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Art Movements: German Video Games Can Now Feature Swastikas, Bloomberg Grants Small Institutions $43 Million

Outlines of buried ancient structures appear during a UK heat wave, and art organizations make steps toward racial equity in the field.

Wrightwood 659 Gallery (Photo: William Zbaron/Rogert Sharoff)

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

A new gallery space designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Tadao Ando, called Wrightwood 659, will open in Chicago‘s Lincoln Park this October. The residential-home-turned-gallery is intended to exhibit socially engaged architecture and art, spanning 35,000 square feet throughout four floors. Its inaugural exhibition will occupy three floors of exhibition space to house over 100 Le Corbusier drawings, photographs, and models in Ando and Le Corbusier: Masters of Architecture. Wrightwood 659 was co-founded by media publisher Fred Eychaner, who is behind the Alphawood Foundation, a grant-making private foundation working in arts education, LGBTQ rights, HIV/AIDS advocacy, and civil and human rights.

Dry, hot weather in the UK has scorched the country’s soil to reveal cropmarks, indicating buried sculptures beneath the earth. The markings reveal evidence of ancient processional routes up to 5,000 years, Stone Age structures, Roman farmland, Iron Age settlements, and an Elizabethan hall.

The Cleveland Museum of Art announced a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Plan. The museum aims to “eliminate barriers for historically underrepresented groups in every aspect of the museum’s operations” through a series of reforms, including new hiring and training processes, relationships with vendors, collecting and exhibiting art, and education.

The Ford and W.K. Kellogg foundations and Borealis Philanthropy have partnered to launch the Racial Equity in Philanthropy Fund. The fund has granted $14 million so far to promote racial equity and diversity within the philanthropic and nonprofit sectors.

Iranian artist Parviz Tanavoli was banned from leaving the country on charges of “the spreading of disinformation.” He is being held on charges made by former Tehran gallery owner, Maryam Goudarzi, who says the artist owes her $6 million worth of sculptures. The artist says the works were traded for five more recent pieces.

Recent tests on the “Turin Mummy” have lead anthropologists to discover that Egyptians started the process of embalming bodies 1,500 years earlier than previously believed. The mummy, which has never undergone modern conservation processes, dates between 3700 BCE and 3500 BCE.

The world’s oldest cheese was unearthed from the tomb of Ptahmes, mayor of Memphis in Egypt during the 13th century BCE. Archaeologists found a jar containing a solidified white-colored substance, which turned out to be a solid cheese made from cow milk and sheep or goat milk.

A group of Argentinian women in the arts, Nosotras Proponemos (We Propose), are protesting the Senate’s August 9 rejection of a bill proposed to legalize abortion in the country. August 8 demonstrations supporting the bill were attended by 1 million people; the group of women gathered in opposition of the legislative decision, wearing green to signal their movement.

German officials have ruled that German video games can now feature swastikas and other Nazi symbols, which were previously banned. Films are exempt from this legislation, and many gaming advocates argued that video games should receive the same treatment. In the popular video game Wolfenstein II, images of the swastika were replaced, and Adolf Hitler’s mustache removed, in the German version of the game.

A 12th-century statue of Buddha stolen from India nearly 60 years ago was returned to the country’s High Commissioner to the UK on August 15. The bronze statue is one of 14 artifacts plundered ransacked from the Archaeological Museum in Nalanda, eastern India, in 1961. It was discovered at a Londons Antiques Fair in March by the Association for Research into Crimes Against Art and the India Pride Project.

Eight objects stolen from the Sumerian city of Girsu, previously owned by the British Museum, have been returned to Iraqi officials. The pieces are between 2,000 and 5,000 years old and will go on display at the National Museum of Iraq in Baghdad.

Bloomberg Philanthropies will endow $43 million through its Arts Innovation and Management Training Program. The program serves to provide financial, operating, and arts management support for small and midsize cultural organizations. They have announced 45 cultural organizations in Atlanta chosen to participate. The organization also revealed 47 institutions in Washington, DC and 38 in Pittsburgh selected to participate thus far.

The Philadelphia Art Collective Space 1026 will temporarily close after 20 years in its location in Philadelphia’s Chinatown. Housing more than 20 artists’ studios, an exhibition space, and a screen-printing facility, the building was sold to a developer for $3.3 million after rents were raised. The collective will hold a farewell exhibition in December.

A survey of 1,745 Berlin artists has revealed a 28% gender pay gap, and revealed 50% of artists in the city make less than €5,000 (~$5,600) on their art annually.

The National Endowment for the Humanities announced recipients of $43.1 million grant awards and offers.

Transactions:

Augustus John's portrait of Dylan Thomas (1937-38), oil on canvas, (copyright: © The estate of Augustus John / Bridgeman Images)
Augustus John’s portrait of Dylan Thomas (1937-38), oil on canvas, (copyright: © The estate of Augustus John / Bridgeman Images)

The National Portrait Gallery has purchased a painting of a young Dylan Thomas (c. 1937) painted by his friend Augustus John. The painting has been on long-term loan to the Gallery and up on display for the past 20 years. In a deal brokered by Christie’s, the painting sold for £214,750, with assistance from the National Heritage Memorial Fund (£94,800), the Art Fund (£70,000), and the Thompson Family Charitable Trust (£49,950). This is one of two portraits by John, with the other portrait on display in the National Museum Wales. In 2019, the newly acquired portrait will go on loan to the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery in Swansea, Thomas’s hometown. This is a part of the Gallery’s Coming Home project, in which 50 portraits will travel to the places they are most closely associated with.

