Art Movements

This week in art news: wildfires forced the Getty Center and Skirball Cultural Center to close, the buyer of Leonardo’s “Salvator Mundi” was revealed, and President Trump drastically reduced the size of two US National Monuments.

Charles Demuth, “I Saw the Figure 5 in Gold” (1928), oil, graphite, ink and gold leaf on paperboard, 90.2 x 76.2 cm (© Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York)

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 Getty Center, Getty Villa, and Skirball Cultural Center were shut down as wildfires continue to spread rapidly in southern California. The Getty Center and Getty Villa are due to reopen today.

Prince Bader bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan al-Saud was identified as the buyer of “Salvator Mundi.” According to the Wall Street Journal, the prince was acting as a proxy on behalf of Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the heir apparent to the Saudi throne. The Louvre Abu Dhabi announced via twitter that the painting will go on display at the museum.

President Trump reduced the size of two national monuments in Utah — Bears Ears National Monument and Grand Staircase-Escalante — by around two million acres, the largest rollback of federal land protection in US history.

A number of iconic American paintings will leave the US for the first time for inclusion in the Ashmolean Museum’s upcoming exhibition America’s Cool Modernism: O’Keeffe to Hopper. The Metropolitan Museum of Art has loaned 18 works to the show, including Charles Sheeler’s “Americana” (1931) and Charles Demuth’s “I Saw the Figure 5 in Gold” (1928).

Lubaina Himid became the first woman of color and the oldest artist to win the Turner Prize.

The NAACP encouraged its members to boycott the opening of Mississippi’s Civil Rights Museum due to President Trump’s scheduled attendance. Congressman Bennie Thompson told the Boston Globe that he and Congressman John Lewis have discussed the possibility of pulling out of the event.

Kerry James Marshall at work on his mural on the exterior of the Chicago Cultural Center (photo by Patrick Pyszka, courtesy city of Chicago)

Kerry James Marshall unveiled a 132-foot by 100-foot mural celebrating 20 iconic Chicago women. The work includes Oprah Winfrey, AfriCobra co-founder Barbara Jones-Hogu, literary figures Gwendolyn Brooks and Sandra Cisneros, and Jackie Taylor, the founder and CEO of the Black Ensemble Theater.

The Jewish Museum announced it will open an investigation into curator Jens Hoffmann after “a number” of museum staff came forward with allegations of sexual harassment. Hoffmann has been suspended from all ongoing projects at the museum.

The New York City Ballet and the School of American Ballet launched a joint investigation after receiving a sexual harassment complaint against choreographer Peter Martins.

Artist Jaishri Abichandani staged a “feminist participatory public performance” outside the Met Breuer’s Raghubir Singh retrospective with around 30 participants. Abichandani alleges that she was sexually abused by the photographer in the 1990s.

Model Jason Boyce filed charges of sexual harassment and discrimination against photographer Bruce Weber.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art declined to remove Balthus’s “Thérèse Dreaming” (1938) from display. The decision follows an online petition suggesting that the museum either remove the painting from view or provide “more context in the painting’s description.” Balthus (Balthasar Klossowski) is well known for his erotically charged images of pubescent girls.

French President Emmanuel Macron called for the restitution of African artworks and artifacts held in France during a speech in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. “There are historical explanations for this, but there is no valid, durable, or unconditional justification for it,” Macron stated. “In the next five years, I want the conditions to be created for the temporary or permanent restitution of African patrimony to Africa.”

Real-estate billionaire Jorge Pérez attributed Miami-Dade County’s decision to slash funding to the Pérez Art Museum Miami to the institution’s decision to exhibit work by artists still living in Cuba. According to the Art Newspaper, $550,000 from a $4 million grant promised to PAMM was reallocated to to the American Museum of the Cuban Diaspora, which only exhibits the work of artists who have left the island.

The New Bedford Whaling Museum completed the conservation of America’s longest painting, “Purrington-Russell Grand Panorama of a Whaling Voyage Round the World” (1848). The painting measures 1,275 feet, the equivalent of 14 blue whales, in length. To display the painting, the museum will need to find a room that’s at least 16,000 square feet.

Pantone selected “Ultra Violet” as its color of the year.


