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Art Movements

This week in art news: police raided homes in Belgium in connection with a collection of suspected forgeries, Shenzhen Biennale co-curator Gary Xu was fired following accusations of sexual assault and harassment, and Michelle Obama’s official portrait was relocated due to overcrowding.

The bust of a colossal statue of the god Hapy strapped with webbings before being raised out of Aboukir Bay, Egypt; IEASM Excavations (photo by Christoph Gerigk, © Franck Goddio / Hilti Foundation)

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

Sunken Cities: Egypt’s Lost Worlds opens at the Saint Louis Art Museum on Sunday. The exhibition includes colossal sculptures and artifacts recovered from the long-lost cities of Thonis-Heracleion and Canopus, detailing the underwater expeditions led by archaeologist Franck Goddio. The two cities were discovered in 2000.

Cooper Union’s board voted to adopt a plan to offer full scholarships for all undergraduate students by 2028, a stunning reversal of the school’s controversial decision to start charging undergraduate tuition in 2014.

The Shenzhen Biennale fired Gary Xu as one of its inaugural edition curators following allegations of sexual assault and harassment.

The Evening Standard published a report on the two charitable funds overseen by the London-based members of the Sackler family — the Sackler Trust and the Dr Mortimer and Theresa Sackler Foundation — asking institutions whether they would continue to accept their philanthropic support following greater scrutiny of the ties between the heirs of Raymond and Mortimer Sackler and the manufacture and sale of Oxycontin. According to the report, London’s National Portrait Gallery is currently vetting a pledged £1 million (~$1.4 million) grant from the Sackler Trust.

Belgian police raided a number of homes in connection to the ongoing fallout over an exhibition of Russian avant-garde works at the Museum of Fine Arts in Ghent. A group of 10 art historians, curators, and art dealers penned an open letter describing the authenticity of the works as “highly questionable.” Catherine de Zegher was removed as the institution’s director last week pending the conclusion of an external audit.

A petition was launched opposing the planned closure of the Memphis College of Art in May 2020. The decision, made by the school’s board of directors in October of last year, was attributed to declining enrollment, a weak endowment, and large debt.

Congolese performance artist Toto Kisaku was granted political asylum in the United States.

The Guardian reported that more than 20 British artists have signed up to a group legal action in a bid to extricate themselves from the Artist Pension Trust.

Jeremy Deller designed and distributed a poster entitled “How to Leave Facebook” in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

Tracey Emin’s “The Distance of Your Heart,” a citywide installation comprised of 60 bronze birds, was unveiled in Sydney.

The Modern Art Museum in Rio de Janeiro announced plans to deaccession a work by Jackson Pollock in order to raise funds for its operations.

Olafur Eliasson established The Little Sun Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing solar lamps and chargers to vulnerable communities around the world.

Archivist Rachael Jones discovered letters of correspondence written by HG Wells, Auguste Rodin, and William Morris during a major cataloguing and digitization of the Glasgow School of Art’s Archives and Collections.

The Museum of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg, Florida, excavated 2,000-year old Antioch mosaics buried near the museum’s sculpture garden by staff in 1989.

A petition was launched protesting the decision to remove a plaque commemorating the birthplace of Rosa Luxemburg in the Polish city of Zamość.

The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery relocated Amy Sherald’s portrait of Michelle Obama due to the high volume of visitors coming to see it.

Shepard Fairey designed downloadable posters for tomorrow’s March For Our Lives demonstration.

The Museum of Ice Cream in San Francisco has been issued fines by the City due to the refuse caused by its pool of 100 million plastic sprinkles.

Transactions

Sam Doyle, “St. Helena’s Black Merry Go Rond” (ca 1980–83), house paint on metal, 26 x 48 in (photo by Marten Elder, courtesy the California African American Museum)

Gordon W. Bailey donated 32 artworks to the California African American Museum. The gifts includes works by Sam Doyle, Leroy Almon, Hawkins Bolden, Roy Ferdinand, Robert Howell, “Missionary” Mary Proctor, Herbert Singleton, Georgia Speller, Jimmy Lee Sudduth, and Purvis Young.

Philip and Kathy Power donated $2 million and over 200 works of Inuit Art to the University of Michigan Museum of Art. The gift will endow the Power Family Program for Inuit Art.

