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JRR Tolkien, “The Aurora Borealis” (1926), letter from Father Christmas written by Tolkien for his children (© The Tolkien Estate Ltd 1976)

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

Two women came forward with allegations of sexual misconduct by Chuck Close, claiming that the artist made vulgar comments to them during visits to his studio. “Last time I looked, discomfort was not a major offense,” Close told the New York Times. “I never reduced anyone to tears, no one ever ran out of the place. If I embarrassed anyone or made them feel uncomfortable, I am truly sorry, I didn’t mean to. I acknowledge having a dirty mouth, but we’re all adults.”

Steve McQueen began working on a “lasting memorial” for the victims of the Grenfell Tower tragedy. McQueen’s film, which will not be sold or televised, will include aerial photography documenting the building’s remains before it is obscured by scaffolding.

Illustrated letters from Father Christmas written by JRR Tolkien for his children will be included in Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth, an exhibition of the author’s manuscripts, artwork, maps, letters, and artifacts, opening at the University of Oxford’s Bodleian Libraries next year.

Cartoonist Ali Dorani (aka Eaten Fish) was granted an artist’s residency thanks to the assistance of the International Cities of Refuge Network. The artist spent four years at the Australian-run immigration detention centre on Manus Island after the boat that was taking him to Australia broke up and sank.

Daniela Soleri, a lecturer in Environmental Studies at UC Santa Barbara and the daughter of renowned architect Paolo Soleri, published an open letter entitled “Sexual abuse: It’s you, him, and his work,” in which she accused her father of sexual molestation and attempted rape. Paolo Soleri is best known for founding Arcosanti, an experimental town and architectural community in Yavapai County, Arizona.

Knight Landesman filed a motion calling for the dismissal of a lawsuit brought by former Artforum employee Amanda Schmitt. Landesman resigned as publisher of the magazine after a number of string of sexual harassment allegations were made public last October.

Artist Candice Breitz protested the National Gallery of Victoria’s contract with Wilson Security, which has been accused of abusing refugees at detention centers, by retitling one of her video pieces “Wilson Must Go.”

Riccardo Mayr, “Unreasonable Threat of a Contemplative,” watercolor on paper in original wood frame with glass, English School, 18th century, 15 x 11 in (courtesy Gallery 30 South)

Religious Paintings of the Expanded Galaxy opened at Gallery 30 South in Pasadena. The exhibition consists of 17th and 18th century paintings “remixed” by artist Riccardo Mayr.

Ezra Chowaiki, the owner of Chowaiki & Co. Fine Art Ltd, was released by a judge on $100,000 bond after turning himself in to federal authorities. The art dealer stands accused of defrauding collectors and dealers out of millions of dollars in falsified transactions.

Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., the District Attorney for Manhattan, announced the formation of a dedicated Antiquities Trafficking Unit.

The Richard Avedon Foundation demanded that a new biography of the photographer cease publication, accusing it of containing “countless inaccuracies.” The book, Avedon: Something Personal by Norma Stevens and Steven Aronson, was released on November 21 by Penguin Random House’s imprint Spiegel and Grau.

The Vatican Museum returned a shrunken head to Ecuador following months of negotiations. The head is thought to have belonged to an Amazon warrior killed by the Shuar, an indigenous people of Ecuador.

Art on the Underground commissioned a year-long program of work by women artists to mark the 100th anniversary of the Representation of the People Act.

The French government declared the original manuscript of the Marquis de Sade’s 120 Days of Sodom (1785) a national treasure, thereby preventing its export from France.

One thousand sites were added to the Historic England register.

Nan Goldin created an Instagram account.


Pierre-Jean David d’Angers, Bust of the comte Boulay de la Meurthe (1832), marble, 27 1/2 in with base, National Gallery of Art, Washington, Patrons’ Permanent Fund and the Buffy and William Cafritz Family Sculpture Fund (courtesy National Gallery of Art)

The National Gallery of Art acquired a portrait bust by Pierre-Jean David d’Angers (1788–1856).

