Art Movements

This week in art news: a mafia member revealed new information about a stolen Caravaggio, the Metropolitan Museum implemented mandatory admission for non-New Yorkers, and a painting newly attributed to Dalí went on view.

Salvador Dalí, “Untitled” (1932), oil on canvas, 9 x 6 in, gifted from Pericles Embiricos in 1966, private collection (courtesy Heather James Fine Art)

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

Gaetano Grado, a mafia member and informant, claimed that Caravaggio’s “Nativity with St. Francis and St. Lawrence” (1600) — infamously stolen in 1969 from the Oratorio di San Lorenzo in Palermo, Sicily — was cut into pieces and sold to a Swiss art dealer. Grado identified the dealer, whose name has yet to be publicly revealed, during testimony to the Italian Parliament’s Standing Commission on Organized Crime. The painting has long been included on the FBI’s top 10 art crimes list.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s mandatory $25 admission fee for non-New York State visitors went into effect yesterday.

A painting newly attributed to Salvador Dalí by scholar Nicolas Descharnes — the son of Dalí’s former personal secretary, Robert Descharnes — went on view at Heather James Fine Art in New York. According to the gallery, the painting had remained in private hands for over 75 years. The Gala-Salvador Dalí Foundation has yet to include the painting in its catalogue raisonné.

University lecturers and students marched in London to protest Universities UK’s (UUK) decision to restructure lecturer pension plans.

The Richard Avedon Foundation published a working list of errors and fictionalized material it claims to have identified in Avedon: Something Personal (2017), a biography by Norma Stevens and Steven M.L. Aronson. The Foundation first called on Penguin Random House’s imprint Spiegel and Grau to cease the book’s publication in December last year.

Creative Scotland, Scotland’s arts funding body, pledged to undertake a “root and branch review” of its funding process following its controversial decision to rescind funding to 20 organizations included in its regular funding stream. The organization was called to give evidence to the Scottish Parliament’s culture committee last week.

The São Paulo Court of Justice ruled that an injunction to block the performance of Jo Clifford’s The Gospel According to Jesus, Queen of Heaven — a one-woman show that portrays a transgender Jesus Christ — was unconstitutional.

Tarpaulin covering the statue of Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville, Virginia (photo by Benjamin Sutton for Hyperallergic)

Tarpaulins placed over the statues of Confederate generals Robert E. Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson in Charlottesville, Virginia, were removed in accordance with a ruling by circuit court judge Richard E. Moore. The city council voted to shroud the statues following the murder of Heather Heyer at the Unite the Right rally on August 12 last year.

The National Gallery of Victoria dropped Wilson Security as its security contractor following international pressure from activists. The company operates a controversial detention facility for refugees and asylum seekers on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea. The Guardian published a set of internal confidential documents last year detailing high rates of self-harm, suicide attempts, and regular violent and sexual assaults at the facility.

Edgar Degas’s “Les Choristes (The Chorus)” (1877), which was stolen from the Musée Cantini in 2009, was recovered on a bus outside Paris during a random inspection by customs officials. According to the BBC, none of the passengers on board the bus admitted to transporting the painting.

Yien-Koo Wang King, the daughter of artist C.C. Wang (1907–2003), assumed control of her father’s estate following a 15-year legal battle. The estate had been led by the artist’s grandson, Andrew Wang, until a court ruled last year that Wang and his father had manipulated the late artist — who had suffered from dementia — into inserting them into his will.

A mural by Eduardo Paolozzi was revealed in Berlin following the demolition of a building that had obscured the work since the 1980s.

A water leak at the California State Library damaged over 250 rare books.

The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden rescheduled its presentation of Krzysztof Wodiczko’s monumental projection “Hirshhorn Museum, Washington, D.C., 1988” (1988) for March 7, 8, and 9, from 7 to 9:30 pm. The projections were postponed in the wake of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida.

A visitor was ejected from the Metropolitan Museum of Art for wearing a gown of blue silk taffeta and silk organza modeled after 18th-century dresses.

The College Art Association (CAA) launched its new logo. The organization voted in December last year to adopt the acronym CAA as its formal name and to incorporate the tagline “Advancing Art & Design.”

Facebook removed an image of the Venus of Willendorf (ca 28,000–25,000 BCE) after deeming it inappropriate.

Gagosian gallery launched an online version of its quarterly magazine.