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

Transitions:

Bahia Ramos (image courtesy of the Wallace Foundation)

Bahia Ramos was appointed director of arts of the Wallace Foundation in New York City [via email announcement].

Cheryl Young will retire from her position as executive director of the MacDowell Colony in New York City [via email announcement].

The Baltimore Museum of Art appointed Asma Naeem as chief curator; Andaleeb Badiee Banta as senior curator of prints, drawings, and photographs; and Virginia Anderson as curator of American art [via email announcement].

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston appointed Akili Tommasino as associate curator of modern and contemporary art; Anne E. Havinga as chair of the museum’s photography department; and Christine Kondoleon as chair of the ancient Greek and Roman art department [via email announcement].

Marnie P. Weir was appointed director of education and experience at the Worcester Art Museum [via email announcement].

Caroline Fowler was appointed associate director of research and academic program at the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts [via email announcement].

Susan R. Ewing was appointed interim director of the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.

National Endowment for the Humanities appointed Christopher Thornton as its new director of research [via email announcement].

The Gagosian Gallery in New York has hired art dealer Andrew Fabricant, who began his professional career at the Gagosian in Los Angeles in 1983 [via email announcement].

Hope Alswang will retire as director of the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Makeba Clay joined the National Advisory Council for Museum Hue.

Charles Gaines is now represented by Hauser & Wirth [via email announcement].

Accolades:

Titus Kaphar (image courtesy of deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum)

Martin Puryear has been selected to represent the United States in the 2019 Venice BiennaleBrooke Kamin Rapaport, the deputy director and senior curator of the Madison Square Park Conservancy, was selected as the commissioner and curator of the US pavilion.

Titus Kaphar was awarded the Rappaport Prize, for contemporary artists with strong connections to New England, from the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum in Lincoln, Massachusetts. The artist will receive $25,000.

Ai Weiwei will receive the artistic expression award at the PEN America 2018 LitFest Gala in November [via email announcement].

Mika Rottenberg was awarded the 2019 Kurt Schwitters Prize. The artist will receive $28,600 and an exhibition at the Sprengel Museum in Hannover, Germany.

Opportunities:

The A.I.R. Fellowship Program is inviting self-identified women artists who have not had a solo exhibition at a permanent commercial gallery in New York City in the last 10 years to apply. Recipients will receive a stipend, solo exhibition in the Fellowship Gallery, close collaboration with an A.I.R. artist-mentor, professional development workshops, and more. The application deadline is October 24.

The College Art Association announced its 2018 Professional Development Fellowships program, which supports artists, designers, craftspersons, historians, curators, and critics who are enrolled in MFA, PhD, and other terminal degree programs. Fellows are awarded $10,000 unrestricted grants. The deadline for the PhD fellowship is October 1, and November 16 for the MFA Fellowship.

The Sustainable Arts Foundation will award $5,000 each to 20 visual artists and writers who parent a child under the age of 18. Writers specializing in creative nonfiction, early and middle-grade fiction, fiction, graphic novel, long-form journalism, picture books, playwriting, poetry, and young adult fiction, and visual artists across mediums, are invited to apply. Recipients can use the funds as they see fit (child care, workspaces, new equipment, research, travel). Applications close August 31.

Through an initiative called She Built NYC, the City of New York is scouting artists interested in constructing a public monument that honors women’s history. Visual artists or artist teams working in any and all media are invited to apply by September 30.

Obituaries:

Aretha Franklin, 1967 (image via Wikimedia Commons)

Aretha Franklin (1942–2018), prodigious singer widely revered as the “Queen of Soul.” Considered one of the greatest singers of all time, she sang at the funeral of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and at the inauguration of President Barack Obama, and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005.

Katie Cannon (1949–2018), author and ethicist with a specialty in womanist and black theology

Fakir Musafar (1930–2018), “body play” performance artist and leader in the modern primitive movement

Melanie Kaye-Kantrowitz (1945–2018), feminist activist and author

Morgana King (1930–2018), jazz singer and actress who played Mama Corleone in the Godfather

Moshe Mizrahi (1931–2018), Oscar-winning foreign film director

Muthuvel Karunanidhi (1924–2018), screenwriter and Indian politician

Arvonne Fraser (1925–2018), women’s rights advocate and political campaigner

Anya Krugovoy Silver (1969–2018), poet who wrote of her struggles with illness and mortality

Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul (1932–2018), author and recipient of the 2001 Nobel Prize for Literature

Anita Miller (1926–2018), co-founder of independent publishing house Academy Chicago Press

Burt Britton (1934–2018), legendary bookseller at Manhattan’s Strand Bookstore

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