The Cultural Development Fund of New York City’s Department of Cultural Affairs received $40.3 million, the largest-ever allocation of funds from the city. The funds will be distributed as grants as part of the CreateNYC cultural plan.

The Carnegie Museum of Art announced its recent acquisitions, including works by Lorraine O’ Grady, Peter Salter, and William Fox Talbot.

The Cleveland Museum of Art announced its recent acquisitions, including works by Pierre Huyghe, Jeffrey Whetstone, and Johann König.

The municipal government of Manitoba pledged $10 million in support of the Winnipeg Art Gallery‘s planned center for Inuit art.

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation awarded a $600,000 grant to Gibney Dance. The funds will be used to expand the company’s Dance in Process (DIP) residency program.

Riccardo and Tatyana Silva donated $500,000 to the the Bass Museum of Art.

The Corning Museum of Glass received $469,625 in grants through Empire State Development’s I LOVE NEW YORK program. The funds will be used to create GlassBarge, a mobile glassblowing studio on water.

The Kimbell Art Museum acquired Lovis Corinth’s “Portrait of the Art Dealer Heinrich Thannhauser” (1918).

Lovis Corinth, “Portrait of the Art Dealer Heinrich Thannhauser” (1918), oil on canvas, 40 x 27 1/2 in (courtesy Kimbell Art Museum)


Ralph Rugoff was appointed artistic director of the 2019 Venice Biennale.

Alison Cole was appointed editor of The Art Newspaper.

David Fleming will retire from his post as director of the National Museums Liverpool at the end of March.

Tim Knox was appointed director of the Royal Collection Trust by Queen Elizabeth II.

Janneke de Vries was appointed director of the Weserburg Museum of Modern Art.

Rebekah Beaulieu was appointed director of the Florence Griswold Museum.

Lorenzo Candelaria was appointed dean of the School of the Arts at Purchase College, SUNY.

Jay A. Clarke was appointed curator in the department of prints and drawings at the Art Institute of Chicago.

The Tel Aviv Museum of Art promoted Dalit Matatyahu to curator of Israeli Art.

Amanda Blake was appointed director of education and library services at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art.

Sandra Kingsberry James of DuPont was elected to the Delaware College of Art and Design’s board of trustees.

Lincoln Plaza Cinemas will permanently close in January.

Printed Matter cancelled its 2018 edition of the LA Art Book Fair.

Portland City Council voted 3-1 to permit the Portland Art Museum to move ahead with its controversial Rothko Pavilion.

Artist Hiroshi Sugimoto was commissioned to redesign the lobby of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden.


Hank Willis Thomas, “Aint Gonna Let Nobody Turn Us Around” (2016), glass, silver, and digital print (courtesy the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery)

Hank Willis Thomas was awarded the 2017 AIMIA | AGO Photography Prize.

Lisa Robertson was awarded the Foundation for Contemporary Arts inaugural C.D. Wright Award for Poetry.

Caterina Avataneo received the 2017 NEON Curatorial Award.

The Museum of Modern Art will present its 2018 David Rockefeller Award to Oprah Winfrey in March.


Hubert Damisch (1928–2017), philosopher.

Peter Duffell (1922–2017), film and television director.

Aline Griffith (1923–2017), model, spy, and author.

Yu Guangzhong (1928–2017),  poet, essayist, and translator.

Bette Howland (1937–2017), author.

Clifford Irving (1930–2017), author and investigative reporter. Best known for The Hoax (1981), his account of his unauthorized Howard Hughes autobiography.

David Johnston (1948–2017), theatre director and consultant.

Kevin Mahogany (1958–2017), jazz singer.

Jon Naar (1920–2017), photographer. Best known for The Faith of Graffiti (1974).

Bob Seidemann (1941–2017), photographer.

Keely Smith (1928–2017), jazz singer. Wife of Louis Prima.

Robert G. Wilmers (1934–2017), chief of M+T Bank and philanthropist.

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Tiernan Morgan

Tiernan Morgan is the former producer of Hyperallergic. His articles have examined New York’s 1980s art scene and artist resale royalties. He also collaborates with artist and regular Hyperallergic contributor...