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Week in Review: Official Definition of “Museum” Sparks Debate, Concerns Arise Over Suffragist Monument

Also, the Alaska state legislature has restored full funding to the state’s art agency, protesters vandalized Mexico City’s “Angel of Independence” monument with graffiti during anti-rape demonstrations, and more.

Pepsi-Cola sign in Long Island City (via Wikimedia Commons)

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.

For almost 50 years, the International Council of Museums (ICOM) has defined the museum as “a nonprofit institution” that “acquires, conserves, researches, communicates, and exhibits the tangible and intangible heritage of humanity and its environment for the purposes of education, study, and enjoyment.” But an updated version of the definition would incorporate mention of “human dignity and social justice,” references which have split the consortium’s 40,000 professionals representing 20,000 museums across ideological lines. And last week, 24 national branches of the council — including those of France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Canada, and Russia — requested a postponement of the revision’s official vote in order to deliver a “new proposal.” | Hyperallergic

Last month, Subhash Kapoor was charged with 86 felony counts for allegedly looting $145 million in antiquities over the last 50 years. The resulting inquiry into the dealer’s alleged smuggling operation triggered a cascade of collector and museum inquiries into their acquisitions from the detained dealer. | Hyperallergic

Earlier this week, New Yorkers noticed something different about the landmarked Pepsi-Cola sign along the East River. For the first time in its 80-year history, the iconic illuminated logo has been temporarily amended. JetBlue has added its logo to promote its recently-announced partnership where the airline will only serve PepsiCo drinks. | Hyperallergic

Sojourner Truth (via Wikimedia Commons)

For almost a year, scholars have accused Monumental Women’s Statue Fund (the nonprofit funding the sculpture) of whitewashing history by spotlighting the suffragists Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony without paying equal tribute to the many women of color who contributed to the movement. Last week, the group said that the statue would now include Sojourner Truth, an abolitionist and women’s rights activist best-known for her rousing “Ain’t I a Woman?” speech first delivered at the 1851 Women’s Convention in Akron, Ohio. But not everyone agrees with the Statue Fund’s angle on history. More than 20 leading academics have signed onto a letter asking that the public art process involving the monument become more transparent and inclusive. | Hyperallergic

Over 120 art world professionals have signed a letter calling for the Rene and Veronica di Rosa Foundation in Napa, California to cease its plan to sell off its collection of 1,600 works. They say the sale “would lead to an irretrievable loss to the international art community.” Arists Mark di Suvero, Peter Saul, and Nancy Hoffman are among its signatories. | ARTnews

More than 500 people rushed the streets of Mexico City last week, calling on government officials to create stronger laws against sexual assault after two teenagers accused policemen of raping them. Protests launched in the wake of these allegations have been dubbed “glitter protests” after activists dumped pink glitter on the Mexican capital’s police chief earlier in the week. Demonstrators have since claimed that city officials have failed to properly investigate the rape accusations. On Friday night, activists expressed their anguish by vandalizing Mexico City’s “Angel of Independence” monument with graffiti. | Hyperallergic

One of the candidates for the next official New York license plate

Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced five possible replacements for the current New York license plate. He’s asking the public to cast their vote through September 2 online. | Hyperallergic

Following statewide outcry, in an emergency special session of the Alaska state legislature, representatives restored full funding to the state’s arts agency in a new budget deal with Governor Dunleavy, who did not exercise his veto power to eliminate it again. If the veto had held, Alaska would have become the first state without an arts agency. | Hyperallergic

Former British Council employee Aras Amiri has been sentenced to 10 years in a Tehran prison for “cultural infiltration by the British intelligence services in Iranian internal affairs” after losing her appeal. She was detained in March 2018 during a visit with her grandmother and is serving her sentence in Tehran. The council is opposing any allegations of espionage and says, “We remain extremely concerned for Aras’s safety and wellbeing and continue to refute the accusation levied against her. | TAN

“Iris Bleus, Jardin du Petit Gennevilliers” (1892) by Gustave Caillebotte (via Wikimedia Commons)

After three years of conflict, the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) has acquired “Iris Bleus, Jardin du Petit Gennevilliers” (1892) by Gustave Caillebotte. Though the exact amount has not been revealed, it went for over $1 million. In an earlier sale in 2016, the work was sold to a British art dealer at a Toronto auction for $678,500, but was blocked from leaving the country. The AGO is receiving a $540,000 grant from the Canadian government to aid the purchase.

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

Opportunities

AIR Gallery is hosting an open call for its sixth biannual CURRENTS exhibition, curated by Carmen Hermo. The exhibition will be held January 10–February 9, 2020. Applications are due October 13, 2019. | AIR

Learn about other opportunities you can apply for this month in our latest “Opportunities for Artists in August 2019.”

This Week in the Art World

Elaine Cameron-Weir, “Historical events influencing the disappearance of this determined that from the end of the time to the beginning of the century, only the area of the current Old was and the early axis remains only as a vestige as it nails itself to the cross.” (2018), marble, stainless steel, aluminum, pewter, leather, parachute cord, orthopedic jaw fixation device, 78 x 17 x 10 inches (Photo by Charles Benton, Courtesy of the artist and JTT, New York)

Ylinka Barotto and Frauke V. Josenhanswere named curators at the Moody Center for the Arts at Rice University in Houston, Texas. | Artforum

Nora Burnett Abrams was appointed director of the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver. | via email announcement

Elaine Cameron-Weir, Sam McKinniss, and Issy Wood are now represented by JTT Gallery. | Instagram

John Connelly was appointed director of the Santa Barbara City College Art Gallery. | via email announcement

Maximilian Coreth, Sarah Wendell Sherrill, Sundaram Tagore, and Kulapat Yantrasast have joined the Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum Board of Trustees.

Eric Golo Stone was named artistic director of the Künstlerhaus Stuttgart in Germany. | via email announcement

The Hemingway African Gallery has relocated to 88 Leonard Street in Tribeca, Manhattan. | TAN

Edward P. Henry was appointed board chair of United States Artists. | ARTnews

Betti-Sue Hertz was named director and chief curator of Columbia University’s Wallach Art Gallery. | via email announcement

Monica King will open an eponymous gallery in Tribeca, Monica King Contemporary. | artnet News

Udo Kittelman has stepped down as director of the National Gallery in Berlin. | artnet News

Simon Preston was tapped as senior director at Pace. | ARTnews

Victoria Ramirez was appointed executive director of the Arkansas Arts Center. | Arkansas Online

Rebecca Wei has stepped down as chairman of Christie’s Asia. | artnet News

In Memoriam

Ernie Colón (1931–2019), comics artist | Hollywood Reporter

Barbara Crane (1928–2019), photographer | ARTnews

Jean-Pierre Mocky (1929–2019), film director | Guardian

Richard Williams (1933–2019), animator, voice actor, director, and writer | Washington Post

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