“The Embrace” — Hank Willis Thomas with MASS Design Group (courtesy of the Boston Art Commission)

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.

Hank Willis Thomas was chosen to design an anticipated Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Boston. “Beneath the 22-foot-high arms of Dr. King and Coretta Scott, passersby will be reminded of our shared human connection. This memorial will envelop participants, allowing them to be simultaneously vulnerable and protected,” the artist, along with his collaborator MASS Design Group, wrote in their proposal for the artwork. “By highlighting the act of embrace, this sculpture shifts the emphasis from singular hero worship to collective action, imploring those curious enough to investigate closer.” [WBUR]

A list of the 83 artists participating in the 2019 Venice Biennale has been released. The list includes Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Jimmie Durham, Nicole Eisenman, Julie Mehretu, Zanele Muholi, Hito Steyerl, Tavares Strachan, and Henry Taylor. [artnet News]

Ahead of the impending Brexit deadline, March 29, British institutions and galleries are hastily shipping works to and from European Union (EU) nations in the case of a no-deal. The British Council is sending all of Cathy Wilkes‘s works to Italy “well ahead of the 29 March deadline to avoid any possible disruption,” a spokeswoman told the Art Newspaper (TAN). Wilkes is representing the British pavilion at the 2019 Venice Biennale. The organizers of the Irish pavilion are also rushing to send out Eva Rothschild‘s works to avoid delays. “We don’t know what’s going to happen after 29 March but it’s not worth the risk of things getting held up at customs,” the commissioner and curator of the pavilion told TAN. “The ramifications are huge.” [TAN]

Artists are accusing the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art (TMoCA) of flipping contemporary artworks. Artist Rokni Haerizadeh believes TMoCA purchased one of his paintings, “N Vel Ab 2 (2002-03),” at a reduced rate and then resold it at a premium. Haerizadeh says the painting was consigned to Tehran Auction in January, where it sold for 3.6 million rials ($86,680), which is significantly more than it was originally purchased for by the museum. Artist Barbad Golshiri believes his work in the TMoCA collection met a similar fate. “TMoCA confirmed that my work [“Bahram Doesn’t see a Right Wing (2003)” ] is indeed in the collection, yet when I ask them to say this in writing, they turn tail,” he told TAN. “I no longer have any motivation to find my work. That piece was about my own death. I consider it dead. It is as if it never existed.” Sami Azar, a former director of the museum, says: “The institute bought these works under the instructions of the director [myself] because we wanted to support those artists. But after five or six years, the institute decided to sell a number of works; I can understand, though, why the artists are angry.” [TAN]

Students at Brown University who organize under the name “Warren Kanders Must Go” protested at the Granoff Center for Creative Arts, which houses the Brown Arts Initiative (BAI). They dispersed flyers about Brown alum Warren Kanders, owner of defense manufacturing corporation Safariland, throughout the building. The group says, “We demand that the BAI cut all ties with Warren Kanders, CEO of Safariland, and reject all future donations. We also demand that Brown University and the BAI release a statement condemning the violence in Palestine and at the US-Mexico border.” The students say the action was inspired by Nan Goldin’s recent die-in at the Guggenheim Museum. [via email announcement]

International museum committee CIMAM had voiced its “deep concern at Ralf Beil‘s termination of contract by the Board of Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg,” which is a member of CIMAM and owned by Volkswagen. Beil, who was the museum’s former director, was fired with solely a day’s notice following a planned exhibition about fossil fuels. CIMAM says the museum has refused to address their inquiries asking about the reason for the abrupt firing, which happened one year before the end of Beil’s contract. “We bring this case to the attention of our colleagues and the wider public as an example of the threat posed to museums by the censorship of ideas and programmes by governing bodies, the very people who are supposed to encourage, promote and protect the institutions they lead,” they explained. [CIMAM]

Jean-Michel Basquiat, “Apex” (1986), acrylic, oil stick, and Xerox collage on canvas, 67.9 x 86 inches (image courtesy Sotheby’s)

The Brant Foundation in New York’s survey of Jean-Michel Basquiat paintings, which runs March 6 to May 15, sold out all 50,000 of its free tickets prior to its official opening, and its waitlist is growing rapidly. For those that can’t score tickets, Nahmad Contemporary in New York will open the first-ever survey of Basquiat’s Xerox works on March 12. [ARTnews]

Richard Saltoun Gallery will donate 5% of its sales from the Independent New York fair to A.I.R. Gallery, the first artist’s cooperative gallery for women in the United States. [TAN]

Bonhams auction house has increased its buyer’s premiums, following suit of other major auction houses Christie’s, Sotheby’s, and Phillips. [Bonhams]

The Cleveland Museum of Art received a $3 million gift from William and Amanda Madar to establish the position of curator of American painting and sculpture. [Artforum]

Jim Denomie, “Standing Rock, 2016” (2018) (courtesy of the artist)

Republican Minnesota Representative Josh Heintzeman voiced his disapproval for Anishinaabe Native American artist Jim Denomie‘s 8-by-10-foot painting, “Standing Rock, 2016,” currently on display in the Bockley Gallery in Minneapolis. Denomie emotionally depicts his surreal, imagined take on the gruesome violence against Standing Rock protesters in 2016, calling his work a part of an “ongoing dialogue” with American history. In the bottom right corner of the work, Denomie illustrates a likeness of Donald Trump sexually assaulting a blindfolded Lady Justice. The Republican Congressman was not pleased, writing on his Facebook: “There’s a number of very controversial depictions but President Trump’s is especially offencive [sic]. If ‘artists’ create this kind of thing on their own time fine, but not on my dime.” Denomie’s series on the racial violence at Standing Rock was funded by the Minnesota State Arts Board with a $10,000 grant. [City Pages]


The National Army Museum in the UK has agreed to return two locks of hair belonging to Ethiopian Emperor Tewodros II, after a repatriation request from Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia. The museum claims that the hair was donated in 1959 by relatives of an artist who painted the emperor on his deathbed. However, last year, Hirut Woldemariam, Ethiopia’s minister for culture and tourism told the Associated Press, “Displaying human parts in websites and museums is inhumane.” Terri Dendy, the National Army Museum’s head of collections standards and care, said in a statement, “Having spent considerable time researching the provenance and cultural sensitivities around this matter, we believe the Ethiopian government claim to repatriate is reasonable and we are pleased to be able to assist. Our decision to repatriate is very much based on the desire to inter the hair within the tomb alongside the Emperor.” [Al Jazeera]

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

More News from This Week

The Latest

Yarn Against the Patriarchy

Michelle Segre’s art is truer to the actual world we live in than to the ideal one proposed and refined by the art world and its institutions.

Jasmine Weber

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