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Art Movements

This week in art news: the Berkshire Museum earmarked 13 works to sell at Sotheby’s, the ICA Boston closed an exhibition by alleged sexual harasser Nicholas Nixon, and the UK barred a Reubens oil sketch from export.

Peter Paul Rubens, “Head of an African Man Wearing a Turban” (nd), oil sketch on paper (© and courtesy the Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport)

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 Berkshire Museum will sell 13 works at Sotheby’s in an effort to raise $55 million following an agreement signed off by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.

The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, prematurely closed its exhibition of photographs by Nicholas Nixon at the artist’s request. Nixon has been accused of sexual harassment by several of his former students at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design (MassArt).

The UK arts minister, Michael Ellis, placed a temporary export bar on “Head of an African Man Wearing a Turban,” an oil sketch by Peter Paul Rubens. The artist utilized the sketch as the basis of his portrayal of Balthazar in the “Adoration of the Magi” (1609 / 1628–29). A buyer will have to match the asking price of £7,695,860 (~$11 million) before an initial deadline of July 5.

Yasser Murtaja, a Palestinian journalist who worked on Ai Weiwei’s documentary Human Flow (2017), was shot and killed by Israeli troops while covering demonstrations at Gaza’s border. Murtaja is one of over 30 Palestinians to have been killed by Israeli fire at the border last week.

Art dealer and collector Todd Brassner was killed after a fire broke out at his apartment at Trump Tower on Saturday.

Tracey Emin announced that she was sexually assaulted by a female artist during an interview with MTV’s Staying Alive Foundation. Emin claimed that her attacker grabbed her by the crotch and slammed her against a wall. “It caused such a scene, and I told everyone what the person had done, much to their humiliation,” Emin stated. “Sexual harassment is sexual harassment regardless of what sex it is.”

The Smithsonian Institution plans to open its first base outside the US at the former site of the 2012 Olympics in East London. The Smithsonian’s regents gave formal approval to establish a a joint gallery and exhibition program with the Victoria & Albert Museum.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Philippe Vergne has placed his Hollywood Hills mansion on the market, fueling speculation that he may imminently vacate his post as director of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.

Suzanne Nossel, the chief executive officer of PEN America, published a statement after Yassmin Abdel-Magied — the founder of Youth Without Borders — was denied entry by US Immigration officials in Minneapolis. Abdel-Magied is scheduled to appear at the PEN World Voices Festival next week.

Canada’s new $10 banknote featuring Viola Desmond (© and courtesy Bank of Canada)

The Bank of Canada unveiled its new $10 banknote. The bill features Viola Desmond, a Nova Scotian businesswoman who challenged racial segregation at a cinema in New Glasgow in 1946. The banknote’s reverse includes an image of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.

The Royal British Columbia Museum announced a $500,000 grant to assist First Nations communities with the repatriation of cultural artifacts and ancestral remains from museums.

Nineteen organizations signed a letter calling on the Brooklyn Museum to form a “decolonization commission.”

A storm destroyed two minarets located at different entry gates of the Taj Mahal in India.

A New York State Supreme Court judge dismissed a suit brought by art dealer James Mayor against Pace Gallery president Arne Glimcher and the Agnes Martin catalogue raisonné committee regarding their exclusion of 13 works from Martin’s catalogue raisonné.

The Piero Manzoni Foundation in Milan was criticized for destroying 39 works it deemed to be forgeries, a decision authorized by only one of two separate court rulings regarding the works.

A Marc Chagall painting stolen 30 years ago from an elderly New York couple will be returned to the family’s estate after a man who acquired the work in the 1980s contacted the FBI’s Washington Field Office.

New York’s Postmasters Gallery joined the crowdfunding service Patreon. The online platform is used by creators to receive funding from supporters on a recurring basis. “Our program cannot survive in the system as it presently exists,” the gallery’s Patreon announcement states. “With more support from more patrons, we will be able to do more for artists, and thereby affect larger cultural change.”

JRR Tolkien’s The Fall of Gondolin will be published as a stand-alone book for the first time. Tolkien began writing the book in 1917 while recuperating from his service in World War I.

Yimei Wang, a 20-year old student at the ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena, was arrested on suspicion of extortion. According to police, Wang faked her own kidnapping in order to extort an $85,000 ransom from her father in China.

Transactions

Norman Rockwell, “Shuffleton’s Barbershop” (1950) (image via wikiart.org)

The Lucas Museum of Narrative Art acquired Norman Rockwell’s “Shuffleton’s Barbershop” (1950) from the Berkshire Museum for an undisclosed sum.

The National Endowment for the Humanities distributed $18.6 million in grants to 199 humanities projects across the US.

Artist Max Uhlig donated his home, studio, and entire oeuvre — comprising 15,214 objects — to the Cultural Foundation of the German state of Saxony.

