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Week in Review: SpaceX Launches Art in Space, Banksy Raffles Sculpture for $2.50

Also, Russia will pay Pussy Riot $43,500, Anish Kapoor wins a legal battle against the NRA, and more.

Trevor Paglen, “Orbital Reflector” (2018). Digital rendering (copyright Trevor Paglen, courtesy the artist and Nevada Museum of Art)

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.

On December 3, two artworks launched into the stratosphere on a SpaceX rocket. They will enter an orbit around the planet, along with 64 new satellites from 17 countries carried by the rocket. The artworks stored in the rocket include Trevor Paglen’s “Orbital Reflector,” which will appear as a beam of light in the sky once deployed, and Tavares Strachan’s bust of  Robert Henry Lawrence Jr., the first Black person selected for the US space program who was unfortunately unable to complete his mission as he died during pilot training. [TAN]

Shirley Chisholm, the first Black woman to serve in Congress and the first woman to seek the Democratic presidential nomination, will be immortalized in a New York City-funded monument in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park. NYC First Lady Chirlane McCray, Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen, and the Department of Cultural Affairs announced the statue, commissioned by She Built NYC, an initiative to construct public monuments honoring the New York City women who have changed history. Chisholm was selected as the first She Built NYC honoree in the year of the 50th anniversary of her election to the House of Representatives. [via email announcement]

Screen shot from the Pussy Riot video of the controversial performance inside the cathedral in Moscow
The Pussy Riot video of their controversial performance inside the Moscow cathedral (screenshot via Pussy Riot’s YouTube)

Russia has been ordered to compensate members of Pussy Riot, the anti-Kremlin punk rock group who were jailed for two years on charges of hooliganism after their controversial performance in a Moscow church. Russia’s Justice Ministry says the country has agreed to the payment in compliance with a European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruling. The ECHR ruled in July that Russia had violated Pussy Riot’s rights, and should pay €37,000 (~$43,500) in damages. [Moscow Times]

The Satanic Temple has crafted its own holiday sculpture, Snaketivity, displayed in a state government building in Springfield, Illinois. The monument stands between a Christmas tree and menorah, depicting a snake wrapped around a forearm clutching an apple. It sits above a plaque reading “Knowledge is the greatest gift.” Illinois Secretary of State spokesman Dave Druker asserted that the Satanic Temple holds the same rights as other religious organizations to display in the rotunda, saying, “Under the Constitution, the First Amendment, people have a right to express their feelings, their thoughts. This recognizes that.” [Chicago Tribune]

Banksy is raffling a motorized sculpture for £2 (~$2.50) to anyone who can properly guess the weight of his remote-control work, “How Heavy It Weighs.” “I’m raffling one of the boats from Dismaland in aid of refugee support services. You can win it for 2 euros if you correctly guess how much it weighs,” the anonymous artist wrote on Instagram. The work will be displayed at a pop-up Help Refugees shop in London until December 22, the last day to enter. [Instagram]

Leon Golub, “Vietnam I” (1972) (via Casey And Sonja’s Flickrstream)

A mother and son duo have been ordered to pay art collector Andrew Hall $468,000, plus damages and attorney’s fees, after a court found them guilty of selling 24 fake Leon Golub paintings. Hall, a hedge-fund manager and art collector, bought the forgeries between 2009 and 2011 from Lorettan Gascard, an artist and art history professor who studied under Golub, and her son Nikolas Gascard. The pair has offered differing accounts of the paintings’ provenance, but Lorettan likely painted them with her own hand. Hall was not their only victim — the supposed Golub works were bought by other collectors, and two were consigned to Wright auction house in Chicago, under the condition that they also sell three works by Lorettan. Artnet reports that all three of the works sold, including one for $45,000, but depositions in the court case revealed that the buyer was Nikolas using pseudonyms. [Artnet]

Western sanctions on Russia have begun to strangle the British art market, as asset freezes and travel bans impede Russian oligarchs and billionaires from their lavish art-buying habits. A recent Russian art sale at Christie’s in London fell flat, selling only 65% of 1,180 lots, mainly to Russian-speaking telephone bidders. According to the New York Times, the British government is reviewing residency rights for more than 700 Russians.  [NYT]

Anish Kapoor’s “Cloud Gate,” colloquially known as “The Bean” (image via Shelby L. Bell’s Flickrstream)

Anish Kapoor has won his legal battle against the National Rifle Association (NRA) demanding they remove an image of his famous public sculpture in Chicago, “Cloud Gate,” in a video promoting their organization. In a statement, Kapoor requested the NRA donate $1 million to charities aiding victims of gun violence, such as “Every Town for Gun Safety, The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, Giffords, The Brady Campaign and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.” [via email announcement]

The Baltimore Museum of Art will launch the Robert E. Meyerhoff and Rheda Becker Biennial Commission to commission artists to create site-specific artwork from underrepresented populations in the museum lobby. It will also offer a fellowship to support a curatorial fellowship for a curator from underrepresented populations. Mickalene Thomas has been chosen for the inaugural commission, opening fall 2019. [via email announcement]

Bloomberg Philanthropies named Jackson, Mississippi the winner of its 2018 Public Art Challenge. Jackson will receive a $1 million grant to complete the project “Fertile Ground: Inspiring Dialogue About Food Access” and public art projects over the next two years. [Artnews]

Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) has received $3 million from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. $2 million will go towards building cross-departmental initiatives around digital experience. The additional $1 million will go towards the PAMM Fund for African American Art, a fund initiated for the purchase of contemporary art by African American artists for the museum’s permanent collection. [via email announcement]

Transactions:

William "Bill" Traylor, "Untitled (Black Dog with Red Tongue)" (c. 1939–1940), opaque watercolor and pencil on cardboard, 16 x 13 3/4 inches (collection of Mississippi Museum of Art, Jackson, gift of Ed McGowin and Claudia DeMonte)
William “Bill” Traylor, “Untitled (Black Dog with Red Tongue)” (c. 1939–1940), opaque watercolor and pencil on cardboard, 16 x 13 3/4 inches (collection of Mississippi Museum of Art, Jackson, gift of Ed McGowin and Claudia DeMonte)

Claudia DeMonte and Ed McGowin have donated over 100 works of art by self-taught artists to the Mississippi Museum of Art. The works come from their personal collection of sculptures, paintings, and assemblages, including works by Bill Traylor, Howard Finster, Lonnie Holley, James Harold Jennings, Mose Tolliver, and more. [via email announcement]

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

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