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Art Movements: Swedish Royal Burial Crowns Stolen, Missing Art from British Parliament

Swedish crown jewel thieves escape by motorboat, American and British Vogue welcome long overdue “firsts” for Black artists, and two initiatives to support Puerto Rican art are announced.

Royal burial crowns, stolen by thieves on bike and motorboat (image via Swedish press release)

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

On Tuesday, July 31, three Swedish royal burial crowns were stolen from their display at the Strängnäs Cathedral near Lake Malar outside Stockholm. Commonly misreported as the Swedish crown jewels, the antiquities were intended as monarchial symbols for the royal tombs, located within the cathedral. The relics host rock crystals in lieu of authentic jewels, meaning they are worth little. The thieves broke the protective glass and made out with two crowns and an orb, fleeing, in broad daylight, on bicycles and then reportedly escaping by boat. The fugitives are still at large. Authorities have registered the missing artifacts with Interpol and have divers searching the lake.

224 works of art in the British Parliamentary collection have gone missing, including William John MacLeod, “Houses of Parliament, Burning of the Debating Chamber from Star Chamber Court” (1941) (posted below). The collection has accumulated over 9,000 works since 1841, the majority on view at the Westminster estate. Authorities from the House have blamed database errors for the unaccounted-for paintings, illustrations, etchings, prints, and cartoons, but cannot be sure if the artwork has been stolen.

William John MacLeod, “Houses of Parliament, Burning of the Debating Chamber from Star Chamber Court” (1941) (courtesy of the Parliamentary Art Collection, © the artist’s estate)

An artwork honoring 34,361 refugees and migrants who passed away while journeying to the United Kingdom has been destroyed. The list was produced for World Refugee Day and was plastered across public hoardings in Chinatown as part of the Liverpool Biennial.

A German farmer was awarded nearly $1 million by the German government after archaeologists uncovered an ancient Roman bronze horse head on his property in 2009. Nearly ten years later, German courts have settled that the man is owed a cut of the rare find following the farmer’s lawsuit.

The remains of a Roman library has been unearthed by archaeologists in Cologne. Assumed to be the earliest public library in Germany, it’s reported that the massive building is up to 2,000 years old and likely held up to 20,000 scrolls.

A box of human remains was dropped off anonymously at the office of a national Inuit organization in Ottawa. The package included a human jawbone and several back teeth, Inuit artifacts, and a note. Natan Obed, president of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, says the ancestral remains hold a deep spiritual significance, and the unceremonious return of the items was heartbreaking.

Cartoonist Avi Katz was fired from the Jerusalem Post over a drawing comparing Benjamin Netanyahu to the dictatorial pigs of Animal Farm. The Jerusalem Post defends its decision, saying, “Freedom of speech has limits.”

Beyoncé will wield full executive control over Vogue’s 2018 September issue, which is often considered its most important. The artist has reportedly selected Tyler Mitchell, the magazine’s first Black cover photographer, to photograph her.

Rihanna appears as the first Black woman on the cover of British Vogue‘s September issue, the inaugural September installment under the control of recent Editor-in-chief Edward Enniful.

Artists Alliance Inc. and the Clemente Soto Vélez Cultural & Educational Center have announced a 6-to-12 month residency program servicing artists from Puerto Rico through a partnership with Embajada [via email announcement].

Northwestern University received a grant of $500,000 from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to fund a two-year program in Puerto Rico to foster their arts community after Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

Angela Gulbenkian is embroiled in a lawsuit, being accused of fraud after the sale of a $1.375 million Yayoi Kusama pumpkin that the buyer claims to have never received.

Vans announced a collaboration with the Van Gogh Museum to produce a collection featuring paintings by the Post-Impressionist.

Marina Abramović recorded a video in solidarity with jailed Pussy Riot artists.

The nonprofit Pocono Center for the Arts is planning a new center to directly support artists from the region.

Transactions:

Jasper Johns, "Untitled"(1991), watercolor, pencil, and graphite on paper, 27 1/2 x 41 in. Artwork © Jasper Johns / Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York (photo by Kris Graves)
Jasper Johns, “Untitled”(1991), watercolor, pencil, and graphite on paper, 27 1/2 x 41 in. Artwork © Jasper Johns / Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York (photo by Kris Graves)

The Jewish Museum received a major gift of 70 artworks from the Barnett and Annalee Newman Foundation. In addition, the Foundation donated $10 million for the endowment of the Jewish Museum’s first contemporary art curatorial position, for the care of the new collection, and for future institutional use. The gift includes works by Jasper Johns, Camille Pissarro, Robert Rauschenberg, Mark Rothko, Frank Stella, and the late Barnett Newman himself, among others. The artworks will be on display in a series of exhibitions beginning in 2019 [via email announcement].

