News

Art Movements

This week in art news: Anti-gentrification groups protested Omer Fast’s exhibition in Chinatown, a campaign was launched to save an iconic artwork on Auschwitz, and reporter Tim O’Brien recalled an exchange with Donald Trump over a Renoir knock-off.

A detail from Marian Kołodziej’s “The Labyrinth” (started in 1993) (via Flickr/mik Krakow)

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

Activists from the Chinatown Art Brigade (CAB) and other local art and anti-gentrification groups protested against Omer Fast’s exhibition at James Cohan Gallery’s Chinatown space. CAB described August, which requires visitors to walk through a constructed caricature of a derelict, run-down Chinatown business, as a “racist aggression towards the community.”

Pyotr Pavlensky was arrested and charged with destruction of property after setting fire to a Bank of France branch in Paris. The dissident artist and his partner, Oksana Shalygina, were granted political asylum in France earlier this year. The pair fled Russia following accusations of sexual assault, a charge they maintain is politically motivated. Pavlensky, who is best known for nailing his scrotum to the ground in Moscow’s Red Square, was detained by Russian authorities in November 2015 after setting fire to the entrance of the FSB’s (Russian Federal Security Service) Moscow headquarters.

A crowdfunding campaign was launched for the conservation and protection of Marian Kołodziej’s “The Labyrinth,” an installation of work documenting the artist’s experiences at Auschwitz. The display, which is housed and cared for at a Franciscan monastery in the Polish village of Harmęże, is under threat from a woodworm infestation.

Walter Isaacson expressed doubts over the authenticity of Salvator Mundi (c. 1490–1519), specifically his disbelief that Leonardo da Vinci would fail to render visual distortions within the crystal orb depicted in the painting. The work is estimated to fetch $100 million at Christie’s on November 15. Isaacson is the author of a new work on Leonardo entitled Leonardo da Vinci: the Biography.
UPDATE: In a Facebook post, Isaacson stated that the Guardian’s article on his biography “leaves a bit of a false impression:” “I state clearly and unequivocally that this painting of Salvator Mundi is by Leonardo […] I explore the reasons that he did not show the crystal orb distorting the robes of Christ. I say it was a conscious decision on Leonardo’s part. I do not say in my book, nor did I say in the interview, nor do I believe, that anyone but Leonardo painted this painting.”

Over 25,000 people have signed a petition opposing the appointment of Siegbert Droese, a member of the far right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, as chairman of the German parliament’s Committee on Cultural and Media Affairs.

The Hubei Provincial Museum in Wuhan, China, removed a series of racist photographs by Yu Huiping, which juxtaposed images of black people with wild animals.

Alex Gardega, the artist who placed a sculpture of a urinating dog next to Kristen Visbal’s “Fearless Girl,” was struck and killed by a subway train in Manhattan.

Members of Norman Rockwell‘s family met with representatives from the office of the Massachusetts attorney general in a bid to halt the sale of two works by the artist at Sotheby’s. The family is opposed to the Berkshire Museum’s controversial decision to deaccession “Shaftsbury Blacksmith Shop” (1940) and “Shuffleton’s Barbershop” (1950), paintings the artist directly donated to the museum.

Atelier Van Lieshout’s “Domestikator” (2015), an architectural structure resembling two mid-coital figures, was displayed at the Centre Pompidou after the Louvre decided to withdraw it from its outdoor sculpture program.

Reporter Tim O’Brien, the author of TrumpNation: The Art of Being the Donald, recounted an exchange with Donald Trump in which he disputed the authenticity of a Renoir displayed on his private jet. According to O’Brien, Trump insisted that his version of Renoir’s “Two Sisters (On the Terrace)” was authentic, despite the fact the original painting is held in the Art Institute of Chicago’s collection.

Hank Willis Thomas’s “All Power to All People,” an eight-foot-tall sculpture of an afro pick punctuated by a clenched fist, was installed at Town Center Apartments in Opa-locka, Florida.

