open at Buckingham Palace on July 22. Official gifts made to the Queen cannot be sold or exchanged and are held in trust for the nation.

Art critic and writer Greg Allen launched a Kickstarter to recruit “a skilled artist in China” to paint Michael Kappe’s photograph of Ivanka Trump addressing German chancellor Angela Merkel at the White House. If funded, the painting will be executed in the manner of one of George W. Bush’s paintings.

A development of luxury homes in Cambridge, England, was tagged with anti-gentrification graffiti. The Latin phrase Locus in Domos Loci Populum was scrawled across two of the development’s structures. Although an exact translation is difficult to determine, it is thought that the perpetrator(s) were attempting to state “local homes for local people.”


Andy Warhol, “Mao” (1973), acrylic and silkscreen on canvas, 50 x 42 in (courtesy Sotheby’s)

Andy Warhol’s “Mao” (1973) was sold at Sotheby’s for HK$98.5 million (~$12.6 million), a record for a Western contemporary artwork sold in Asia.

Charles and Valerie Diker donated their collection of Native American art to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture and the Library of Congress jointly acquired a carte-de-visite album of 44 photographs that includes a previously unrecorded image of Harriet Tubman and the only known photograph of John Willis Menard, the first African American man elected to the US Congress. The album was recently purchased at Swann auction galleries for $161,000, far exceeding the pre-sale estimate of $20,000-30,000.

The German government contributed €1.2 million (~$1.27 million) to the Wilhelm Hack Museum as part of a settlement to reacquire a painting by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner that was looted from a Jewish family during World War II. “The Judgement of Paris” (1913) was repurchased by the museum with the assistance of multiple sponsors, including BASF SE and the Ernst von Siemens Art Foundation.

London’s National Portrait Gallery successfully raised the funds required to acquire Sir Thomas Lawrence’s unfinished portrait of the Duke of Wellington.

Richard and Jackie Hollander donated 44 photographs by Edward Steichen to Northwestern University’s Mary and Leigh Block Museum.

Taube Philanthropies donated $10.1 million to the Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life at the University of California, Berkeley.

The Upper East Side mansion of art dealing heir David Wildenstein sold for $79.5 million, the highest amount ever paid for a New York City townhouse.

Larry Sheerin donated over 80 works by Theodore Louis Gentilz to the San Antonio Museum of Art.

The Stedelijk Museum acquired Ettore Sottsass’s “Cabinet no. 70” (2006).

The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts acquired the archives of the Joffrey Ballet dance company.

The Dallas Museum of Art acquired Jackson Pollock’s “Figure Kneeling Before Arch with Skulls” (1934–38).

Jackson Pollock, “Figure Kneeling Before Arch with Skulls” (ca 1934–38) (© Pollock-Krasner Foundation / Artists Rights Society, ARS, New York)


Patrick Sears, the executive director of the Rubin Museum of Art, will retire from his position by the end of the year.

Richard Parry was appointed director of Glasgow International. The eighth edition of the biennial is scheduled to open on April 20, 2018.

Anita Dube was appointed curator of the fourth edition of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale.

The Cincinnati Art Museum announced three new appointments: Ainsley M. Cameron as curator of South Asian Art, Islamic Art, and antiquities; Peter Jonathan Bell as associate curator of European paintings, sculpture and drawings; and Nathaniel M. Stein as associate curator of photography.

Victoria Miro gallery will open a new space in Venice next month.

Lorna Simpson is now represented by Hauser & Wirth.

The inaugural edition of the Riga International Biennial of Contemporary Art (RIBOCA) will launch in Latvia in June 2018.

The Spring/Break art fair will host its first edition in Brooklyn between May 6–14.


Todd Eberle, “Julius Shulman at the Kaufman House, Palm Springs, CA July 2003” (2003) (© Todd Eberle)

Todd Eberle was awarded the JSI Excellence in Photography Award.

Liz Lerman was awarded the 2017 Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award.

Okwui Enwezor was awarded the 2017 International Folkwang Prize.

John Pawson and Hiroshi Senju were awarded the 2017 Isamu Noguchi Award [via email announcement].

Andrew Boatright was awarded the 2017–18 Forward Arts Foundation Emerging Artist Award.

Wang Bing was awarded the 2017 EYE Art & Film Prize.

A.I.R. Gallery announced the recipients of its 2017–18 fellowships: Karen Leo, Megan Pahmier, Daniela Puliti, Aya Rodriguez-Izumi, Constance Tenvik, and Caroline Wayne.

The Art Fund announced the recipients of its New Collecting Awards.

Lynn Nottage, Peggy Cooper Cafvitz, Ida Applebroog, and Christopher d’Amboise were inducted into the New York Foundation for the Arts’s hall of fame.


The City of New York launched an open call to commission a city-funded art project on climate change in Red Hook, Brooklyn.

Sky Arts launched a £1 million (~$1.25 million) fund to commission 50 art projects that explore Brexit and British identity. The closing date for the next commissioning round is May 15.

Two Trees is now accepting applications for its 2018 Cultural Space Subsidy program.


James Rosenquist, “F-111” (detail) (1964-65), oil on canvas with aluminum, 23 sections 10 x 86 in, Museum of Modern Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Alex L. Hillman and Lillie P. Bliss Bequest (both by exchange) (© 2016 James Rosenquist/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY)

Gary Austin (1941–2017), founder and artistic director of the Groundlings theater company.

Gilbert Baker (1951–2017), gay activist. Creator of the rainbow flag.

Michael Beckham (1938–2017), film producer and director. Best known for World in Action.

Roanne Dods (unconfirmed–2017), founding director of the Jerwood Charitable Foundation.

Roy Fisher (1930–2017), poet.

Paula Fox (1923–2017), writer and children’s author.

Joe Harris (1928–2017), illustrator. Creator of Underdog and the Trix cereal rabbit.

Darcus Howe (1943–2017), writer and activist.

Ikutaro Kakehashi (1930–2017), engineer. Creator of the Roland TR-868 drum machine.

Radley Metzger (1929–2017), filmmaker.

James Rosenquist (1933–2017), artist.

Ronald G. Witt (1932–2017), Renaissance historian.

Yevgeny Yevtushenko (1932–2017), writer and poet. Best known for his poem “Babi Yar” (1961).

Jack Ziegler (1942–2017), cartoonist for The New Yorker.

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