Hagia Sophia (image via HishMFaz’s Flickrstream)

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.

Turkey’s Supreme Court rejected an application requesting the Hagia Sophia, a 6th-century Byzantine cathedral and UNESCO World Heritage site, be opened for Muslim prayers. The massive structure served as the center of the Greek Orthodox church for nearly a millennium before it was converted to a mosque after the Ottoman conquest of Istanbul in 1453. The building, located in Istanbul, has served as a museum since 1935, following orders from Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the modern republic of Turkey. In recent years, thousands of Muslims have prayed at the Hagia Sophia’s exterior, urging the site be reopened as a mosque.

Museology students in Brazil are requesting that past patrons of the National Museum of Brazil share photos or video footage they took on their visit. After the museum was destroyed by a raging fire, a reported 2 million artifacts were lost in the tragic blaze. So far, the students have received 14,000 submissions.

Jean-Luc Martinez, president of the Louvre Museum, has sent specialists to assist with the recovery and restoration of artifacts at the National Museum of Brazil.

The Tate Museum is being called out for using artist bios pulled from Wikipedia. Art dealer Bendor Grosvenor took issue with the museum’s decision, citing inaccuracies and a focus on unimportant tidbits in multiple biographies. The Tate says around 100 of their biographies are written by staff members, but due to a constraint of resources, they have been unable to complete them all.

An example of the AI deciphering medieval graffiti (image courtesy of Yuri Gordienko)

New artificial intelligence technology has been developed with the ability to decipher glyphs of medieval graffiti outside of the St. Sophia Cathedral in Kyiv, Ukraine. The technology is able to decipher many of the 7,000 hieroglyphic symbols carved on the exterior of the cathedral, many of which are from the Glagolitic and Cyrillic alphabets. Students and teachers from the National Technical University of Ukraine and Huizhou University’s School of Information Science and Technology were responsible for the algorithm. Nikita Gordienko, Peng Gang, Yuri Gordienko, Wei Zeng, Oleg Alienin, Oleksandr Rokovyi1, and Sergii Stirenko were the key researchers in the technological development. Their findings were published on Arxiv.

While parking his car on his olive grove, a farmer in Crete accidentally discovered a buried Minoan tomb. The underground enclosure housed two men who had been entombed between 1400 and 1200 BCE. The pair was surrounded by funerary vases (indicating high status), and the tomb was sealed with stone masonry. 3,400 years later, as the farmer drove out of the grove, a four-foot-wide hole appeared and the burial site was revealed.

The Émil Cohl School in Lyon, France was caught doctoring a group photo to make students in the group look Black. Some students’ skin tones were darkened, and in some spots, individuals were photoshopped in.  “The communication company decided on its own to darken the skin of some students to add diversity. The communication campaign was made from the US,” the school’s assistant director, Emmanuel Perrier, told CNN.

On September 11, a judge in Bangladesh struck down a bail petition for renowned photojournalist Shahidul Alam. Alam has been remanded since August 5 after criticizing the Bangladeshi government on Al Jazeera. Hundreds of figures in the art world have spoken out in his favor, calling the government’s detention of the artist censorship.

Inverted Jenny Stamp (image via Wikimedia Commons)

An Illinois man recently confirmed a stamp that has been in his family for generations as an Inverted Jenny — one of the only two (out of 100) left unaccounted for. The stamps are identified by an infamous misprint made in 1918 — an upside-down image of a Curtiss JN-4 airplane. Out of thousands of stamps that were printed, one sheet of 100 came out “inverted.” In the century since this mistake, the stamps have become highly sought after. The most expensive Inverted Jenny sold for $1.35 million in May 2016.

A 500-year-old Dancing Shiva statue, housed in the Art Gallery of South Australia, was identified as a stolen artifact. The 16th-century sculpture went missing from a temple in Nellai, India in the 1970s after thieves broke a lock to raid the premises. There are three other missing statues from the heist that remain undiscovered.

