Art Movements

This week in art news: Iraqi troops recaptured the ancient city of Hatra from ISIS, President Trump ordered a review of national monument designations, and a set of uncanny sleeping masks won the Rijksmuseum’s design contest.

Lesha Limonov, “Masterpieces never sleep” (courtesy Rijksmuseum)

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

Iraqi troops recaptured the ancient city of Hatra. Much of the city is believed to have been destroyed and ransacked by ISIS.

President Trump signed an executive order instructing Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to review national monument designations from 1996 onwards, sparking concerns that the administration will attempt to repeal existing monuments.

Lesha Limonov received the 2017 Rijksstudio Award — the Rijksmuseum’s international design award — for a series of sleeping masks inspired by Johannes Cornelisz Verspronck’s “Portrait of a Girl Dressed in Blue” (1641). Esther Pi and Timo Waag’s “Eden Condoms” and Jessie Hall’s “Plant Study Hats” won second and third place, respectively.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is reportedly in talks with New York City’s municipal government over the possibility of charging a fixed entry fee to visitors from outside the city.

The city of New Orleans removed the first of four Confederate monuments slated for relocation.

Austrian auctioneers Im Kinsky pulled a Nazi-looted 17th-century portrait from auction hours before it was due to be sold after receiving a slew of complaints and “anonymous threats.” The heirs of Jewish-German industrialist and art collector Adolphe Schloss expressed outrage over the planned sale of Bartholomeus van der Helst’s “Portrait of a Man” (1647). The work was looted from the Schloss family in 1943 and was chosen for inclusion in Adolf Hitler’s planned Führermuseum in Linz. The auction house initially defended the planned sale after claiming it had the right to sell the work under Austrian law.

A notice put up in staff rooms at both Tate Modern and Tate Britain asking staff to contribute funds toward a sailing boat for outgoing director Nicholas Serota was removed following intense criticism by staff. The notice asked employees to chip in for the “surprise gift” for Serota. Tracy Edwards, the PCS Union representative for Tate staff, told the Guardian that she initially thought the notice was a spoof. “The staff at Tate are underpaid paid and overworked, and haven’t had appropriate pay rises,” she added, “and this just demonstrates how divorced from reality the management at Tate are.”

(via Twitter/@BLMaps)

Staff at the British Library digitized The Klencke Atlas (1660) — one of the world’s largest atlases.

An IT manager at the American Museum of Natural History filed a lawsuit against the museum. Peter Bryan Torres alleges that his supervisor, museum CIO Juan Montes, began a discriminatory campaign against him after learning about his HIV-positive status.

Sotheby’s will hold its inaugural sale of modern and contemporary African art on May 16.

Sky News named arts publicist Erica Bolton as one of a number of UK company directors potentially facing a directorship ban by the Insolvency Service. Bolton was a trustee of Kids Company, a high-profile charity that was closed amid accusations of financial and operational mismanagement.

Historic England launched a crowdfunding campaign to restore Peter Laszlo Peri‘s sculpture, “The Sunbathers.” The work was displayed at the 1951 Festival of Britain.

US Assemblyman Matthew Harper (R-Huntington Beach) authored A.B. 629, a bill that would allow art gallery owners throughout the state of California to serve beer and wine without a license from the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.

Instagram removed two black-and-white nude photographs by Imogen Cunningham posted by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Dutch architecture firm Attika Architekten installed emoji roundels on the facade of a new building in the city of Amersfoort.


View of Marisol’s New York studio (courtesy of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery Digital Assets Collection, Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York; © Estate of Marisol, photo by Jason Mandella)

The Albright-Knox Art Gallery announced that Marisol Escobar (1930–2016) bequeathed her entire estate to the museum. The gift includes over 100 sculptures and 150 works on paper, thousands of photographs, the artist’s library and archive, and her Tribeca home and studio.

The High Museum of Art received 54 works from the Souls Grown Deep Foundation, including pieces by Thornton Dial, Joe Light, Mary T. Smith, and 11 quilts created by the women of Gee’s Bend, Alabama.

The Arts Council Collection announced its 2016–2017 acquisitions.

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art announced nine new acquisitions, including works by Vera Lutter and Sonia Delaunay.

Beatrice Welles, the daughter of Orson Welles, donated over “21 linear feet” of her father’s archive to the University of Michigan.

Chubb Insurance donated $15,000 to the Norman Rockwell Museum. The sum is equal to the claims payment made by the company to the owners of a recently recovered Rockwell painting.

Edward S. Curtis’s platinum print “Red Cloud, Oglala” (1905) sold at Swann Auction Galleries for $32,500 — a record for the work.

Edward S. Curtis, “Red Cloud Oglala” (1905), platinum print (courtesy Swann Auction Galleries)


Lauren Cornell was appointed director of the graduate program, CCS Bard, and chief curator of the Hessel Museum of Art.

Esther McGowan will succeed Nelson Santos as executive director of Visual AIDS.

Claire Doherty was appointed director of Arnolfini.

Michelle Hargrave was appointed deputy director of the New Britain Museum of American Art.

Andrés Úbeda de los Cobos was appointed deputy director of conservation and research at the Museo del Prado.

Lindsay Pollock stepped down as editor-in-chief of Art in America.

Ceysson & Bénétière will open a space at 956 Madison Avenue next month.

Venture capitalist Jean Pigozzi announced plans to create a foundation and space for his collection of contemporary African art.

The Luxelakes A4 Art Museum opened its new venue.

Brothers Maurice and Paul Marciano converted a former Masonic temple in Los Angeles into a space for their contemporary art collection.


Cyrus Tilton, “Individuals” (2011), motorized steel and bamboo mechanism, muslin, steel wire, glue, tulle (courtesy Crocker Art Museum)

The Crocker Art Museum awarded its inaugural John S. Knudsen Prize to Cyrus Tilton (1977–2017). The sculptor passed away in March 28 after a year-long battle with esophageal cancer.

Do Ho Suh was awarded the 2017 Ho-Am Prize for the arts.

Otobong Nkanga was awarded the 2017 BelgianArtPrize.

Mika Tajima and Patricia Treib were named the winners of the 2017 New York Artadia Awards.

The American Academy in Rome announced its 2017–18 Rome Prize winners.

The Dallas Museum of Art announced the recipients of its 2017 artist awards — the Clare Hart DeGolyer Memorial Fund Award, the Arch and Anne Giles Kimbrough Fund Award, and the Otis and Velma Davis Dozier Travel Grant.

The Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts announced the finalists of the 2017 Walter and Janet Sondheim Prize.


Magdalena Abakanowicz, “Embryology” (1978–80), burlap, cotton gauze, hemp rope, nylon and sisal (via Flickr/Wolf Gang)

Magdalena Abakanowicz (1930–2017), sculptor.

Yüksel Arslan (1933–2017), artist.

Joan Baker (1922–2017), painter.

Jonathan Demme (1944–2017), film director and screenwriter. Best known for The Silence of the Lambs (1991).

Cuba Gooding Sr. (1944–2017), soul singer. Father of actor Cuba Gooding Jr.

Padraig Mac Miadhachain (1929–2017), painter.

Robert Pirsig (1928–2017), writer. Best known for Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (1974).

Gina Pollinger (1935–2017), editor and literary agent.

Philip Reeves (1931–2017), artist.

Issa Samb (1945–2017), artist and co-founder of Laboratoire Agit’Art.

Elizabeth Sargent (1920–2017), poet. Last tenant of Carnegie Hall.

Rebecca Swift (1964–2017), writer and co-founder of The Literary Consultancy.

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