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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.

Ai Weiwei (courtesy of the Hirshhorn Museum)

Infamous Chinese artist Ai Weiwei announced he will be moving back to the United States. He plans to move to upstate New York, where his son can receive an education. He adds, “New York City is quite exciting, but not for the old men like me. We walk too slow on the street, you know.”

El Museo del Barrio in New York, which presents artwork by Latin American artists across the United States, has reopened after 10 months of extensive renovations. The uptown museum has undergone $4.85 million in upgrades, granted by city funds, including improved lighting and climate control systems.

New information has surfaced about the origin of Leonardo da Vinci‘s infamous “Salvator Mundi.” The most expensive painting ever sold, which fetched $450 million, spent decades in Louisiana under the care of the Hendry family, unbeknownst of its massive worth. The work was inherited from an aunt, Minnie Stanfill Kuntz, who reportedly purchased the work in London for £45 (~$60) in 1958. The Hendrys sold the work in 2005 for $10,000. Its buyers, Old Masters dealers Robert Simon and Alexander Parrish, were responsible for its re-authentication as a Leonardo.

Esposito (left) and Fernando Alvarez delivered a short spoken manifesto on the subject of the opioid crisis, before police were called to the scene.

Earlier this summer, artist Domenic Esposito partnered with Fernando Luis Alvarez Gallery to erect an 800-pound steel sculpture of a burnt heroin spoon as part of a guerrilla installation outside the headquarters of Purdue Pharma, makers of OxyContin, during an anti-opioid protest. Gallerist Fernando Luis Alvarez was arrested on criminal misdemeanor and felony charges. In June, he was convicted of a misdemeanor for obstructing free passage. On September 17, the gallerist avoided jail time and was sentenced with a one-year probation period.

Doctors in Berlin have confirmed the likelihood that Pussy Riot member Pyotr Verzilov was poisoned. He was airlifted to the city after being hospitalized in Russia, after his fellow artists say he began exhibiting symptoms including vision loss and weakness. Verzilov is expected to recover.

Manuel Oliver, an artist who lost his 17-year-old son Joaquin in the tragic shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, has created a series of 10 bronze sculptures titled The Last Lockdown, tackling gun violence in schools. Oliver worked with Giffords, a gun control group, to create the 3D-printed sculptures, drawing reference to the rise of print-at-home guns. The top of each desk has a carving reading a different stat about gun violence, including, “22 kids are shot every day in America.”

12 Years a Slave director Steve McQueen has launched an initiative to photograph every second-grade class in London. The filmmaker has invited 2,410 of London’s schools to register for the project, which will be undertaken by 30 photographers and co-organized by education nonprofit A New Direction. The images will be on view as part of a retrospective of McQueen’s career from November 2019 to May 2020 at the Tate Britain. Maria Balshaw, the director of Tate, says, “This will be a collective portrait of London’s future.”

The List in its vandalized state

Banu Cennetoğlu’s “The List” is an ongoing project that commemorates the names of 34,000 refugees, who perished within or near Europe in their quest for asylum on the continent. “The List” was repeatedly vandalized while on view at the Liverpool Biennial, but will now arrive in the United States as part of the Forward Union fair (September 29–30), which aims to connect art world and social justice initiatives.

The art-collecting Pinault family has acquired the fashion brand Courrèges, purchasing the majority shares from Jacques Bungert and Frédéric Torloting. Christina Ahlers, a former executive of the Swedish fashion company Acne, was hired as general manager of the company earlier this year as part of a planned revival.

The Frick, founded in 1935, will invite the first works made by a living artist into its permanent galleries for the first time in its history. Artist Edmund de Waal will create eight new porcelain works for the museum.

The “Yangcai Crane-and-Deer Ruyi Vase” (18th century) sold at Sotheby’s Paris on June 12 for €16,182,800 (~$18.8 million) (image courtesy Sotheby’s / Art Digital Studio)

Chinese antiquities dealers collectively breathed a sigh of relief when it was announced that the Trump administration’s tariff on Chinese imports no longer applies to artworks and antiquities.

An eight-year-long court battle between an art dealer and restorer has been resolved by a Munich court. Andreas Baumgartl hired a Bavaria-based restorer to work on a series of four paintings, including “The Writer” by Carl Spitzweg. Baumgartl said the paintings were “completely ruined,” when the restorer removed the varnish, and along with it, a layer of paint. The restorer was ordered to pay €26,000 (~$31,000).

The Spanish government will bestow the Prado Museum in Madrid with €30 million (~$35 million) over the next four years for its expansion.  Norman Foster and Carlos Rubio are the architects responsible for the project and will be adding 27,000 additional square feet of exhibition space. The museum is expected to raise an additional €10 million (~12 million).

Sir David Adjaye of Adjaye Associates will design the new Princeton University Art Museum in collaboration with Cooper Robertson as executive architect.

