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Art Movements

Two PEN-award winning journalists sentenced to 7 years in jail, a controversial statue of Erdoğan stirs controversy in Germany, and Art Basel takes up a new economic model.

Myanmar police outside a courtroom in the Insein Township, where Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were being tried (image via Wikimedia)

Art Movements is a weekly collection of news, developments, and stirrings in the art world. Subscribe to receive these posts as a weekly newsletter. Listen to our weekly podcast of the same name on iTunes.

Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, journalists, were found guilty and sentenced to seven years in prison by a Myanmar court. They have been in detention for over eight months under the colonial-era Official Secrets Act. The two had been investigating ethnic violence against Muslim Rohingyas in Rakhine state, Myanmar. Reuters (for whom the journalists had been investigating and writing) reports that the hearings reveal a lack of evidence and testimony on behalf of a police officer that blatantly admits the writers were deliberately framed by authorities for their supposed conspiracy against the state. The two received the 2018 PEN/Barbey Freedom to Write Award, which recognizes imprisoned writers targeted for exercising freedom of speech.

On September 2, a devastating fire ripped through the National Museum of Brazil in Rio de Janeiro, leaving its renowned collection smoldering. The palace, founded in 1818, was the oldest scientific institution in Brazil, and housed the oldest human fossil in existence in the Americas. Dinosaur remains, the largest Egyptian collection in Latin America, and a number of other precious artifacts were damaged by the flames.

Fossil Free Culture NL’s “Drop the Shell!” protest demonstration at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam (photo by Laura Ponchel, image courtesy Fossil Free Culture NL)

Two Dutch museums, the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam and the Mauritshuis in The Hague, have ended their years-long partnerships with oil and gas company, Royal Dutch Shell. For years, Netherlands-based organization “Fossil Free Culture,” opposed the relationship between Dutch art institutions and the multinational oil corporation, hosting multiple performance art protests.

A controversial sculpture of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Turkey was erected — and quickly removed — as part of Germany’s Wiesbaden Biennale. The mayor of Wiesbaden chose to remove the statue, citing security concerns after protests broke out surrounding the statue. Though the bienniale has ended, curators Magdalena Ludewig and Martin Hammer say the project could still be reinstalled, as they have a three-month permit to host it in the space.

“HE WILL NOT DIVIDE US” flag, which was flown at an undisclosed location (image courtesy LaBeouf, Rönkkö & Turner)

Artist Luke Turner, well known for his work on HEWILLNOTDIVIDE.US with LaBeouf, Rönkkö & Turner, announced his withdrawal from the Athens Biennale, citing enabling of antisemitism and fascism in the art world following a series of confrontations. In response to Hyperallergic’s queries, the Biennale sent a statement saying, “Its organizers and curators are actively participating in struggles against fascism and anti-semitism, among other issues. Our institution will not censor different strategies and opinions on how to deal with these urgencies.”

The museum Moderna Museet Stockholm will return a portrait by Austrian expressionist Oskar Kokoshka, “Marquis Joseph de Montesqui-Fezenac,” to the family of Alfred Flechtheim. In 1933, the entirety of Flechtheim’s Dusseldorf gallery was confiscated by a member of the Nazi Party’s brownshirts, and purchased by the Swedish museum in 1934. The return comes after years of investigations.

Nadim Sheiban, director of the Museum for Islamic Art in Jerusalem, has denounced Benjamin Netanyahu’s nation-state law that refuses Arabic as a national language. “Our museums should be proactive and try to influence what’s going on, and [show art that] speaks to and interacts with the community,” he told The Art Newspaper. Sheiban is the first Palestinian Arab director of an Israeli Museum.

In June 2019, Art Basel Switzerland will institute a new sliding-scale pricing model which enables larger galleries to pay more and allows smaller galleries to pay less. Two-thirds of participating galleries are expected to pay an average of 13% less, while the remaining galleries can expect to pay around 4% more.

