Art Movements

This week in art news: Israeli authorities arrested five Palestinian art dealers suspected of selling looted antiquities to Hobby Lobby, six South Korean officials received prison sentences for blacklisting artists, and North Korea reportedly moved closer to completing Pyongyang’s “Hotel of Doom.”

Roger Fenton, “Photographic Van” (1855), albumen print, 17.4 x 15.9 cm (courtesy Royal Collection Trust, © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017)

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

Israeli authorities arrested five Palestinian antiquities dealers in Jerusalem and confiscated a number of items, including a papyrus fragment from the Egyptian Book of the Dead, a fresco from Pompeii, two luxury Audi vehicles, and over $200,000 in cash. According to NPR, Israel’s Antiquities Authority claim that the five dealers were involved in the sale of looted antiquities to Hobby Lobby.

Six former government officials in South Korea received prison sentences for blacklisting thousands of artists and cultural figures from government-controlled cultural programs. The scandal contributed toward the impeachment of president Park Geun-hye in December.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art returned two looted antiquities; a 4th-century BCE terracotta vase and a 5th-century BCE marble sculpture of a bull’s head.

Syrian-Palestinian web developer and cyberactivist Bassel Khartabil was executed by the Syrian government in 2015, according to an announcement by his wife Noura Ghazi Safadi. Khartabil, a Creative Commons advocate, also founded #NEWPALMYRA, a community driven project dedicated to the “reconstruction of Palmyra in virtual space.”

Shadows of War: Roger Fenton’s Photographs of the Crimea 1855 — the first exhibition of the Victorian photographer’s work in Scotland since 1856 — opened at the at Queen’s Gallery at the Palace of Holyroodhouse. Fenton’s images of the Crimean War were the first war photographs to be widely reproduced and viewed by the British public. According to the Guardian, the show includes multimedia contributions by Prince Harry.

Archaeologists in the city of Vienne in southern France have discovered a 75,000-square-foot Roman neighborhood dating from the first century CE.

The Artist Pension Trust revealed plans to charge a monthly storage fee for artists, prompting many of its members to launch an online campaign group opposing the fees.

Thomas Gainsborough, “The Blue Boy” (ca. 1770), oil on canvas, 70 5/8 x 48 3/4 inches, The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens (via Wikipedia)

The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens announced that Thomas Gainsborough’s “The Blue Boy” (1770) will undergo its first major conservation treatment. The final phase of the project will take place in full public view as part of an exhibition entitled Project Blue Boy.

Russian foreign ministry officials threatened Poland with sanctions after the country updated its “de-communisation” legislation. The policy calls for the ban of all totalitarian symbols, including Soviet monuments.

A 67-year-old woman was arrested in Mallorca for stealing a Jean-Michel Basquiat painting from a collector in Alcúdia.

Recent activity suggests that North Korea may finally complete the Ryugyong Hotel, currently the world’s tallest unoccupied structure. Dubbed by Western media as the “Hotel of Doom,” the 105-storey pyramid has been under construction since 1987.

The Canadian Cultural Property Export Review Board declined to certify a gift of Annie Leibovitz photographs donated to the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia in 2013. The Toronto-based Mintz family purchased the collection of 2,070 photographs for $4.75 million. The gift was described as a “tax grab” by an advisor appointed to review the donation, after it was appraised with a total value of $20 million — a figure four times the collection’s purchase price.

A group of Aboriginal rangers discovered thousands of pieces of rock art while conducting dry-season burn-offs in Australia’s West Arnhem region.


Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla, “Petrified Petrol Pump (Pemex II)” (2011), black lava and travertine stone, 254 x 203.2 x 203.2 cm (courtesy the artist and kurimanzutto, Mexico City)

The Bass acquired Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla’s “Petrified Petrol Pump (Pemex II)” (2011).

The National Endowment for the Humanities announced $39.3 million in grants for 245 projects across the US — the final round of grants for fiscal year 2017.

The Graham Foundation awarded over $400,000 in grants to 41 architectural projects.

The National Museum of American Jewish History acquired a collection of sculptures from Phillip Ratner’s Ellis Island Immigrants series.

The New-York Historical Society acquired Barney Tobey’s original illustrations for Chitty Chitty Bang Bang! The Magical Car (1968).

