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Art Movements

This week in art news: Charlottesville shrouded its Confederate monuments while other US cities removed theirs, the Village Voice revealed it will cease its print edition, and a museumgoer left a trail of blue footprints after stepping on an Yves Klein.

Arthur Szyk, “Murder Incorporated: Hirohito, Hitlerhito, Benito” (December 1941), watercolor and gouache on paper, Harlan Crow Library, Dallas, Texas (courtesy New-York Historical Society)

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

Charlottesville’s city council voted to shroud its statues of Confederate Generals Robert E. Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson in black fabric following the murder of anti-fascist campaigner Heather Heyer at the Unite the Right rally. Confederate memorials were recently removed from the University of Texas, Woodlawn Cemetery at West Palm Beach, a public park in Helena, Montana, and various locations throughout New York City. The Beauvoir, the Jefferson Davis Home and Presidential Library, announced its willingness to take any Confederate memorials removed by “any city or jurisdiction” across the US.

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump declined to attend the upcoming annual Kennedy Center Honors in “order to allow the honorees to celebrate without any political distraction,” according to a press statement from the White House. Honorees Carmen de Lavallade and Norman Lear both stated that they planned to boycott the event.

Lonnie G. Bunch III, the founding director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, published a statement in the wake of the deadly clashes at Charlottesville, reiterating the museum’s mission “of bringing history — with all of its pain and its promise — front and center.” “It is not surprising … to find that the dedication of Confederate monuments spiked in two distinct time periods,” Bunch’s statement reads. “The first encompassed the years when states were passing Jim Crow laws disenfranchising African Americans and the second corresponds to the modern civil rights movement. These monuments are symbols that tell us less about the actual Civil War but more about the uncivil peace that followed.”

All 17 private members of the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities resigned, condemning Trump’s “support of the hate groups and terrorists who killed and injured fellow Americans in Charlottesville.”

The Village Voice announced that it will end its print publication.

The New-York Historical Society announced an exhibition of over 40 works by illustrator and miniaturist Arthur Szyk (1894–1951). The Polish-Jewish artist is best known for his caricatures of the Nazis and the other Axis power leaders, many of which were commissioned as posters and pamphlets during World War II.

A visitor stepped on a horizontal pigment sculpture by Yves Klein at Theatre of the Void, an exhibition of the artist’s work at the BOZAR/Centre for Fine Arts, Belgium. A similar incident took place at Nice’s Musée d’art moderne et d’art contemporain in April.

(via Twitter/@Bromtommig)

Islamic extremist Ahmad al-Faqi al-Mahdi was held liable for €2.7 million (~$3.2 million) in damages by the International Criminal Court for the destruction of nine centuries-old mausoleums and the Sidi Yahia mosque in Timbuktu — the first such ruling by the court for an act of cultural destruction.

Kassel city councilman Thomas Materner, a member of the far-right party AfD (Alternative für Deutschland), threatened to organize protests should the city acquire Olu Oguibe’s Documenta 14 art work, “Das Fremdlinge und Flüchtlinge” (“Monument for Strangers and Refugees”), an obelisk dedicated to refugees. Materner described the sculpture as “degenerate art,” a term used by the Nazis to characterize modernist art.

Cambridge University Press came under intense criticism for complying with a request from China to block access to over 300 articles from The China Quarterly. Access to the articles has since been reinstated according to an announcement by the Quarterly‘s editor, Tim Pringle.

Over 40 Portuguese photographers pledged to reject exhibition opportunities or funding from the Israeli state until the country “complies with international law and respects the human rights of Palestinians.”

The International Foundation for Art Research identified four fake Jackson Pollock paintings, each of which was attributed to the collection of the likely fictitious James Brennerman — an “insane recluse” who supposedly gave his collection away to his servants.

Richard Pearson, a con artist who forged works in the style of Norman Cornish (1919–2014), was sentenced to three years and seven months in prison. Pearson was ordered to pay a nominal sum of £1, a penalty that will increase should he come into possession of any new assets.

Two specialists verified a work by John Constable for the BBC’s Fake or Fortune? program. The show’s co-presenter, art dealer Philip Mould, previously owned the painting — then dismissed as a fake —  but was unable to authenticate the work at the time.

