Art Movements

This week in art news: the Met files to charge out-of-state visitors, a new Banksy mural comments on Brexit, the Tiananmen Square Museum will reopen, and Pepe the Frog gets laid to rest.

A new mural by Banksy in Dover (via

Art Movements is a weekly collection of news, developments, and stirrings in the art world. Subscribe to receive these posts as a weekly newsletter.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art filed a formal proposal with the City of New York to charge admission to out-of-state visitors.

Russian dissident artist Pyotr Pavlensky and his partner, Oksana Shalygina, were granted political asylum in France. The pair fled Russia after an actress accused them of sexual assault, a charge they claim is politically motivated.

A new large-scale mural by Banksy appeared overnight in Dover. The work depicts a metalworker chipping away at one of the stars of the EU flag. The work was vandalized 24 hours after it first appeared.

The June 4th Museum, the only museum dedicated to the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, will reopen in a temporary space. The institution was forced to close last year after facing a lawsuit regarding building permits. Albert Ho, the chairman of the Hong Kong Alliance, which runs the museum, said he believed the lawsuit was politically motivated.

The Portland Art Museum raised $27 million for an expansion project without acquiring legal permission for the requisite construction. “It’s a pretty big error in judgment,” planning consultant Peter Finley Fry told the Willamette Week. “Control of the site is the most important critical first step. If you’re going to spend millions, you [must] control the property legally before you start.”

A report by Cartooning for Peace condemned 10 countries — including Russia, Turkey, and India — for threatening, censoring, and imprisoning cartoonists.

Artist Matt Furie, the creator of Pepe the Frog, symbolically killed off the character after conceding it had been co-opted by the so-called “alt-right.” In September 2016, the Clinton campaign took the unprecedented step of publishing an explainer on the use of the character as a racist meme by white supremacist groups.

The death of Pepe the Frog (via

Artist Victor Ehikhamenor accused Damien Hirst of appropriating Nigerian history by failing to provide context for a new work directly inspired by the “Ife Head,” a renowned, centuries-old Nigerian sculpture that was discovered in 1938. In a statement, Hirst’s office said that the “Ife Head” was referred to in an accompanying text and that his latest series “celebrate[s] original and important artworks from the past.”

The Delaware Art Museum placed images of over 500 items from its collection online. Highlights include photographs of John Sloan in his studio and the letters of Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood painter Dante Gabriel Rossetti.

Sotheby’s launched an annual $250,000 prize to fund “ground-breaking, thought-provoking exhibitions and curatorial initiatives” at museums. The inaugural jury includes Sir Nicholas Serota, Connie Butler, Okwui Enwezor, and Donna de Salvo. The prize is intended to counter the prevalence of single-artist retrospectives and blockbuster shows.

The Louvre Abu Dhabi is projected to open in November, according to a report by The Art Newspaper.

Artist and Oscar-winning filmmaker Steve McQueen is set to direct an authorized, full-length documentary on rapper Tupac Shakur, according to Deadline.

Roger Waters expressed his approval of New World Design Ltd’s proposal to obscure the façade of Chicago’s Trump Tower with a row of golden balloon pigs. The proposed one-time art project is directly inspired by Pink Floyd’s 1977 album Animals.


Bruce Nauman, “Walks In Walks Out” (2015), video still (© Bruce Nauman/Artists Right Society [ARS])
The Pinault Collection and the Philadelphia Museum of Art jointly acquired two of Bruce Nauman’s recent video works, “Contrapposto Studies, I through VII” (2015–16) and “Walks In Walks Out” (2015).

Real estate mogul and art collector Bob Rennie donated over 197 artworks to the National Gallery of Canada. The gift, which is reported to be worth over CAD 12 million, includes works by Rodney Graham, Brian Jungen, Ian Wallace, Geoffrey Farmer, and Doris Salcedo.

The Harvard Art Museums acquired 443 printer’s proof photographs from Gary Schneider and John Erdman.

The Tate acquired William Stott of Oldham’s “Le Passeur (The Ferryman)” (1881) for £1.5 million.

Installation view of William Stott of Oldham’s “Le Passeur (The Ferryman)” (1881), Tate Britain, purchased with funds provided by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Art Fund (with a contribution from the Wolfson Foundation) and the Hintze Family Charitable Foundation 2016 (© Tate Photography)


Thomas W. Gaehtgens will step down as the director of the Getty Research Institute in spring 2018.

Tamara Winikoff will step down as executive director of Australia’s National Association for the Visual Arts.

John Davis was appointed provost and under secretary for museums and research at the Smithsonian Institution.

Damian Woetzel was appointed president of the Juilliard School.

Cécile Debray was appointed director of the Musée de l’Orangerie.

Jo-Anne Birnie Danzker was appointed CEO and director of the 2018 Biennale of Sydney.

Dina Deitsch was appointed director and chief curator of Tufts University’s art collections and galleries.

William Allman, the White House curator, will retire on June 1, after 40 years of service.

The Andy Warhol Museum announced three promotions: José Carlos Diaz, Jessica Beck, and Danielle Linzer were promoted to the roles of chief curator, curator of art, and director of learning and public engagement, respectively.

Kevin W. Tucker was appointed chief curator of the High Museum of Art.

Megan Fox Kelly was appointed president of the Association of Professional Art Advisors.

The New Museum promoted Margot Norton from associate curator to curator.

Tina Rivers Ryan was appointed assistant curator at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery.

Sung-Hee Kim was appointed head of press and public relations, US, at Bonhams.


William Kentridge, “Triumph and Laments” (2016), Rome, Italy (photo courtesy Alice Marinelli)

William Kentridge received the 2017 Princess of Asturias Award for the Arts.

Richard Mosse was awarded the 2017 Prix Pictet Prize.

The Carl and Marilynn Thoma Art Foundation awarded a total of $60,000 to Ed Halter and Rudolf Frieling for their writing and scholarship in the field of digital arts.

The Shandaken Project awarded 19 artists with residencies at Storm King Art Center.


Richard Basciano (1925–2017), Times Square pornography magnate.

William Hjortsberg (1941–2017), novelist and screenwriter, best known for Falling Angel (1978).

Nona Liddell (1927–2017), violinist, member of the London Sinfonietta.

Mario Maglieri (1924–2017), owner of the Whisky a Go Go and the Rainbow Bar & Grill.

Stephen McKenna (1939–2017), painter.

Anne Morrissy Merick (1933–2017), journalist and television field producer, persuaded the Pentagon to reverse an order preventing women from covering combat in the Vietnam War.

John Morton (1919–2017), architect and designer, co-owner of Lupton Morton.

Peter Spier (1927–2017), children’s-book author and illustrator.

Hugh Swynnerton Thomas, Lord Thomas of Swynnerton (1931–2017), historian, chairman of the Center for Policy Studies and associate of Margaret Thatcher.

Jack Tilton (1951–2017), gallerist.

Michael Zwack (1949–2017), artist, member of the Pictures Generation.

Michael Zwack, “Untitled (Soldiers)” (1976), concrete and plastic, 2 13/16 x 2 1/16 x 2 1/16 inches
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