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Art Movements

This week in art news: Gillian Wearing unveiled her statue of suffragist Millicent Fawcett, the Smithsonian deployed robot docents at six of its museums, and the United Arab Emirates donated $50 million toward rebuilding Mosul.

Gillian Wearing’s statue of Millicent Fawcett, Parliament Square London (photo by Caroline Teo, courtesy Greater London Authority)

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

Gillian Wearing’s statue of Suffragist leader Millicent Fawcett was unveiled in London’s Parliament Square. Fawcett is the first woman to be commemorated at the site, where she joins the company of 11 men, including Winston Churchill, Nelson Mandela, and Mahatma Gandhi. Wearing was commissioned to create the statue following a public campaign led by writer and activist Caroline Criado Perez. The phrase included on the statue’s banner — “Courage calls to courage everywhere” — is an excerpt from a speech made by Fawcett reflecting on the death of Emily Wilding-Davidson at the 1913 Epsom Derby.

The Smithsonian launched a fleet of four-foot-tall humanoid androids named Pepper at six of its museums. Costing $25,000 each, the robots are programmed to interact with museum visitors and encourage interest in less popular exhibits.

The United Arab Emirates, UNESCO, and Iraq agreed to a five-year plan for the rebuilding of Mosul following its occupation by ISIS. The project will involve the reconstruction and restoration of landmarks such as the Al-Nouri Mosque and Al-Hadba Minaret. The Emirates pledged $50.4 million in funding as part of the partnership.

Hailemichael Aberra Afework, the Ethiopian ambassador to the UK, called on the Victoria & Albert Museum to return a number of Ethiopian artifacts stolen by British troops during the Battle of Magdala (1868).

The CB1 Gallery announced it would permanently close next month, days after a number of artists signed an open letter accusing its proprietors of poor business practices.

Sotheby’s placed a $150 million estimate on the sale of Amedeo Modigliani’s “Nu couché (sur le côté gauche)” (1917), reportedly the highest-ever estimate placed on an artwork at auction.

Anti-opioid activists rallied outside the Smithsonian’s Arthur M. Sackler Gallery of Art. Arthur Sackler sold his shares in the Sackler family’s pharmaceutical company before the invention of Oxycontin and made no money from sales of the prescription painkiller; his brothers Raymond and Mortimer Sackler profited enormously from sales of Oxycontin.

(via newyorker.com)

The New Yorker’s April 23 issue features a detail of David Hockney’s “Tall Dutch Trees After Hobbema (Useful Knowledge)” (2017) on its cover. The work is directly inspired by Meindert Hobbema’s painting “The Avenue at Middelharnis” (1689).

Tate Britain announced the shortlist for the 2018 Turner Prize: Forensic Architecture, Naeem Mohaiemen, Charlotte Prodger and Luke Willis Thompson.

Ai Weiwei defended his decision to take a selfie with Alice Weidel, the leader of Germany’s far right nationalist Alternative for Germany (AfD) party. “No one has the right to judge who I choose to take a photograph with,” the artist told Frieze. “If you cannot tolerate free expression, your political views are even more terrifying.”

New Jersey governor Chris Christie commissioned Paul Newton to paint his official portrait at a cost to the taxpayer of $85,000, more than his three predecessors paid for their portraits combined.

Thieves stole half a dozen gilded leaves from the dome of the Secession Building in Vienna.

The Vatican commissioned 10 chapels that can be dismantled for the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale, marking the first time the Vatican has ever participated in the exhibition.

The Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority voted to sell Kerry James Marshall’s “Past Times,” consigning the work to Sotheby’s where it is estimated to sell for between $8 to $12 million. The MPEA purchased the work in 1997 for $25,000.

The city of Pittsburgh removed its controversial statue of Antebellum songwriter Stephen Collins Foster.

Juan de Zurbarán’s “Still Life with Lemons, Lilies, Carnations, Roses, and a Lemon Blossom in a Wicker Basket, together with a Goldfinch perched on a Porcelain Bowl of Water, on top of a Silver Dish, arranged upon a Stone Ledge” (ca 1643–49), went on display at the National Portrait Gallery in London. It is the first work by Zurbarán to enter a UK public collection.

Magnum Photos launched the first edition of its new newspaper, Magnum Chronicles. The first issue is entitled “A Brief Visual History in the Time of ISIS,” and includes a selection of archival images spanning from 1941 to the present.

Google and Facebook followed Apple’s example in substituting their gun emoji for water pistol emoji.

Transactions

Betye Saar, “I’ll Bend But I Will Not Break” (1998), mixed media tableau: vintage ironing board, flat iron, chain, and white bedsheet installation, 80 x 96 x 36 in, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, gift of Lynda and Stewart Resnick through the 2018 Collectors Committee (© Betye Saar, courtesy the artist and Roberts Projects, Los Angeles, California; photo by Tim Lanterman and courtesy Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art)

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art acquired 10 works — including pieces by Betye Saar, Martha Boto, and Ruth Asawa — over the course of its 32nd annual Collectors Committee fundraiser.

The Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund pledged $10 million in funding for arts programs focused on mental health issues in New York City.

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation awarded a total of $970,000 to eight US museums for the hire of digital and tech staff.