Joseph Wright of Derby, “An Academy by Lamplight” (1769), oil on canvas, 50 by 40 inches (courtesy Sotheby’s)

Joseph Wright of Derby’s “An Academy by Lamplight” (1769) was sold at Sotheby’s for $9,736,990 (with buyer’s premium), an auction record for the artist. Wright produced two versions of the painting; the other is on display at the Yale Center for British Art, New Haven.

The Frick Collection acquired François Gérard’s full-length portrait of Prince Camillo Borghese (ca 1810), its first major painting purchase since 1991.

Richard and Mary Jo Stanley donated $10 million to the University of Iowa for the construction of a new art museum.

The Knight Foundation awarded $2.5 million to 43 artists and arts organizations in South Florida.

Ronald Maurice Ollie and Monique McRipley Ollie donated 81 artworks by contemporary black artists to the Saint Louis Art Museum.

Louise B. and J. Harwood Cochrane endowed a painting conservatorship at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.

The Blanton Museum of Art at The University of Texas at Austin completed its $23 million fundraising campaign for the construction of Ellsworth Kelly’s “Austin” chapel [via email announcement].

The Toledo Museum of Art acquired three Native American works dating from between 1850 and 1875.

The National Gallery of Art acquired works by Morris Louis, Giovanni Francesco Costa, Stuart Davis, and ringl + pit.

The Harvard Art Museums acquired “U.S.A. Idioms” (2017), a monumental drawing by Kara Walker.

Kara Walker, “U.S.A. Idioms” (2017), collage of Sumi ink and graphite on cut newsprint on gessoed white wove paper, 140 1/8 × 176 5/8 in (courtesy Harvard Art Museums)


The Carnegie International became the first serial exhibition to be certified by Working Artists and the Greater Economy (W.A.G.E.).

The Academy Museum revealed its board of trustees.

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation reappointed Gail May Engelberg to its board of trustees.

Anne-Imelda Radice will retire as executive director of the American Folk Art Museum early next year.

Steven A. Olsen was appointed vice president, chief financial officer, and chief operating officer of the J. Paul Getty Trust.

Lindsy R. Parrott was promoted to executive director and curator of the Neustadt Collection of Tiffany Glass [via email announcement].

Christiane Paul was appointed director and chief curator of the Sheila C. Johnson Design Center at Parsons School of Design.

Paul Waimberg was appointed chief financial officer of the the National Museum of American Jewish History.

Sarah Cosulich was appointed artistic director of Rome Quadriennale.

Clark Crowley-Bunyard was appointed advancement director of the Andy Warhol Museum.

William S. Smith was appointed editor of Art in America.

The Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland launched the Toby’s Prize, a biennial international juried prize “to support a new commission, solo exhibition, and scholarly publication by an artist working today.”

The Jennifer Chalsty Planetarium opens at the Liberty Science Center in New Jersey tomorrow.


Fair Brane was awarded the inaugural Barbara Hammer Lesbian Experimental Filmmaking Grant via Queer|Art.

Lucy Raven won the Bauhaus Museum Dessau’s Kunst am Bau (Art in Architecture) competition.

The Main Museum announced its 2018 artists-in-residence.

The Watermill Center announced its 2018 artists-in-residence [via email announcement].

Luis Agosto-Leduc and Jesús ‘Bubu’ Negrón received the Visible Award for their grassroots  artist collective Brigada Puerta de Tierra.

Lauren Halsey was awarded the 2017 William H. Johnson Prize.


The Delaware Art Museum will accept submissions for its Juried Craft Exhibition from January 1, 2018.


Milein Cosman, “Francis Bacon” (1984), drypoint and monotype (via Wikipedia)

Enrico Castellani (1930–2017), artist. Associated with the zero movement and Azimuth.

Ivan Chermayeff (1932–2017), graphic designer. Designed the logos for the Smithsonian Institution and HarperCollins.

Milein Cosman (1921–2017), artist.

Jean d’Ormesson (1925–2017), novelist, philosopher, and journalist.

Jerry Fodor (1935–2017), philosopher.

William H. Gass (1924–2017), author.

Johnny Hallyday (1943–2017), singer.

Christine Keeler (1942–2017), model and showgirl best known for the Profumo affair.

Polly Koch (1952–2017), writer and editor.

William Mayer (1925–2017), composer.

Mitch Margo (1947–2017), musician. Member of the Tokens.

Vincent Scully (1920–2017), art and architecture historian.

Virginia Surtees (1917–2017), art historian. Expert on Dante Gabriel Rossetti and the pre-Raphaelites.

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