A fragment from a 5th-century BCE Persian bas-relief that was stolen from the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in 2011 and then later seized from a New York art fair in 2017. A New York Supreme Court judge ordered a Persian bas-relief be returned to Iran after it was stolen from the country over 80 years ago. (image courtesy Quebec Provincial Police via CBC)

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 Minneapolis Institute of Art has announced plans to present Hearts of Our People: Native Women Artists, the museum claims it is the first major thematic exhibition headlining art by Native American women. The show is presented by the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community and will be organized by Dr. Jill Ahlberg Yohe, associate curator of Native American Art at the museum, and Teri Greeves, an artist, curator, and citizen of the Kiowa Nation. The museum will host an advisory panel featuring Native women artists and Native scholars to assist in the curatorial process. The show is set to open in May 2019 at the MIA, and will travel throughout the US.

The fires that are ravaging the countryside and suburbs around Athens have destroyed late Greek director Theo Angelopoulos‘ archives. The filmmaker, won the prestigious Palme d’Or at Cannes in 1998 for Eternity and a Day and he’s credited with pioneering Greece’s “new wave” cinema.

The formerly anonymous philanthropist behind the grant initiative “Anonymous Was a Woman,” which gives support to women artists over 40, was revealed as former artist Susan Unterberg. Through $25,000 grants, she has given $5.5 million to underrecognized women artists over the past 22 years, including Carrie Mae Weems and Amy Sherald.

On July 21, Iranian gallerist Afarin Neyssari and her husband, Iranian-American art dealer Karan Vafardi, were released on bail after spending two years in a Tehran’s Evin prison. The two were imprisoned in July 2016 by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, charged for attempting to overthrow the Iranian government. Initially, Neysarri was sentenced to 16 years, and Vafardi was sentenced to 27. They paid bail totaling IRR400bn (~$10 million) and are waiting in Tehran for a decision on their appeal request.

Two paintings, “Girls on the Lawn” by Pierre-August Renoir and “Holy Family” by Peter Paul Rubens, were stolen in a heist reportedly involving eight burglars. Italian police have recovered the paintings and have suspects in custody. Nenad Jovanovic is presumed to be the head of the elaborate scheme, having posed as a rabbi and Israeli diplomat interested in purchasing the works.

A New York Supreme Court judge ordered a Persian bas-relief be returned to Iran after it was stolen from the country over 80 years ago. The relief dates around 500 BCE. The Manhattan district attorney’s office seized it in October 2017 from the Park Avenue Armory, where it was set for sale at an art fair. The bas-relief was reportedly stolen from Tehran after a 1933 excavation by the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago. It was donated to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, where it was stolen again in 2011, and subsequently returned. Rupert Wace, a London-based dealer, and his partner Sam Fogg were the most recent owners of the work after purchasing it through the Montreal Museum. They released the relief after officials presented them with proof of theft.

Nonprofit ART 2030, founded by Danish collector Luise Faurschou, has an initiative related to the United Nations’ 17-point agenda focused on poverty eradication and heightened accessibility to climate change reform and clean water. The organization will host an event series, “a week of Art for the Global Goals,” in New York City during the UN General Assembly in September.

Two suspects were charged regarding the theft of $8 million worth of rare books from the Carnegie Library in Pittsburg over the last 20 years. The allegations accuse Greg Priore, former archivist at the Carnegie Library, of removing pages from rare books and selling them through Caliban Book Shop, owned by John Schulman. Priore has been charged with theft, receiving stolen property, conspiracy, retail theft, library theft, criminal mischief, and forgery. Schulman, a rare book dealer, has been charged with theft, receiving stolen property, dealing in proceeds of illegal activity, conspiracy, retail theft, theft by deception, forgery, and deceptive business practices.

The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis has announced that it has formed an Indigenous Public Art Selection Committee to commission a Native artist to create a public work of art in the Center’s sculpture garden [via email announcement].

A cryptic black sarcophagus unearthed in Egypt has been opened — and revealed to host three skeletons, and a pool of sewage water so putrid excavators were unable to open the tomb without assistance from Egyptian military engineers.

The Jewish Museum in Berlin pulled a Palestinian-born speaker associated with BDS after complaints from Israel’s Ambassador to Germany, Jeremy Issacharoff. Sa’ed Atshan had been slated to give a talk titled “On Being Queer and Palestinian in East-Jerusalem” for the museum’s exhibition Welcome to Jerusalem.

The British House of Lords released a statement, “Brexit: Movement of People in the Cultural Sector,” warning the country of the negative effects Brexit might have on non-British cultural workers and contributors. The statement warns, “without effective reciprocal arrangements for movement of people between the UK and the EU, the UK may see a decline in skilled cultural sector workers coming to the country.”

Central Park will receive its first statue of women, adding to the list of the existing five historical statues in New York City featuring named women (as opposed to 145 of men). The sculpture will feature Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony.

Beijing galleries in the Caochangdi art district are set for demolition, given only thirteen days eviction notice.

The Denny Gallery has renamed itself as the Denny Dimin Gallery. Founded by Elizabeth Denny in 2013, the name change was initiated to reflect the gallery’s relationship with Robert Dimin, who joined as director and partner in 2015 [via email announcement].