The Bowdoin College Museum of Art acquired nearly 350 works from the estate of Marion Boulton “Kippy” Stroud (1939–2015) and the personal collection of artist Walter Pach (1883–1958).

The University of Toronto’s Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library acquired what is thought to be the oldest English-language book in Canada.

Donald and Barbara Tellalian donated their collection of Coptic textiles to the McMullen Museum of Art at Boston College.

Textile fragment with heraldic birds (Egypt, 7th–8th century CE), wool on linen, 10.3 x 4.3 in, McMullen Museum of Art, Boston College; Tellalian Collection

Transitions

Lionel Barber was appointed chair of the Tate’s board of trustees.

Demetrios T. Patrinos was appointed chair of the Andy Warhol Museum’s board of trustees. The museum also announced the appointments of Brian Ludwick and Henry Simonds to the board.

Lee Glazer was appointed founding director of the Lunder Institute for American Art at Colby College in Waterville, Maine.

Rochelle Steiner was appointed associate director and chief curator of the Vancouver Art Gallery.

London’s Institute Of Contemporary Arts launched an Independent Film Council to advise on the museum’s activities. Inaugural members include Tilda Swinton, Laura Poitras, and Laura Mulvey.

Lindsay Pollock, the former editor-in-chief of Art in America, was appointed chief communications and content officer of the Whitney Museum of American Art.

The Dallas Museum of Art appointed K.C. Hurst as director of marketing and communications, and announced the promotion of Jessica Harden to director of design and content strategy and the creation of a new Design and Interpretation department.

William B. Crow was appointed director of the Lehigh University Art Galleries and professor of practice in the department of art, architecture, and design.

Cristian Valsecchi was appointed general manager of Fondazione Prada.

Riley Robinson was appointed interim executive director of Artpace.

Makeba Clay was appointed chief diversity officer of the Phillips Collection.

Cameran Mason was appointed chief development officer of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Jami Powell was appointed as the Hood Museum’s first associate curator of Native American art [via email announcement].

Evgeny Gusyatinskiy was appointed 2018 curator of Garage Screen, the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art’s outdoor summer film program.

Peter Bläuer, the founder and director of the Liste art fair, will retire.

Nanna Hjortenberg was appointed director of the Chart Art Fair.

The San Francisco Conservatory of Music announced the construction of the Ute and William K. Bowes, Jr. Center for Performing Arts.

The Tai Kwun Center for Heritage and Arts will open in Hong Kong on May 25.

The School of Art at Carnegie Mellon University announced a new, 9,000-square-foot graduate facility.

New York’s Burning in Water gallery opened a new space in San Francisco.

Art dealer James Gardner, the founder and owner of the Frutta gallery in Rome, opened a new space in Glasgow.

Galerie Samy Abraham will permanently close after the end of its current show.

The David Risley Gallery permanently closed.

Real Fine Arts permanently closed.

Signs & Symbols gallery will open on the Lower East Side on Sunday.

Accolades

Sophia Al-Maria, “The Magical State” (2017), single-channel video (color, sound); 6 minutes, 14 seconds (courtesy the artist and The Third Line, Dubai)

Sophia Al-Maria was named the inaugural winner of the Dunya Contemporary Art Prize.

Alys Tomlinson was awarded top prize in the 2018 Sony World Photography Awards.

Ibrahim Nasrallah was awarded the 2018 International Prize for Arab Fiction.

The MacDowell Colony awarded fellowships to 84 artists.

The Getty Foundation and the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) announced announced the inaugural recipients of the Getty/ACLS Postdoctoral Fellowships in the History of Art.

Queer|Art announced its 2017–2018 Mentors.

The Victoria & Albert Museum announced the shortlist for its 2018 Illustration Awards.

Opportunities

The SculptureCenter launched its open call for curatorial fellow and artist proposals.

AIR Gallery launched an open call for its annual postcard show, Wish You Were Here 17. The exhibition is dedicated to immigrant rights and reproductive justice advocate Alejandra Pablos, who was detained last month for protesting against the Department of Homeland Security earlier this year.

The W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund announced its first annual Student Grant for photography. Deadline for entry is May 31, 2018.

Obituaries

Mary Giles, “Fog Break” (2011), waxed linen, iron, brass, 11 x 26 x 9 in (photo by Tom Grotta, courtesy browngrotta arts)

Abbas (1944–2018), photographer.

Laura Aguilar (1959–2018), photographer.

Tim Bergling (aka Avicii) (1989–2018), DJ and producer.

Angelos Delivorias (1937–2018), former director of the Benaki Museum (1974–2014).

Bob Dorough (1923–2018), singer, pianist, and composer.

Mary Giles (1944–2018), fiber artist.

Beatrix Hamburg (1923–2018), psychiatrist. First black woman to graduate from Vassar College (1944) and Yale Medical School (1948).

Lee Holley (1932–2018), cartoonist. Best known for “Ponytail.”

Joan Konner (1931–2018), television executive, producer, and documentarian.

Ronald Noorman (1951–2018), artist.

Richard Oldenburg (1933–2018), former director of the Museum of Modern Art (1972–1995).

Polixeni Papapetrou (1960–2018), photographer.

Sergio Pitol (1933–2018), writer, translator, and diplomat.

Kirk Simon (1954–2018), documentarian.

Emma Smith (1923–2018), writer.

James Yood (1952–2018), arts writer and educator.

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