Sanford Biggers, “Overstood” (2017), sequins, canvas, fabric, tar, glitter, polystyrene, and Aqua-Resin, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts; Pamela K. and William A. Royall Jr. Fund for 21st Century Art

The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts acquired David Drake’s “Two-Handled Jug” (1840), Archibald Motley Jr.’s “Town of Hope” (1927) and Sanford Biggers’s “Overstood” (2017).

The Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin acquired the archives of photographer Fritz Henle.

The original cover artwork for the 100th issue of The Amazing Spiderman was sold at Heritage Auctions for $478,000.

Andrew and Linda Safran donated 38 works of American outsider art to Tufts University. The gift includes works by William Hawkins, Thornton Dial, Sr., Howard Finster, Bessie Harvey, Purvis Young, Mary T. Smith, and Jimmy Lee Sudduth.

The International Slavery Museum in Liverpool acquired “Am Not I A Man and a Brother” (ca 1800), a painting based on the Committee for the Abolition of the Slave Trade’s emblem.

A recently rediscovered portrait of Ife princess Adetutu Ademiluyi by Ben Enwonwu was sold at Bonhams for £1,208,750 ($1,661,962, including buyer’s premium), far in excess of its £300,000 estimate.

Pablo Picasso’s “Femme au béret et à la robe quadrillée (Marie-Thérèse Walter)”(1937) was sold at Sotheby’s in London for £49,827,000 (~$68.6 million, including buyer’s premium), the second-highest price for a work of art sold at auction in Europe.

Pablo Picasso, “Femme au béret et à la robe quadrillée (Marie-Thérèse Walter)” (1937), oil on canvas, 21 5/8 x 18 1/8 in (courtesy Sotheby’s)


Hwang Hyun-san stepped down as chairman of the Arts Council of Korea.

Pamela J. Joyner was appointed chair of the Tate Americas Foundation.

Barbara Gladstone was appointed to the board of Artists Space. Heather Harmon was appointed the organization’s development director.

Nancy Lowden Norman was appointed executive director of the Atlantic Center for the Arts.

Marta Moreira de Almeida was appointed deputy director of the Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Serralves in Porto.

Michelle Kuo was appointed a curator of painting and sculpture at the Museum of Modern Art.

David Platzker resigned as curator of drawings and prints at the Museum of Modern Art, citing the need for a “change of venue.”

The Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University promoted Carla Acevedo-Yates and Steven L. Bridges to associate curators.

Gerald McMaster was appointed adjunct curator at Remai Modern.

Jennifer Padgett was appointed assistant curator of the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.

The Outsider Art Fair will open a satellite fair during Art Basel in Switzerland.

London gallery Arcadia Missa will relocate from Peckham to Soho, a move its founder, Rózsa Farkas, attributed to gentrification.

The Stone, the experimental music club operated by John Zorn, will be rehoused at the New School.

The Marc Foxx Gallery in Los Angeles permanently closed.

Mexico City’s Kurimanzutto gallery will open a “project space” in New York next month.

Experimenter gallery opened a second space in Kolkata, India.

Josiah McElheny is now represented by James Cohan Gallery.

Josiah McElheny, “Crystal Landscape Painting (Rocks)” (2017) (courtesy James Cohan Gallery)


The International Center of Photography announced the recipients of its 2018 Infinity Awards. Bruce Davidson was named the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Art Jameel selected Alia Farid and Aseel AlYacoub for its inaugural artist commission.


Dennis Adrian (1937–2018), art historian, critic, curator, and collector.

Getulio Alviani (1939–2018), artist and designer. Included in the Museum of Modern Art’s influential exhibition The Response Eye (1965).

Eddie Amoo (1944–2018), musician, songwriter, and lead singer of the Real Thing.

Raymond Danowski (1943–2018), poetry collector.

Lewis Gilbert (1920–2018), film director and writer. Best known for Alfie (1966), Educating Rita (1983), and for his work on the James Bond franchise.

Cynthia Heimel (1947–2018), writer and sex columnist.

Raimund Herincx (1927–2018), bass-baritone.

George S. Kaufman (1928–2018), real estate magnate. Led the redevelopment of Astoria Studios in Queens.

Rick McKay (1955–2018), historian and filmmaker. Best known for Broadway: The Golden Age, by the Legends Who Were There (2003).

Lee Harris Pomeroy (1932–2018), architect. Redesigned several New York City subway stations.

Ivor Smith (1926–2018), architect.

Penny Vincenzi (1939–2018), novelist.

“The Responsive Eye” (1965), exhibition catalogue (via
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