Hank Willis Thomas, “All Power to All People” (via Instagram/@adriennechadwick)

Transactions

Sotheby’s Art for Grenfell auction raised a total of £1,946,875 (~$2,569,000).

Transitions

Beatrix Ruf stepped down as director of the Stedelijk Museum following intense criticism by Dutch media. Ruf continued to operate her private art-advisory firm, Currentmatters, during her first year as the Stedelijk’s director, netting $513,961. Ruf did not disclose the operation of her advisory business in the museum’s annual report. The former director was also criticized for a lack of transparency and accountability regarding museum acquisitions. According to NRC, the museum contractually agreed to acquire further works by Michael Krebber and Matt Mullican in order to secure a donation by German collector Thomas Borgmann, a deal that will reportedly cost the museum $1.76 million.

Eli Broad announced his retirement from philanthropic ventures.

Audrey Azoulay was appointed director general of UNESCO.

Alyson Baker will step down as the executive director of the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum at the end of the year.

Lauren A. Meserve was appointed senior vice president and chief investment officer of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

James H. DeGraffenreidt, Jr. was appointed president of the Walters Art Museum’s board of trustees.

El Museo del Barrio appointed six new members to its board of trustees: Juan Domingo Beckmann, Moisés Cosio, Veronica G. Powell, Clarice Oliveira Tavares, Renata Paula, and Monica Vidal.

Suzanne Cotter was appointed director of MUDAM Luxembourg.

Diana Baldon was appointed director of the Fondazione Modena Arti Visive.

Vincent Honoré and Cliff Lauson were appointed senior curators at the Hayward Gallery in London.

Virginia Commonwealth University announced that it will open its new Institute for Contemporary Art (ICA) in April 2018.

The New York Public Library unveiled its two-year renovation of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.

Galerie Templon is planning to open a second space in Paris.

Fernando Mignoni, the former head of Christie’s postwar and contemporary art department in London, will open his own gallery on the Upper East Side on October 31.

Two of Philadelphia’s modernist buildings — District Health Center One and the Shipley White Residence — were added to the city’s Register of Historic Places.

The University of Bergen unveiled its new faculty of Fine Art, Music and Design. The facility was designed by Norwegian architects, Snøhetta.

Snøhetta, Bergen University, Faculty of Fine Art, Music and Design (© Hufton + Crow)

Accolades

Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald were commissioned to paint portraits of Barack and Michelle Obama for the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery.

Doug Aitken received the inaugural Frontier Art Prize.

Hikaru Fujii was awarded the Nissan Art Award’s 2017 Grand Prix.

Tim Storrier was awarded the 2017 Doug Moran National Portrait Prize.

George Saunders was awarded the 2017 Man Booker Prize for his novel Lincoln in the Bardo.

Obituaries

Lawrence Argent, “I See What You Mean” (2005), blue polymer concrete, 40ft x 24ft x 22ft, Denver Convention Center, Denver, Colorado (via Wikipedia)

Lawrence Argent (1957–2017), sculptor.

Cornelia Bailey (1945–2017), activist. Co-founder and vice-president of the  Sapelo Island Cultural and Revitalization Society.

Mary Cochran (1963–2017), dancer.

Courtney Donnell (1945–2017), curator of 20th-century painting and sculpture at the Art Institute of Chicago.

Gord Downie (1964–2017), lead singer and lyricist of the Tragically Hip.

Linda Fredericks (1941–2017), art teacher and activist. Founder and president of ArtSway.

Vincent La Selva (1929–2017), founder of the New York Grand Opera.

Charles Osborne (1927–2017), author, poet, and biographer. Former literature director of the Arts Council of Great Britain.

Marian Cannon Schlesinger (1912–2017), artist and author.

Grady Tate (1932–2017), jazz drummer and vocalist.

Ralph Turner (1936–2017), curator and exhibition organizer. Director of exhibitions at the Crafts Council.

Richard Wilbur (1921–2017), poet and translator.

comments (0)