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

Transitions:

Sharon Louden, artistic director of the Chautauqua Institution’s Visual Arts Program (image courtesy of Sharon Louden)

Klaus Biesenbach appointed director of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles

Laura Hoptman named director of the Drawing Center in New York

Sharon Louden appointed artistic director of the Chautauqua Institution’s Visual Arts Program in Western New York

Rhana Devenport elected the new director of Adelaide’s Art Gallery of South Australia, the gallery’s first female director

Charles Saumarez Smith appointed senior director of Blain Southern gallery in London

Marta Gili stepped down as director of Paris’s Jeu de Paume

Sarah J. Rogers appointed director of the Kent State University Museum in Ohio

Vera Grant elected deputy director of curatorial affairs and curator of modern art at the University of Michigan Museum in Ann Arbor, Michigan

Jason T. Busch appointed director of the American Folk Art Museum in New York

August Uribe appointed head of Sotheby’s Impressionist & Modern Art Department in New York [via email announcement]

Julian Dawes and Scott Niichel appointed co-deputy heads of the Sotheby’s Impressionist & Modern Art Department in New York [via email announcement].

The Miles McEnery Gallery will open a second space at 520 W 21st Street in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood

The Nicelle Beauchene Gallery will open a second apartment space in Manhattan’s Lower East Side called “Third Floor”

Peter Freeman, Inc. now represents Fernanda Gomes

Mark Justiniani will represent the Philippines in the 2019 Venice Biennale

Dane Mitchell will represent New Zealand in the 2019 Venice Biennale

Tamás Waliczky will represent Hungary in the 2019 Venice Biennale

Accolades:

The Center for the Advanced Study in the Visual Arts at the National Gallery of Art announced its fellowship recipients.

Winners of the X Marks the Spot: Women of the New York Studio School awards have been announced.

The African American Intellectual History Society announced its new editorial board of scholars for its blog “Black Perspectives.”

Exhibitions:

Studio Drift’s “Franchise Freedom” (photo by and courtesy of James Harris)

FuturePace artist Studio Drift’s drone-formation “Franchise Freedom” will visit Europe for the first time August 10-12, flying over the IJ river at 9:30 pm. The exhibition is part of their current retrospective, Coded Nature, on view at Stedelijk Museum until August 26. [via email announcement]

180 works by Cindy Sherman will be on display in the National Portrait Gallery for her first UK retrospective.

Andy Warhol’s Shadows will be shown in New York for the first time in 20 years by the Dia Art Foundation at Calvin Klein, Inc.’s headquarters in Chelsea. The Shadows series includes a total of 102 prints, with the final number of canvases determined by the exhibition space. [via email announcement]

Stefan Simchowitz is opening a temporary gallery, “The Newsstand Project,” in a former news kiosk on August 5, 10am-1pm, in Los Angeles.

Ulay will exhibit seldom seen works at London’s Richard Saltoun Gallery, which will now represent the performance artist.

Opportunities:

Rhizome announced an open call for its 2018 microgrants, awarding between $500 and $1,500 for projects related to net art, virtual reality, or poetry.

The history department of the University at Buffalo advertised an opening for an associate professorship position in the history of slavery and the African diaspora in North America to 1865, to begin August 2019.

Obituaries:

Pat de Groot in her studio in 2013 (photo by Jennifer Samet for Hyperallergic)

Pat de Groot (1930–2018), painter well known for her depictions of Provincetown and Cape Cod.

Antonio Dias(1944–2018), fine artist and Guggenheim Fellowship for Creative Arts recipient.

Judith Appelbaum (1939–2018), editor, author, and publishing consultant.

Bill Loud (1921–2018), the father figure in PBS’s An American Family, television’s first reality show.

Mai Skaf (1969–2018), Syrian actress, revolutionary activist, and outspoken critic of Bashar Al Assad.

Michael Howell (1957–2018), expert production designer in film, television, theater, and fashion.

Christopher Gibbs (1938–2018), antiques dealer, interior decorator, and tastemaker who worked closely with the Rolling Stones.

Charles Hamlen (1943–2018), classical music manager.

Vladimir Voinovich (1932–2018), Russian dissident and satirical novelist

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Editor’s Note: A previous version of this post mistakenly reported the Swedish Crown Jewels were stolen, when it was the royal burial crowns that were stolen.

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