Art Movements

This week in art news: A group of artists and activists demanded the closure of the ICA Boston’s Dana Schutz exhibition, an Andy Warhol painting owned by Alice Cooper was rediscovered in a storage locker, and arts writers and cultural figures accused The Village Voice’s owner of weakening its union.

Norman Rockwell, “Shuffleton’s Barbershop” (1950). The painting is one of two Rockwell’s owned by the Berkshire Museum (image 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.

According to Le Monde, authorities are investigating three individuals following the abrupt closure of the Amedeo Modigliani exhibition at the Doge’s Palace in Genoa. Twenty-one works, all considered likely forgeries, were confiscated by authorities last week after art critic and collector Carlo Pepi filed a formal complaint with the Carabinieri art fraud unit. Those under investigation include curator Rudy Chiappini, Massimo Vitta Zelman (president of Mondo Mostre Skira, the organizer of the exhibition), and art dealer Joseph Guttmann.

In a joint statement, the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) and the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD) criticized the Berkshire Museum’s decision to auction 40 works of art from its collection, including two paintings by Norman Rockwell. “Actions such as those being proposed by the Berkshire Museum undermine the public’s trust in the mission of nonprofit museums,” the statement reads, “and museums’ ability to collect, teach, study, and preserve works for their communities now and into the future.” The museum — a member of the AAM — plans to deaccession the works to fund a $40m endowment and $20m refurbishment rather than fund future acquisitions — a direct violation of the AAM’s code of ethics.

A number of arts journalists, writers, and cultural figures signed an open letter to Peter Barbey, the billionaire owner of The Village Voice, accusing him of attempting to weaken the paper’s historic union. Barbey’s management team have purportedly sought to eliminate the paper’s diversity and affirmative-action commitments, reduce the amount of leave for new parents, and terminate the union’s ability to negotiate over healthcare. Signatories of the open letter include Hilton Als, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Jerry Saltz, Peter Schjeldahl, and Amy Taubin.

A group of local artists and activists published an open letter to the ICA Boston requesting that the museum pull its Dana Schutz exhibition.

Architect Shigeru Ban signed an agreement with the United Nations to design 20,000 new homes for refugees at Kenya’s Kalobeyei Refugee Settlement.

Vogue commissioned Elizabeth Peyton to paint a portrait of Angela Merkel. The work appears as part of a profile on the German Chancellor.

Alan Boyson, “Three Ships” (early 1960s), Hull, England (via Flickr/El Toñio)

According to the Hull Daily Mail, a request has been submitted to review the decision not to include Alan Boyson‘s “Three Ships” (aka the Co-Op Mosaic) to the UK’s national register of historic listed sites. The mosaic, which contains over one million cubes of colored Italian glass, is thought to be the largest of its kind in the country.

Germany’s State Paintings Collection agreed to retain a Renaissance painting from its holdings by purchasing it from the heirs of its Jewish owner. The work was looted by the Nazis and was later acquired by Hermann Goering.

Brothers Irving and Samuel Morano, the owners of Metropolitan Fine Arts and Antiques, pled guilty to illegally selling and offering to sell over $4.5 million in ivory. According to Cyrus R. Vance Jr., the Manhattan district attorney, the ivory recovered from the Morano’s store was the largest seizure of illegal elephant ivory in New York State history.

An Andy Warhol painting owned by rock star Alice Cooper was rediscovered in a storage locker where it lay forgotten for over 40 years. Cooper’s ex-girlfriend, Cindy Lang, gave Warhol $2,500 for the work — a red silkscreen of “Little Electric Chair” (1964) — in 1972. The painting, which is unsigned, has never been stretched on a frame.

Author Richard Polsky published an unofficial “addendum” to the Andy Warhol Catalogue Raisonné. According to an announcement, the addendum will focus “on genuine paintings that, for various reasons, were not included in the official Andy Warhol Catalogue Raisonné.” The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts ceased to authenticate artworks in 2011 after a number of protracted legal battles with collectors who fought against the foundation’s rulings on the provenance and authenticity of their works.

Cady Noland filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against art dealers Chris D’Amelio and Michael Janssen, collector Wilhelm Schurmann, and Berlin’s KOW Gallery. Noland claims that the group is responsible for a “forgery” of her sculpture “Log Cabin Blank with Screw Eyes and Café Door (Memorial to John Caldwell)” (1990). Noland disowned the work in 2014 after claiming that she was not consulted about its restoration. Her suit describes the work as a “reproduction,” arguing that the restoration process effectively destroyed the work’s original state.

Sydney’s Sirius building, widely considered an outstanding example of Brutalist architecture, was spared from impending demolition after a judge ruled that the former heritage minister Mark Speakman made legal errors when he decided not to include the structure on the State Heritage Register. Campaign group Save Our Sirius have fought against plans to replace the building with a new housing complex for well over a year.

Sirius building, Sydney, Australia (via Flickr/coffee shop soulja)

Paula Pape, the daughter of artist Lygia Pape, filed a lawsuit against LG Electronics, alleging that a cellphone wallpaper created by the company is an “unauthorized derivation” of her mother’s 2003 installation “Ttéia.”