The Morgan Library & Museum acquired a collection of over 350 items belonging to James Joyce (1882–1941). The collection is a gift from New York art dealer Sean Kelly and his wife, Mary Kelly.

Diane and Arthur Abbey endowed a curatorship for the Metropolitan Museum of Art‘s Asian art department.

BMW signed a three year partnership deal with the Art Dubai art fair.

Nicholas G. McDonald donated his paleontological collection of fossils and geological specimens to the Bruce Museum.

Diego Rivera’s 1932 lithograph “El sueño (La noche de los pobres)” was sold at Swann Auction Galleries for $40,000, a record for the work.

Diego Rivera, “El sueño (La noche de los pobres)” (1932), lithograph (courtesy Swann Auction Galleries)

Transitions

The Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania became the first W.A.G.E. certified museum.

Helen Legg was appointed director of Tate Liverpool.

Justin W. Gunther was appointed director of Fallingwater and vice president of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy.

Amanda D. McMullen was appointed president and chief executive officer of the New Bedford Whaling Museum.

Richard P. Townsend was appointed executive director of the Richard H. Driehaus Museum.

Caitlin Haskell was appointed the Art Institute of Chicago’s curator of international modern art.

Esther Park was appointed vice president of programming at ArtCenter/South Florida.

Sequoia Miller was appointed chief curator of the Gardiner Museum in Toronto.

Ola Wlusek was appointed curator of modern and contemporary art at the John and Mable Ringling Museum.

John Leroux was appointed manager of collections and exhibitions at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery.

Austėja Mackelaitė was appointed assistant curator of drawings and prints at the Morgan Library & Museum.

The Rockport Center for the Arts will raze its existing building due to severe damage caused by Hurricane Harvey. The organization is currently seeking to secure a new space in downtown Rockport, Texas.

Creative Time will hold its first international project in collaboration with Art Basel in May.

The first edition of the Taipei Dangdai art fair will take place at the Taipei Nangang Exhibition Center in January 2019.

Tehran’s CAMA Gallery will open its new London space on April 5.

The estate of Ray K. Metzker is now represented by Howard Greenberg Gallery [via email announcement].

Amy Sherald is now represented by Hauser & Wirth.

Lesley Vance is now represented by Bortolami gallery.

Lesley Vance, “Untitled” (2017), oil on linen, 31 x 24 in (courtesy the artist and Bortolami, New York)

Accolades

Francesca Fuchs was named Art League Houston’s Artist of the Year. The organization will present its Lifetime Achievement and Patron of the Year Award to George Smith and Jereann Chaney, respectively.

Jan Gerchow was awarded the 2018 KAIROS Prize.

Ghassan Salhab, Doa Aly, Taus Machacheva, Joe Namy, Mounira al Solh, Fatma Belkıs, and Onur Gökmen were named the recipients of the Sharjah Art Foundation’s 2018 Production Program grant.

Michael Dean, Mona Hatoum, Phillip Lai, Magali Reus, and Cerith Wyn Evans were nominated for the 2018 Hepworth Prize for Sculpture.

Obituaries

Katherine Westphal, “Bicentennial Angels” (1976), embroidery, heat transfer, patchwork (photo by Tom Grotta, courtesy browngrotta arts)

Anthony Acevedo (1924–2018), American POW during World War II. Documented his experiences of the Buchenwald concentration camp. Bequeathed his diary to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2010.

Gary Burden (1933–2018), designer. Best known for the album covers he designed for Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, the Doors, and Crosby, Stills & Nash.

Brenda Dean, Lady Dean of Thornton-le-Fylde (1943–2018), trade unionist. First woman elected to lead a major UK industrial union. Played a critical role in the 1986 Wapping dispute.

Matt Dike (1961–2018), co-founder of Delicious Vinyl.

Nokie Edwards (1935–2018), musician. Guitarist for the Ventures.

Robert Grossman (1940–2018), illustrator.

Mike MacDonald (1954–2018), comedian.

Les Payne (1941–2018), Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist.

Louise M. Slaughter (1929–2018), United States Representative. Co-chair of the Congressional Arts Caucus.

Barbara Wersba (1932–2018), author.

Katherine Westphal (1919–2018), artist and fiber art pioneer.

David S. Wyman (1929–2018), historian and Holocaust scholar.

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