As part of its “Keeping It Modern” initiative, the Getty Foundation awarded $1.66 million in architectural preservation grants to 12 buildings from the 20th century, including the Bauhaus Building in Dessau and the Price Tower, Frank Lloyd Wright’s only skyscraper.

The Arthayer R. Sanborn Hopper Collection Trust donated a collection of Edward Hopper archive material to the Whitney Museum of American Art.

Edward Hopper’s “Notes on Painting” notebook (cover) (ca 1940–50), the Sanborn Hopper Archive at the Whitney Museum of American Art, Frances Mulhall Achilles Library, Gift of The Arthayer R. Sanborn Hopper Collection Trust


May Calil, Chris Evans, Jonathan Falkingham, Sandeep Parmar and Anna Valle were appointed to the Liverpool Biennial‘s board of trustees.

Vicki Coltman, Sarah Davies, and Fiona Jose were appointed to the National Museum of Australia’s governing council.

Bill Sherman was appointed director of the Warburg Institute.

Nadine Wietlisbach was appointed director of the Fotomuseum Winterthur.

Dennis Scholl was appointed president and chief executive of the nonprofit ArtCenter/South Florida.

Della Watkins was appointed executive director of the Columbia Museum of Art.

Dale Dobson was appointed interim executive director of the Maysles Documentary Center [via email announcement].

David Galligan will step down as deputy director and COO of the Walker Art Center in September.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art announced five new senior staff appointments.

Keith L. Prewitt, the former deputy director of the United States Secret Service, was appointed chief security officer of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Linda Butler was appointed director of marketing, communications, and visitor experience at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

Michelle Elligott was appointed chief of archives, library, and research collections at the Museum of Modern Art.

Theodore Ward Barrow was appointed assistant curator at the Hudson River Museum.

ProjectArt appointed Chana Budgazad Sheldon as director for Miami and national program advisor.

Javier Pes will step down as editor of The Art Newspaper in the fall.

Phillips promoted Kaeli Deane to vice president and head of department, Americas, for Latin American Art [via email announcement].

The first International Biennial of Contemporary Art of South America (BienalSur), will launch across 30 cities next month.

New York’s Marinaro Gallery will relocate to Chinatown in September.

The Postal Museum opened in London.


Mitch Cairns received the 2017 Archibald Prize.

The Asia Art Archive awarded Robert HN Ho Family Foundation Greater China Research Grants to Belinda Qian, Duan Ziying, and Liu Nanxi.

National Geographic announced the winners of Travel Photographer of the Year.


Rhizome is currently accepting applications for its 2017 Microgrants. The program is “for the creation of new artworks, online exhibitions, and other web-based projects.”


A photograph of Twiggy by Gösta Peterson. The image appeared in The Times Magazine on April 16, 1967. (courtesy TURN Gallery)

Bill Collings (1948–2017), guitar maker.

Pamela Engel (1934–2017), film distributor. Co-owner of Artificial Eye.

June Foray (1917–2017), voice actor. Best known as Rocky in The Bullwinkle Show.

Geoffrey Godbert (1937–2017), poet and editor. Co-founder of the Greville Press.

Igor Golomstock (1929–2017), art historian and writer. Best known for Totalitarian Art (1990).

Ian Graham (1923–2017), epigraphist.

Judith Jones (1924–2017), editor.

Ebony McKinney (unconfirmed–2017), arts advocate. Helped spearhead Emerging Arts Professionals/San Francisco Bay Area (EAP/SFBA) and Arts for a Better Bay Area (ABBA).

DL Menard (1932–2017), country singer and songwriter.

Jeanne Moreau (1928–2017), actor. Best known for her role in Jules et Jim (1962).

John G. Morris (1916–2017), photo editor.

Gösta Peterson (1923–2017), fashion photographer.

Concetto Pozzati (1935–2017), painter and former cultural advisor to the city of Bologna.

Sam Shepard (1943–2017), playwright and actor. Best known for Curse of the Starving Class (1977) and Buried Child (1979).

Harold M. Williams (1928–2017), founding president and CEO of the J. Paul Getty Trust.

Mark Wohlwender (unconfirmed–2017), photographer and picture editor.

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