Ken Simons, Tate Liverpool’s art handling manager, will curate a show of work drawn from the museum’s collection prior to his retirement. The exhibition, Ken’s Show: Exploring the Unseen, is slated to open at the museum on April 2, 2018.

Microsoft made MS Paint available as a free app following reports that the program would be discontinued in Windows 10.

The National Museum of American History digitized 80 of Crocket Johnson’s Mathematical paintings.

The British Museum published the first 3D model of the Rosetta Stone.

The British Museum‘s annual accounts revealed that it lost a £750,000 (~$979,939) Cartier ring in 2011.


Marcel Sternberger, Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, 1952, Mexico City (image date 1952, print date 2017), silver gelatin print, gift of Robert and Malena Puterbaugh in memory of Anne Tucker, recipient of the 2008 Harrison-Hooks Lifetime Achievement Award, Polk Museum of Art

Robert and Malena Puterbaugh donated a Marcel Sternberger photograph of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera to the Polk Museum of Art.

Telfair Museums acquired a Nick Cave soundsuit for its permanent collection.

Jack and Sandra Guthman donated 50 photographs by contemporary women photographers to the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.

The South Street Seaport Museum received a $200,000 Maritime Heritage Grant from the National Park Service. The grant will be used to fund the restoration of the 1930 Tugboat W.O. Decker, the last surviving New York-built wooden tugboat.

The Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation awarded a $100,000 grant to the Parrish Art Museum [via email announcement].

The Getty Museum announced a major acquisition of drawings, including works by Michelangelo, del Sarto, Parmigianino, Rubens, Goya, and Degas.

The San Antonio Museum of Art acquired 31 photographic portraits from Timothy Greenfield-Sanders’s Latino List series.

The Nationalmuseum acquired two Italian scenes by Martinus Rørbye (1803–1848) and Constantin Hansen (1804–1880).

Constantin Hansen, “The Temple of Minerva at the Forum Nervae” (c. 1840) (courtesy Nationalmuseum)


Janice Monger was appointed president and CEO of the Staten Island Museum.

Christina Olsen was appointed director of the University of Michigan Museum of Art.

Amy Gilman was appointed director of the Chazen Museum of Art.

Philippe de Montebello, the former director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, was appointed director of Acquavella Galleries in New York.

Neil MacGregor extended his contract as director of the Humboldt Forum.

Sheikh Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi was appointed to the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago’s board of trustees.

Barry Till, the curator of Asian art at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, will retire at the end of September.

Katherine Brinson was appointed curator of contemporary art at the Guggenheim Museum.

Amanda Donnan was appointed curator of the Frye Art Museum.

Rhiannon Paget was appointed curator of Asian art at the John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art.

Karen Lautanen was appointed director of strategic initiatives at the Andy Warhol Museum.

Christopher Turner was appointed keeper of design, architecture, and digital (DAD) at the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Ashley Clark was appointed senior programmer of cinema at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

Laura Paulson was appointed vice chair of Christie’s Americas advisory board.


Peter Smeeth, “Lisa Wilkinson AM” (2017), oil on linen, 100 x 150 cm (© the artist, photo by Felicity Jenkins, AGNSW)

The Art Gallery of New South Wales awarded its 2017 Packing Room Prize to Peter Smeeth.

The City of Houston awarded total of $3,463,217 in arts grants for the programming and activities between July 2017 and June 2018.

Merion Estes and Mario Martinez received the New York Foundation for the Arts’ 2017 Murray Reich Distinguished Artist Award.

Sam Durant was awarded the Rappaport Prize.

Jade Powers was appointed the Saint Louis Art Museum’s 2017–2018 Romare Bearden Graduate Minority Fellow.

Galit Eilat was appointed the 2017–18 recipient of the Keith Haring Fellowship in Art and Activism.

Pat Brassington was awarded the inaugural Don Macfarlane Prize.

The recipients of the 2017 Eisner Awards were announced.

Thomas P. Campbell was awarded the Getty Rothschild Fellowship, a scholarship that provides housing and resources to one scholar per year.


David Newell-Smith, a crush of commuters at Charing Cross railway station, London (c. 1965) (courtesy Tadema Gallery, London)

Dina Bangdel (1963–2017), art historian. Specialist in South Asian, Indian, and Himalayan arts.

Keith Bard (1923–2017), linguist and educator. Argued against the use of ‘negro’ in favor of ‘Afro-American.’

Chester Bennington (1976–2017), lead singer of Linkin Park.

Nathan David (unconfirmed–2017), sculptor.

Thomas Fleming (1927–2017), historian.

Sam Glanzman (1924–2017), comic-book artist and writer.

Kenneth Jay Lane (1932–2017), jewelry designer.

Robert Loder (1934–2017), collector, philanthropist, and cofounder of the Triangle Network.

Kitty Lux (1957–2017), musician. Co-founder of the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain.

Denis Mack Smith (1920–2017), historian of modern Italy.

David Newell-Smith (1937–2017), photographer.

Clancy Sigal (1926–2017), writer and activist. Included on the Hollywood Blacklist.

Dr G Yunupingu (1971–2017), singer and guitarist.

Correction: A previous version of this article stated that the Berkshire Museum is an accredited member of the AAM. This is incorrect; the museum is a member but does not have accredited status. This has been amended. 

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