A family damaged an 800-year-old coffin at the Prittlewell Priory Museum in Southend, Essex, after lifting their child over it in order to pose for a photograph. According to the Guardian, the family left the museum without reporting the damage.

Transactions

Wifredo Lam, “Pleniluna” (undated), lithograph (courtesy Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum FIU)

Univision Communications Inc. donated 57 artworks by 40 artists from Latin America and the United States to the Patricia and Phillip Frost Art Museum. The gift includes works by Cundo Bermudez, Coqui Calderon, Humberto Calzada, Antonia Guzman, Wifredo Lam, Rafael Soriano, and Fernando De Szyszlo.

The Walton Family Charitable Support Foundation donated $120 million to establish a school of art at the University of Arkansas.

The Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) exceeded its $200,000 fundraising goal to match a challenge grant for the PAMM Fund for African American Art, a fund dedicated to the purchase of contemporary art by African American artists.

The National Gallery in London acquired Bernardo Bellotto’s “The Fortress of Königstein from the North” (ca 1756–58) after an appeal raised £11.7 million (~$15 million) to save it from export.

Bernardo Bellotto, “The Fortress of Königstein from the North” (ca 1756–58), oil on canvas, 132.1 x 236.2 cm (© The National Gallery, London)

Transitions

The Baltimore Museum of Art appointed seven new members to its board of trustees: Heidi Berghuis, Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, Brooke Lierman, David H. Milton, Adam Pendleton, Scott Schelle, and Wilma Bulkin Siegel.

Viviana Bianchi was appointed executive director of the Bronx Council on the Arts.

Ruba Katrib was appointed curator of MoMA PS1.

June Yap was appointed director of curatorial, programs, and publications at the Singapore Art Museum.

Allegra Pesenti was appointed associate director and senior curator of the UCLA Grunwald Center for the Graphic Arts.

Jo Widoff and Lars Bang Larsen were appointed to Moderna Museet’s curatorial team.

The Museum of Modern Art appointed Rob Baker as director of marketing and creative strategy and Leah Dickerman as director of editorial and content strategy.

Jagdip Jagpal will succeed Neha Kirpal as director of the India Art fair.

The Main Museum in Downtown Los Angeles implemented bilingual exhibition labels, materials, and programming in English and Spanish.

Moniker International Art Fair will open its first New York edition in May 2018.

The world’s first Partition Museum opened in Amritsar, India.

The Equal Justice Initiative announced the construction of a museum in Montgomery dedicated to charting slavery, racial terror, segregation, and mass incarceration.

Gallery 1957 opened a second space in Accra, Ghana.

Poster House, an institution dedicated to showcasing posters from around the world, will open at 119 West 23rd Street in New York — the former home of TekServe — late next year. A pop-up exhibition will open at the space on September 20.

Michael Halsband, poster for “Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat: Paintings” (1985) (courtesy Poster House)

Accolades

Seitu Jones received the 2017 McKnight Distinguished Artist Award.

Obituaries

John Abercrombie (1944–2017), jazz guitarist.

Brian Aldiss (1925–2017), writer. Best known for his science-fiction work such as Super-Toys Last All Summer Long (1969).

Sonny Burgess (1929–2017), rockabilly singer.

Chiara Fumai (1978–2017), artist.

Janusz Glowacki (1938–2017), playwright.

Karl Otto Götz (1914–2017), artist.

Dick Gregory (1932–2017), satirist and activist.

Leo Hershkowitz (1924–2017), archivist and historian.

Masatoyo Kishi (1924–2017), abstract painter and sculptor.

Jerry Lewis (1926–2017), comedian, actor, and filmmaker.

M.T. Liggett (1930–2017), folk artist.

Ramon Boixados Malé (1927–2017), president of the Gala-Salvador Dalí Foundation.

Thomas Meehan (1929–2017), Broadway writer.

Stuart J. Thompson (1955-2017), Broadway producer and manager.

Gordon Williams (1934–2017), writer. Best known for The Siege of Trencher’s Farm (1971) and The Duellists (1977).

Sculptures by M.T. Liggett, Mullinville, Kansas (via Wikipedia)
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