Pyotr Verzilov, a member of Pussy Riot who participated in their performance at the World Cup Final, has allegedly been poisoned. The group says he was hospitalized after attending a court hearing for another group member. Reports say Verzilov is receiving treatment at the toxicology wing of Moscow’s Bakhrushin City Clinical Hospital after experiencing convulsions.

Street artist Jason Williams (aka Revok) has come to an agreement with H&M following a legal dispute about the clothing company’s use of his artwork as the backdrop of one of their advertisements. The Detroit-based artist says the company has agreed to make a number of donations to arts organizations throughout the city. Earlier this year, H&M sued Williams after the artist sent the retailer a “cease and desist,” saying the company had infringed on his artistic copyright.

Abraaj Group, a Dubai-based private equity firm, will not renew its partnership with Art Dubai. The firm filed for liquidation in June after its founder faced accusations of misusing investor funds. Previously, Abraaj Group was the primary sponsor of Art Dubai and was considered to have laid the path for corporate patronage of the arts in the city.

The Massachusetts College of Art and Design has raised $12.57 million to renovate its 8,000 square foot, three-floor Bakalar & Paine Galleries. The galleries are scheduled to reopen in early 2020 [via email announcement].


The Renoir painting, Deux Femmes Dans Un Jardin (Two Women in a Garden) taken from a Paris bank vault by the Nazis during World War II, will be on display at the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust through Sunday, September 16

A Pierre Auguste Renoir painting “Deux Femmes Dans Un Jardin (Two Women in a Garden)” (1919), looted by Nazis during World War II, has been returned to its rightful owner. The painting belonged to Alfred Weinberger, an art collector in prewar Paris. Nazis stole the work from a bank vault in Paris in 1941. The painting appeared again in an art sale in Johannesburg in 1975, again in London in 1977, and again in Zurich in 1999 before finally resurfacing at Christie’s Gallery in New York in 2013, where it was put up for auction. At the time, the painting was said to be worth between $150,000 and $200,000. In a ceremony at the Museum of Jewish Heritage on Wednesday, the painting was returned to Weinberger’s granddaughter and last remaining heir, Sylvie Sulitzer. The painting will be on display at the Museum of Jewish Heritage’s gallery, A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, until September 16.

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


Dominic Willsdon (image courtesy of Reniscow)

Liz Armstrong has resigned from her position as director of the Palm Springs Museum in California.

Jana Baumann was appointed senior curator at the Haus der Kundst in Munich.

Courtney Geraghty was named artistic director of the French Institute Alliance Française in Manhattan.

Skarstedt Gallery will represent the estate of German artist Martin Kippenberger.

Edouard Kopp was named chief curator of the Drawing Institute at the Menil Collection in Houston, Texas.

Lisa Lakowski (image courtesy of Quinn PR)

Lisa Laskowski was appointed director of development and chief development officer of the Remai Modern museum in Saskatoon, Canada [via email announcement].

Bartomeu Mari will leave his position as director of the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Seoul

Yasufumi Nakamori was appointed senior curator of international art (photography) at the Tate Modern in London.

David Norr was named a partner at the James Cohan Gallery [via email announcement].

Larry Smallwood was named deputy director of the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts.

Christina Steinbrecher-Pfandt will step down as director of the Viennacontemporary fair.

Christina Turner was appointed president of the Trout Museum of Art in Appleton, Wisconsin.

Moritz Wesseler was named director of the Fridericianum museum in Kassel, Germany.

Dominic Willsdon was named director of the Institute of Contemporary Art in Richmond, Virginia.

Gabrielle Wyrick was named deputy director for learning and engagement at the New Orleans Museum of Art.

Upcoming exhibitions

Abby Leigh, “Black Hole” (2018), paint, pigment, oil, and wax on dibond panels, 36 x 36 in. (image courtesy of Johannes Vogt and the artist)

The Jameel Arts Centre will open in Dubai on November 11. The institution will host 10 gallery spaces; the Gulf’s first open-access arts library and resource center; and commissions, studio, and events spaces. The exhibition Crude, curated by Murtaza Vali, will focus on the history of oil in the Middle East. Other programs include site-specific installations and solo shows [via email announcement].