Howard and Judie Ganek pledged to donate over 100 works to the Norton Museum of Art. The gift will include works by Damien Hirst, Anselm Kiefer, Sigmar Polke, Kara Walker, Nan Goldin, Lorna Simpson, and Pipilotti Rist.

François Pinault donated €3 million (~$3.7 million) toward the restoration of Victor Hugo’s home in Guernsey. The novelist lived in exile on the island from October 1855 until 1870.

The Morgan Library & Museum acquired a manuscript leaf illuminated by the Master of Catherine of Cleves.

Swann Auction Galleries‘ African American Fine Art auction set 12 auction records and raised a total of  $4,509,540, the largest sale total in the company’s history. Norman Lewis’s “Untitled” (1956), which had a high estimate of $250,000, sold for $725,000 with buyer’s premium.

Norman Lewis, “Untitled” (1956), oil on linen canvas, 34 x 50 in (courtesy Swann Auction Galleries)

Transitions

Max Hollein was appointed director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Nick Mitzevich was appointed director of the National Gallery of Australia.

Ellen Stofan, NASA’s former chief scientist, was appointed the first female director of the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum.

Debora L. Spar resigned as president of the Lincoln Center, one year after her appointment.

Ellen Salpeter will step down as director of the Institute of Contemporary Art in Miami in June.

Wolfgang Orthmayr was appointed interim managing director of Documenta.

Carol B. Cadou was appointed director and CEO of the Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library.

Nancy Ireson was appointed chief curator and deputy director for collections and exhibitions at the Barnes Foundation.

Cassandra Demski was appointed director of the Visual Arts Center of New Jersey’s Studio School.

Eva Franch i Gilabert was appointed director of the Architectural Association.

Emily Nemens was appointed editor of the Paris Review.

Kristina Crystal was appointed chief revenue officer of the Toledo Museum of Art. The museum promoted Adam Levine to deputy director and Lynn Miller to associate director.

Brittany Webb was appointed curator of the John Rhoden Collection at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.

Ashley DeHoyos was appointed assistant curator at DiverseWorks.

Helen Allen was appointed executive director of the Winter Antiques Show in New York.

Monika Grütters, Germany’s minister of culture, approved a three-year free admission policy to permanent collections at the Berliner Schloss museum complex.

The ceiling of Philip Johnson’s Glass House was fully renovated.

Sotheby’s scheduled its first-ever auction in India for December 2018.

The Outsider Art Fair cancelled its inaugural Basel edition.

Charles Moffett, the former vice president and co-head of day sales at Sotheby’s, will open a new gallery at 265 Canal Street next month.

Judith Linhares is now represented by P.P.O.W. Gallery.

Vivian Suter is now represented by Gladstone Gallery.

The James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art opened in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Installation view of the James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art (photo by Jacob M. Pierce/visitstpeteclearwater.com)

Accolades

The Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts announced the recipients of its 2018 Artist Project Grants.

The Bronx Council on the Arts awarded $227,215 to 60 grantees as part of its Community Engagement Grants program [via email announcement].

The American Academy in Rome announced the recipients of its 2018–19 Rome Prize and Italian Fellowships.

A Blade of Grass named its 2018 ABOG Fellows for Socially Engaged Art.

UrbanGlass announced the recipients of its 2018 Visiting Artist Fellowship, Studio Residents, and Inaugural Design Residency.

The Tribeca Film Festival named its 2018 Artists Award Program participants.

The National Portrait Gallery in London announced the shortlist for the 2018 BP Portrait Award.

Larry Gagosian was named a recipient of the 2018 Ellis Island Medal of Honor.

Opportunities

The Victoria & Albert Museum is accepting applications for its Videogames Residency through May 31.

Obituaries

La Wilson, “Blackout” (1984), 7.25 x 3.5 x 3 in (courtesy John Davis Gallery)

Gillian Ayres (1930–2018), painter.

Pat Barr (1934–2018), writer and social historian.

Robert T. Buck (1939–2018), art historian. Former director of the Brooklyn Museum.

John Ehle (1925–2018), novelist.

Ivor Guest (1920–2018), scholar of dance history.

Helen Mayer Harrison (1927–2018), artist, educator, and activist [via email announcement].

J. D. McClatchy (1945–2018), poet.

Donald McKayle (1930–2018), dancer and choreographer. First black man to direct and choreograph a Broadway musical.

Polixeni Papapetrou (1960–2018), photographer.

Yvonne Staples (1937–2018), member and manager of The Staple Singers.

Barbro Margareta Svensson (aka Lill-Babs) (1938–2018), singer.

Isao Takahata (1935–2018), animator. Co-founder of Studio Ghibli.

Cecil Taylor (1929–2018), jazz pianist and poet.

Marcia Thompson (1923–2018), arts and humanities advocate. Helped establish the National Arts Stabilization Fund.

La Wilson (1924–2018), assemblage artist.

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