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Week in Review: Olafur Eliasson Transplants Glaciers Outside Tate Modern, Tania Bruguera Withdraws from Biennial

Also, the Museum of Black Civilizations has opened in Senegal, Sotheby’s will host a sale of female Old Masters, and more. 

Jamal Khashoggi on one of four TIME “Person of the Year” 2018 covers (courtesy of TIME)

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.

Assassinated Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi was honored with TIME’s Person of the Year accolade, called “the Guardians” — acknowledged for their heroic dedications to investigate, honest journalism in the wake of the “war on truth.” Other “Guardians” include the staff of the Capital Gazette, the Maryland periodical where five staff members were killed in a shooting, the spouses of imprisoned Myanmar journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, and Filipino journalist Maria Ressa. [TIME]

As part of a project titled Ice Watch London, Olafur Eliasson has transplanted 24 blocks of centuries-old glacier from the Nuup Kangerlua fjord in Greenland, outside the Tate Modern in London. He’s placed another six in the city. He has partnered with geologist Minik Rosing, to raise awareness about climate change and its immediate effects, giving Londoners the chance to feel, smell, and taste the dissolving blocks of ice. “I’ve been studying behavioral psychology, and looking into the consequences of experience,” Eliasson said. “What does it mean to experience something? Does it change you or not change you? It turns out that data alone only promotes a small degree of change. So in order to create the massive behavioral change needed [to tackle climate change] we have to emotionalize that data, make it physically tangible.” [Guardian]

Artemisia Gentileschi, “Self-Portrait as Saint Catherine of Alexandria” (via Wikimedia Commons)

Artemisia Gentileschi’s much-anticipated “Self-Portrait as Saint Catherine of Alexandria” will be displayed at the National Gallery in London starting December 19. The female Renaissance artist’s painting is only the 21st artwork by a woman to enter the gallery’s collection of 2,300. However, Artnet unveiled that the National Gallery has included the painting, which it purchased for £3.6 million (~$4.5 million) in May, on a list of objects possibly “improperly acquired” by Nazi looting during World War II. [Artnet]

Senegal has opened the Museum of Black Civilizations to the public, spanning 14,000 square meters of floor space. The innovative institution regards Brazil, the United States, and the Caribbean as Black civilizations in their own right, and maps the trans-Atlantic slave trade and its diasporic implications throughout history. Among its first exhibitions are artworks from Mali, Burkina Faso, Cuba, and Haiti. The museum is 52 years in the making — Senegal’s late president Leopold Sedar Senghor first proposed the idea at a festival of black artists in Dakar in 1966, but the museum’s construction was halted before a Chinese investment of $34.6 million. The museum opens in the wake of Senegal’s public request for the repatriation of its objects looted through colonial imperialism. [Africa.com]

Tania Bruguera (credit: Tate Modern)

Tania Bruguera was withdrawn from the Kochi Biennale in Kerala, India, as the Cuban government reconsiders Decree 349, a law which rigidly limits artistic production in the Republic. She and a dozen other Cuban artist-activists were detained for multiple days after they attempted a sit-in at the Ministry of Culture in Havana. Bruguera announced she will remain in Cuba to organize in opposition to the law, despite the government’s announcement that it will postpone the decree’s installation and consider a more lenient provision. The artist wrote in a statement: “As an artist I feel my duty today is not to exhibit my work at an international exhibition and further my personal artistic career, but to be with my fellow Cuban artists and to expose the vulnerability of Cuban artists today.” She says the decree still makes the production of the independent arts impossible. [via email announcement]

Victoria Beckham has once again partnered with Sotheby’s to host an exhibition of women painting in the Old Master tradition, including Angelika Kauffmann, Elisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun, Fede Galizia, and Marie-Victoire Lemoine. The collection, titled Female Triumphant, showed at Beckham’s London store in December and will travel for a sale at Sotheby’s in New York this January when some of the works will be displayed at The Frick Collection. [Vogue UK]

In Germany, activist group Angry Asian Girls Association protested outside the foundation C/O Berlin, parallel to the opening of an exhibition featuring Japanese photographer Nobuyoshi Araki. The activist coalition was drawing attention to accusations of misconduct brought upon Araki by a model of his, Kaori, who said in an online post earlier this year, “He treated me like an object.” She says Araki photographed her without a contract and often shorted her pay. The Angry Asian Girls Association wrote in a Facebook event advertising the protest, “Now is the time to seek … new terrain in the Art world, getting past through the times of sexual exploitations by male predators. C/O Berlin, on the other hand, is still organizing and hosting the exhibition of Nobuyoshi Araki, who has gained fame and reputation by exploiting female models.” [ARTnews]

Contemporary artist Subodh Gupta has been accused of sexual misconduct on the anonymous Instagram “Scene and Herd,” dedicated to exposing sexual assault in the Indian art scene. “As a witness,” writer Rosalyn D’mello has openly supported the anonymous allegations by several of his coworkers saying that he inappropriately touched them. D’mello says her speaking up “will come at a huge personal cost and may directly impact [her] livelihood as an art writer.” Gupta is represented by Hauser & Wirth, which wrote in a statement:  “We have been made aware of the statements being made about Subodh Gupta’s behaviour towards women and are deeply troubled by them. Hauser & Wirth upholds the highest standards of mutual respect and maintains a zero-tolerance policy toward all forms of harassment and discrimination, including sexual harassment.” [India Times, ARTnews]

The inaugural Strasbourg Biennial has been postponed in the wake of a fatal shooting on December 11 in the Strasbourg Christmas market. Two people were fatally shot and several others were severely injured just a short walk from the Hôtel des Postes, where the Strasbourg Biennial will be held. The Biennial, titled Touch Me: Being a Citizen in the Digital Age, will instead launch on December 21. [Artnet]

The Little Mer-Sausage sculpture in Reykjavik, Iceland, fashioned to look like a sultry siren-sausage hybrid, was destroyed. The sculpture was installed in Tjörnin pond in October as part of the Cycle Festival of Music and Art, but a passerby discovered it on December 7, obliterated in a random act of vandalism. It’s likely the culprit walked across the pond, as it is completely frozen. Parts of the sausage were later found in nearby bushes. [The Art Newspaper]

Transactions:

Cassi Namoda, "Sasha and Zamani's Tropical Romance" (2018), acrylic on canvas, 48 x 36 inches (image courtesy the artist and Ghebaly Gallery, Los Angeles, photo by Robert Wedemeyer)
Cassi Namoda, “Sasha and Zamani’s Tropical Romance” (2018), acrylic on canvas, 48 x 36 inches (image courtesy the artist and Ghebaly Gallery, Los Angeles, photo by Robert Wedemeyer)

The New Dealers Alliance (NADA) and Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) have announced the second annual NADA Acquisition Gift for PAMM, which provides funding for PAMM curators María Elena Ortiz and Jennifer Inacio to acquire works for the museum’s permanent collection. This year, PAMM has selected Cassi Namoda’s “Sasha and Zamani’s Tropical Romance” (2018) from Ghebaly Gallery and Nikita Gale’s “An Abundant Loss” (2018) from Reyes Projects. The gift is funded through proceeds raised from NADA Miami ticket sales. [via email announcement]

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

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