The New School’s Vera List Center for Art and Politics has received a $5 million gift from the dealer Jane Lombard. The funds are allotted toward the center’s $25,000 prize, now called the Jane Lombard Prize for Art and Social Justice. The prize is awarded biennially to a social justice–minded artist or group. The 2018–20 winner will be announced at the center’s biennial forum on October 4, which is this year titled “If Art Is Politics.” [via email announcement]


German, “The Montefiore Mainz Mahzor” (c. 1310–1320), illuminated manuscript on parchment (image courtesy The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston)

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston has acquired three significant pieces of Medieval art: a large, rare Hebrew codex known as “The Montefiore Mainz Mahzor” (c. 1310–20); a rare surviving silver-gilt and enamel Spanish precessional cross (c. 1400); and an architectural drawing of Rouen Cathedral. The acquisitions were purchased through a fund dedicated to the museum’s acquisitions endowments. The works are currently on display in the European Art Galleries of the Audrey Jones Beck Building. [via email announcement]

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


Diane Arbus, “Girl with a pointy hood and white schoolbag at the curb, N.Y.C.” (1957) (courtesy The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; copyright © The Estate of Diane Arbus, LLC; all rights reserved)

The David Zwirner Gallery will now co-represent Diane Arbus‘s estate with the Fraenkel Gallery in San Francisco.

Elliot Bostwick Davis was appointed director and CEO of the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach, Florida

P.P.O.W. Gallery in New York will represent artist Elijah Burgher.

White Cube gallery will now represent late painter Al Held‘s estate.

Louis Marchesano was appointed senior curator of prints, drawings, and photographs at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Kimberli Meyer will no longer serve as director of the University Art Museum at California State University, Long Beach.

The Gagosian Gallery has hired art collector and neurosurgeon Frank Moore.

The Grammy Museum has appointed Michael Sticka as executive director.

Upcoming Exhibitions

Jonathas de Andrade, “O peixe” (2016), Still. 16 mm film transferred to HD video, sound, color; 38 min. Courtesy Alexander and Bonin, New York (image courtesy of Resnicow)

Opening next month on October 17, 2018, the new Institute for Contemporary Art (ICA) at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), Richmond’s first institution devoted to contemporary art, will present two exhibitions featuring a major site-specific installation by artist Rashid Johnson and new and recent work from Abbas Akhavan, Jonathas de Andrade, David Hartt, Julianne Swartz, and Pascale Marthine Tayou.


The Clark Hulings Fund for Visual Artists is calling for entries for its 2019 Accelerator class. The Art-Business Accelerator program is a virtual business education specifically designed for visual artists that hosts a self-directed digital learning portal; live, in-person educational events in local communities; and a federation of artist-formed and artist-led networks of opportunity. Applications are open through September 30.

Young art critics from Detroit, Michigan and Germany are urged to apply for a critical writing workshop facilitated by ContemporaryAnd and ARTS.BLACK. The program, “Show me your shelves! Libraries as spaces of encounter,” seeks to reflect coherences of Black history and present-day life between Germany and the US.”


Ralph Lemon was awarded the Heinz Award in Art and Humanities for his choreography and visual art centering race and memory through movement. He will receive $250,000.

Multidisciplinary artist Natalie Ball was awarded the 2018 Betty Bowen Award by the Seattle Art Museum (SAM) and the Betty Bowen Committee. Ball will receive an award of $15,000 and a solo exhibition at SAM in spring 2019.

Sally Tallant, Lauren Haynes, and Dan Byers have been selected to curate the Armory Show’s 2019 edition. [via email announcement]

Manuela Moscoso will curate the 2020 Liverpool Biennial.


Geta Brătescu, “Linia (The Line)”, 2014, HD video (image courtesy Hauser & Wirth)

Florian Beigel (1941–2018), successful architect and prolific educator in the field

Andre Blay (1937–2018), responsible for introducing the videocassette, which revolutionized the movie industry

Geta Brătescu (1922–2018), Romanian artist who used abstraction to challenge oppressive political regimes

Peter Donat (1928–2018), actor from The X-Files

Joseph Ketner II (1956–2018), former chief curator at the Milwaukee Art Museum

Marceline Loridan-Ivens (1928–2018), filmmaker and writer who wrote of her experience with the Holocaust and its aftermath

Marin Mazzie (1960–2018), Tony-nominated Broadway actress

Big Jay McNeely (1927–2018), saxophonist who redefined R&B with a rock twist

Annette Michelson (1922–2018), film scholar and founder of the arts journal October

Arthur Mitchell (1934–2018), ballet dancer who pioneered for a Black presence in the genre and founding director of the Dance Theater of Harlem

Thad Mumford (1951–2018), Emmy Award-winning writer and producer who worked on shows like M*A*S*H, Good Times, and A Different World

Mary “Polly” Nooter Roberts (1959–2018), UCLA professor and expert art historian who specialized in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Josh Roth (1978–2018), patron of the arts who founded the United Talent Agency in Los Angeles

Micheline Rozan (1928–2018), theater producer who helped found the International Center for Theater Research in Paris

Ira Sabin (1928–2018), founder of JazzTimes magazine

Rachid Taha (1958–2018), musician who championed his Algerian heritage and immigrant rights through rock

Shan Tianfang (1934–2018), masterful Chinese storyteller

Paul Virilio (1932–2018), visionary curator, critic, and philosopher of the arts

Ruby Washington (1952–2018), talented photojournalist who served as the first Black woman on staff in the New York Times photography department.

John Wilcock (1927–2018), British journalist known for pioneering the underground press and co-founding the New York Village Voice

Ehsan Yarshater (1920–2018), founder and editor of the Encyclopedia Iranica

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Jasmine Weber

Jasmine Weber is Hyperallergic's news editor. She is an artist and writer based in Brooklyn, particularly interested in Black art histories and visual culture. She received her B.A. in Ethnic Studies...