Art auction company, Bonham’s, has been purchased by a private equity firmEpiris. Bruno Vinciguerra, the former COO of Sotheby’s, will become Bonhams new executive chairman under the transition.

One of the pairs of ruby slippers worn by Judy Garland in the Wizard of Oz (image via Wikimedia)

A pair of ruby slippers worn by Judy Garland in her role as Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz was recovered by the FBI after they were stolen 13 years ago from the Judy Garland Museum in Minneapolis. Those responsible for the heist remain unknown.

Swiss police seized a collection of artifacts from Ali Aboutaam, co-founder of Phoenix Ancient Art, under allegations of illegal trading, One of the objects taken included a sculpted animal believed to be from Mesopotamia, when in fact, had been crafted by Aboutaam’s 11-year-old daughter. The sculpture, inscribed “With love, for Daddy,” was later returned. About 6,000 artifacts (valued at $8 million) remain in police possession.

The Department of Culture and Tourism in Abu Dhabi has postponed the unveiling of Leonardo da Vinci’s “Salvator Mundi.” “More details will be announced soon,” the organization said.

Transactions

Marcel Duchamp, “The Box in a Valise/Boite en Valise (Series E) From or by Marcel Duchamp or Rrose Sélavy [de ou par Marcel Duchamp ou Rrose Sélavy]” (1963), green leather valise containing miniature replicas, photographs, and color reproductions of works by Duchamp, valise 15 7/8 x 14 7/8 x 3 5/8 in. (image courtesy Cincinnati Art Museum, Ohio, USA / Gift of Anne W. Harrison and Family in memory of Agnes Sattler Harrison and Alexina “Teeny” Sattler Duchamp / Bridgeman; © Association Marcel Duchamp / ADAGP, Paris / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York 2018)
The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden has been gifted 50 major historical works by Marcel Duchamp from Washington, DC collectors Barbara and Aaron Levine. The Levines are also donating more than 150 books on Duchamp, dating from the late 1930s through the present. Included among these books are first editions and rare catalogs. “We have been collecting conceptual art for a good part of our lives and have been involved with the Hirshhorn for nearly 20 years,” said Barbara and Aaron Levine. “This donation of art gives the public access to our collection of Duchamp works that we have lived with and loved.” These works will be on display in the fall of 2019 in an exhibition “examining [Duchamp’s] artistic evolution,” according to the press release. [via email announcement]

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

Transitions

Dr. Adila Laïdi-Hanieh (image courtesy The Palestinian Museum)

Dr. Adila Laïdi-Hanieh was appointed the director of the Palestinian Museum in the West Bank

N’Goné Fall was named general commissioner of the Season Africa 2020

Alex Assam was appointed the 2018-19 Romare Bearden Graduate Museum Fellow at the Saint Louis Art Museum

Christian Viveros-Fauné was named curator at large of the University of South Florida Contemporary Art Museum

Jade Powers (image courtesy of the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art)

Alana Coates was named curator of the Freedman Gallery at Albright College in Reading, Pennsylvania

Amir Tabei was named digital head of the Dallas Museum of Art

Kara Elliott-Ortega was named Boston’s chief of arts and culture

Riley Robinson was appointed director of Artpace, the nonprofit exhibition and residency space in San Antonio

Jade Powers was appointed associate curator at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City, Missouri

Thorsten Sadowsky was appointed director of the Museum der Moderne in Salzburg, Austria

Lindsay Charlwood was named director and Beau Rutland named director of exhibitions, of the Matthew Marks Gallery in Los Angeles

Dominic Willsdon was named executive director of the Institute for Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University [via email announcement]

Andrea Fraser, Berry Stein, and Joel Lubin have joined the board of directors at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles

Jennifer Francis was named head of global operations of the Flowers Gallery in London

Ben Hartley has was named executive director of the National Arts Club in New York

Jana Baumann was appointed senior curator at the Haus der Kunst museum in Munich, Germany

The French Institute Alliance Française named Courtney Geraghty as its new artistic director [via email announcement]