Johannes Vogt Gallery will relocate from the Lower East Side to the Upper East Side, at 958 Madison Avenue, Manhattan. On September 20, a solo exhibition by Abby Leigh, Sledgehammer Paintings, will inaugurate the space [via email announcement].

Hollis Taggart Galleries will open a third exhibition space in Chelsea, Manhattan at the High Line Nine between West 27th and 28th streets. An exhibition of contemporary works by Pablo Atchugarry, Alex Kanevsky, Chloë Lamb, Li Lihong, and Bill Scott will inaugurate the space on September 13, 2018 [via email announcement].

Park View/Paul Soto gallery is relocating to Mid-City in Arlington Heights in Los Angeles. The gallery will reopen on September 30 with an exhibition of paintings by Alex Olson.

The Nino Mier Gallery, based in Los Angeles and Cologne, will open a third space on Santa Monica Boulevard in Los Angeles. The gallery will open on September 22 with a solo show of works by Celeste Dupuy-Spencer.

The Louis Vuitton Foundation in Paris will open an exhibition featuring 120 works by Jean-Michel Basquiat on October 3. One of the works on view includes a 1982 skull painting by the artist, which has risen to infamy in recent history after Yusaku Maezawa paid $110.5 million for the work last year.

The Other Art Fair will host a fair featuring solely women artists to address gender inequality in the arts. The event will be called “Not 30%” and include the work of 29 women artists. “Not 30%” opens October 5.


The NYC Department of Cultural Affairs has announced a call for applicants for its “City Canvas” pilot program. The program aims to decorate the city’s  300 miles of construction fences and sidewalk sheds with temporary art installations across all five boroughs. Applicants should identify one or more qualified not-for-profit cultural organization(s) to implement the pilot. Organizations must have submitted an eligible FY19 Cultural Development Fund application or be a member of the Cultural Institutions Group to be considered.  Applications are due October 12.


LarbitsSisters has won the first-ever NOVA New Media Interactive Art Prize from the Beijing Contemporary Art Foundation and the Big House Contemporary Art Center in Wuhan, China. The annual award grants $16,000 to artists working with future-oriented technologies.


Richard Timperio (photo by Hrag Vartanian for Hyperallergic)

Richard Timpiero (1947–2018), artist and art dealer beloved in the Brooklyn art scene who headed the Williamsburg mainstay Sideshow Gallery

Irving Petlin (1934–2018), artist who focused on injustices across the world, including the Vietnam War and Paris riots protesting the Algerian war

Lawrence Rubin (1933–2018), art dealer, early proponent of artist Frank Stella, and director of the New York gallery Knoedler Company

Oliver Hoare (1945–2018), Islamic art dealer infamous for his relationship with Princess Diana

Nancy Blomberg (1946–2018), chief curator and Andrew W. Mellon Curator of Native Arts well-respected for as an advocate for Native American artists

Barbara Gould (1936–2018), successful model, commercial actress, and senior vice president of the Corcoran Group

Adam Clymer (1937–2018), pollster and political journalist and editor for the New York Times

Tito Capobianco (1931–2018) stage director of operas

Bill Daily (1927–2018), comedic actor in “I Dream of Jeanie” and “Newhart”

Wakako Yamauchi (1924–2018), playwright considered a pioneer in Japanese-American storytelling

Will Jordan (1927–2018), celebrity impressionist

Erich Lessing (1923–2018), Austrian photojournalist who fled the Nazis and extensively photographed post-war Europe

Mac Miller (1992–2018), Pittsburgh rapper who was beloved in the hip-hop community

Amanda Kyle Williams (1957–2018), crime novelist

Avatar photo

Jasmine Weber

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