Week in Review is a weekly collection of news, developments, and stirrings in the art world. Subscribe to receive these posts as a weekly newsletter.
The National Museum of Damascus in Syria has reopened for the first time after shuttering in 2012. The antiquities museum closed to protect its collection from damage amid the ongoing destruction of the Syrian Civil War. Most of the antiquities have been housed at secret locations since its initial closure. [BBC]
Venice museums have reopened after the worst flood in a decade devastated 75% of the city, rising over five feet high. The Peggy Guggenheim Foundation, the Prada Foundation, the Architecture Biennale, and the Fondazione Musei Civici Veneziani were all forced to close. [The Art Newspaper]
The historic First Baptist Church in Wakefield, Massachusetts was ravaged by a fire earlier this week after it was struck by lightning during a storm. The 150-year-old building was destroyed, but surprisingly a painting of Jesus remained unharmed. [Boston Globe]
La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona’s landmark 19th-century basilica designed by Antoni Gaudí, was fined €36 million (~$41 million) by city authorities for lacking a building permit. The still-incomplete UNESCO World Heritage site, which began construction in 1882, will pay the fee in installments. [Guardian]
Sotheby’s auction house has been granted approval by a UK court to interrogate specialists from Christie’s about whether or not they had doubts about a supposed Frans Hals portrait that sold for $11 million. Sotheby’s was forced to pay the buyer the full amount for the fake artwork and is now suing Mark Weiss, the dealer who consigned the work, to cover the loss. [Bloomberg]
The Springfield Art Museum in Missouri has received a $750,000 insurance settlement for the seven Andy Warhol Campbell’s soup can prints stolen in April 2016. The money will be used to purchase new works for the city-owned museum’s collection. [Springfield News-Leader]
The estate of Cuban American artist Ana Mendieta has reached a settlement with Amazon Studios after it accused the platform of borrowing too heavily from Mendiata’s life and work in its film Suspiria. [Variety]
— Pedro Armestre (@PedroArmestre) October 31, 2018
Spanish artist Enrique Tenreiro painted a blood-red dove and the words “Por la Libertad” (“For Freedom”) on the tomb of fascist dictator Francisco Franco. The artist was detained by security in just 3o seconds. Recently, Spanish government officials called for Franco’s grave to be exhumed from the Valley of the Fallen, one saying, “democracy is incompatible with a tomb that honors the memory of Franco.” [NYT]
Domenic Esposito, the artist responsible for the massive burnt heroin spoon sculpture that once graced the steps of the Purdue Pharma headquarters in Connecticut as a protest, has plopped the structure in front of the Massachusetts State House. The artist calls it a gift for Attorney General Maura T. Healey, who has been leading the state’s lawsuit against Purdue Pharma, opioid manufacturers often accused of encouraging the opioid epidemic. [Boston Globe]
Turner Prize-winning artist Jeremy Deller will create a memorial in Manchester for the 200th anniversary of the workers’ rights protest, the Peterloo Massacre, honoring the 11 workers who were killed, and 400 injured, by cavalrymen in 1819. The memorial will cost $1.3 million. [BBC]
Larchmont, New York will soon be decorated with massive street art murals honoring the village’s history, depicting some of the families and individuals that established the village, including abolitionists, naval architects, and pioneer farmers. The murals will be painted by a group of six prominent, international street artists, under the production and curation of Street Art for Mankind to kick off the Larchmont’s contemporary Art Walk. [via email announcement]
The Bronx Museum of the Arts will name its new satellite space in lower Manhattan the Block Gallery, honoring the museum’s late executive director Holly Block. [via email announcement]
The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation will bestow $20 million to arts institutions across Detroit, including $2.5 million each to the Detroit Institute of Arts and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra Hall. [Detroit Free Press]
The Bass, Miami Beach’s contemporary art museum, received a $100,000 Bank of America 2018 Art Conservation Project Grant.
At the Opening Night Preview Gala of Art Toronto 2018 last week, the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) acquired new work by Ontario’s Ken Nicol and Ligwilds’xw Kwakwaka’wakw artist Sonny Assu. Nicol’s drawing was purchased with funds raised at the Opening Night, matched by funds from the Peggy Lownsbrough Fund; and the Assu piece was purchased with the James Lahey and Pym Buitenhuis Fund. [via email announcement]
This and other notable sales and acquisitions are chronicled in our latest Transactions story.
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