Tianyue Jiang was named director of the Kasmin Gallery in New York

Gladys Lin was named director of Sean Kelly Asia

Richard Hamilton has stepped down as director of Tate America’s Foundation

Peter C. Sutton will retire as the CEO of the Bruce Museum in Greenwich, Connecticut

Choi Hyo-jun has been suspended from his position as director of the Seoul Museum while the Seoul Metropolitan Government’s Human Rights Center investigates a sexual harassment charge filed against him by a museum employee

Upcoming Exhibitions

Nina Chanel Abney, “Hobson’s Choice” (2017), Acrylic and spray paint on canvas, 84 1/4 × 120 1/16 × 1 15/16 in. (image courtesy of the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University)

The Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University opened its exhibition People Get Ready, which address issues ranging from identity to social justice and environmentalism. The show was inspired by a song of the same name by Curtis Mayfield and the Impressions and their exploration of Civil Rights and generational memory. People Get Ready is on view until January 6, 2019.

In spring 2019, the Brant Foundation will open an art space in Manhattan’s East Village (at 421 East 6th Street) with an exhibition of works by Jean-Michel Basquiat. The four-floor building spans 7,000 square feet of exhibition space.

In October 2019, the Prado Museum in Madrid will host an exhibition of two 16th-century women, during its bicentenary celebrations. The artists featured are Sofonisba Anguissola, a court painter for King Phillip II of Spain, and Lavinia Fontana, who is often considered the first professional female artist.

Opportunities

The Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE) is seeking proposals from Los Angeles-based curators for its Emerging Curators Program for a presentation in early 2020. The selected winner will receive $5,000 and institutional guidance to produce an exhibition in partnership with LACE. The deadline is November 1, 2018.

The Journal of Africana Religions has announced an open call for international authors tackling Black experiences, voices, and ideas in comprehensive review essays and academic articles.

The Migration Museum announced an open call for refugee and migrant artists. They will provide £500 (~$), space to exhibit and sell work, and a studio for three weeks to one month for a selected artist in Spring and Summer of 2018.

Accolades

Dominque Moody, “Our Garden of Dreams” (image by Dominique Moody and courtesy of the Side Street Projects)

Dominique Moody was named the 2018 Artist-in-Residence at the Side Street Projects in Pasadena, Calif. She will head six workshops as a part of a project titled “Our Garden of Dreams.”

Michael Visocchi was awarded £45,000 ($58,000) to create a public artwork at the new location of the St. Rollox Church in Glasgow.

Émilie Martel was announced as the recipient of the Canadian Women Artists’ Award by the New York Foundation for the Arts, with funding from the Canadian Women’s Club of New York [via email announcement].

Obituaries

Mary Jane Long (1939–2018), architect known for designing the Grade I-listed British Library, and artist studios for the likes of Peter Blake and Frank Auerbach

Jheon Soo-cheon (1947–2018), Korea’s first winner of a prize at the Venice Biennale

Lawrence Rubin (1933–2018), art dealer in Paris and New York who presented the first solo show of Frank Stella’s work in Europe

Marie Severin (1929–2018), pioneering comic book artist of the Marvel Comics universe

Randy Weston (1926–2018), pianist and African jazz scholar

Iosif Kobzon (1937–2018), singer known as the “Soviet Sinatra”

Bobby Lynn Maslen (1930–2018), creator of the Scholastic-published Bob Books

Carole Shelley (1939–2018), Tony-winning actress who starred as a Pigeon sister in “The Odd Couple” on Broadway and on screen

Russ Heath (1926–2018), comic book artist who is commonly known as the inspiration for Roy Lichtenstein

Ruth Finley (1920–2018), renowned for her scheduling of New York Fashion Week and creator of the Fashion Calendar, which presented a guide for sartorial-savvy people

Ellie Mannette (1927–2018), musician known as the father of the modern steel drum in the United States

Gloria Jean (1926–2018), singer and actress in 1930s and ’40s films

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