The Outsider Art Fair, dedicated to representing art brut, self-taught, and outsider artists, has released its list of exhibitors for its 6th annual Paris edition. The fair will be moving to Atelier Richelieu and taking place from October 18-21, 2018. Several new exhibitors to the fair include Artpool Projects‘ presentation of Ghanaian artist Kwame Akoto; Copenhagen Outsider Art Gallery, which will debut work from a selection of Danish ateliers; Galerie Atelier Herenplaats (Rotterdam); Galerie LJ (Paris); Gliacrobati (Turin); Le Moineau Écarlate (Paris); Morrelandmore (Paris), which will exhibit ceramic sculptures by French actress and artist Florence Thomassin; and Tak Gallery (Poznań, Poland), the first Polish gallery dedicated to promoting Polish art brut  [via email announcement].

The Queens Museum has announced the exhibitors for its annual Queens International. 43 Queens-based artists are set to participate. The museum will be partnering with the Queens Library to present certain works in local library branches. The QI 2018 website will operate as a digital experience of the show. The Queens International opens on October 7, 2018. (press release)


Willem de Kooning (1968) (image courtesy of Wikimedia)

Chelsea gallerist David Killen purchased a New Jersey storage unit for $15,000 that reportedly contains six previously unknown paintings by Abstract Expressionist Willem de Kooning and one painting by Paul Klee. Inside the unit were unclaimed works from the studio of deceased art conservator Orrin Riley and his partner Susanne Schnitzer. Killen acquired over 200 works that he assumed were “minor works by minor artists,” but when he stumbled upon boxes labeled “de Kooning,” he called on the artist’s former assistant and art restoration expert Lawrence Castagna, who told the New York Post, “In my opinion, they are [de Koonings],” adding, “There’s no doubt about it.”

This and other notable sales and acquisitions are chronicled in our latest Transactions story.


(image courtesy of V. Mitch McEwen)

The New Museum named V. Mitch McEwan as the curator of its IdeasCity initiative.

Contemporary art and design center Spike Island appointed Robert Leckie its new director.

The Rubin Museum appointed Daneyal Mahmood as its Director of Exhibitions [via email announcement].

The DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum promoted Sarah Montross to the role of curator. The museum named Jennifer Klahn its deputy director for external affairs.

The Dallas Museum of Art named Dr. Heather Ecker as the Museum’s First Marguerite S. Hoffman and Thomas W. Lentz Curator of Islamic and Medieval Art [via email announcement].

Neue Galerie New York appointed Michelle Perlin as Director of Communications [via email announcement].

The Art Center of Waco appointed Claire Sexton as its new director.

The University of Michigan Museum of Art named Vera Grant Deputy Director of Curatorial Affairs and Curator of Modern Art.

The High Museum of Art appointed Claudia Einecke as Curator of European Art [via email announcement].

BRIC named Kristina Newman-Scott as its new president [via email announcement].

The Los Angeles Philharmonic named Philip Koester as Vice President of Marketing and Communications [via email announcement].

Dolla Merrillees stepped down as director of the Australian Powerhouse Museum.


Hyperallergic writer Sarah Rose Sharp and contributors Coco Fusco and Mark Ray Rinaldi are three of the eight recipients of the 2018 Rabkin Foundation grant. They each received a $50,000 grant for their arts writing and journalism.

The New York Public Library has awarded their prestigious Library Lions accolade, an award of honoring those who have dramatically shaped culture, to Claudia RankineRon Chernow, Francis Ford Coppola, Jessye Norman, and Elizabeth Strout.

Write on Art,” an initiative intended to combat the decline of art history education in UK schools, has published their selected finalist’s work.

The Rose Art Museum has named artist Tuesday Smillie the recipient of their 2018–2019 Ruth Ann and Nathan Perlmutter Artist-in-Residence Award and will be hosting the artist’s first solo museum show  [via email announcement].

Beyoncé Knowles-Carter has announced the eight recipients of her 2018 Homecoming Scholars Award Program, an initiative to grant scholarships to students excelling at Historically Black Colleges and Universities, announced after her infamous HBCU-themed Coachella performance this April.


Foundwork screenshot (Image courtesy of Foundwork)

Foundwork, an online initiative founded by gallerist Adam Yokell, operates as a digital gallery and archive intended as a democratic tool for underrecognized artists to share their work and connect with curators and a larger art market. Initially only available to art students, the site has expanded their network to reach self-taught artists and artists with disabilities. They now offer free services to artists associated with recent partners Fountain House Gallery, Galerie Atelier Herenplaats, and Creativity Explored. Memberships cost $4/month, with free access also available to enrolled undergraduate and graduate art students. Artists can create a profile on their website.

Gulf Coast is accepting entries for three writing competitions:


(Image courtesy of FEMEN.org)

Oksana Shachko (1987–2018), feminist activist and founder of famed Ukranian group FEMEN.

Angela Bowen (1936–2018), dance teacher and vocal lesbian, black, and feminist activist.

Elbert Howard (1938–2018), community organizer and founder of the Black Panther Party.

Shinobu Hashimoto (1918–2018), Kurosawa screenwriter.

Madeleine Kamman (1931–2018), French chef and restaurateur.

Cindy Joseph (1951–2018), model and pioneer for age-inclusivity in the fashion world.

Christine Nöstlinger (1936–2018), children’s book author.

Jonathan Gold (1960–2018), legendary food critic and former performance artist.

Stephen Saban (1946–2018), influential social columnist and artist.

Lucy Birley (1960–2018), model, socialite, and fashion muse.

Jasmine Weber is an artist, writer, and former news editor at Hyperallergic. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter.