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.
Reporter Hakim Bishara spoke with Parisians and tourists to hear their opinion of Jeff Koons’s controversial gift to Paris, a monumental “Bouquet of Tulips.” Many couldn’t help but notice its likeness to “anuses on stems,” but those who braved the cold to see the sculpture had mostly favorable things to say. Days after the post was published, the sculpture’s placard was vandalized with graffiti reading, “11 Trous du c …,” which can translate to “11 Holes of the butt …”
Bishara also visited the Yayoi Kusama exhibition opening at David Zwirner in Manhattan, to ask fans why they’d waited hours for a 30-second glimpse at one of her world-famous infinity rooms. The star of the show was a four-year-old Kusama fanatic named Valentine, who dressed in polka dots and a red wig, and told our reporter of the anticipated infinity installation: “It was nighttime and the stars were dancing around me.”
In an ad takeover outside of the Museum of Modern Art, the Guerrilla Girls targeted trustees Leon Black and Glenn Dubin for their connections to Jeffrey Epstein. “MoMA should Kick Leon Black & Glenn Dubin off its Board immediately, drape the Black and Dubin Galleries in black, & put up wall labels explaining why,” the sign reads.
In Los Angeles, a group of about 50 visitor services associates gathered outside the Marciano Art Foundation to protest the foundation’s recent announcement that it would be laying off all of its 70 associates and shuttering its doors to the public. These developments came only days after a group of employees made public their decision to unionize.
Journalist Aatish Taseer had his Overseas Citizenship of India status revoked just months after publishing an article critical of the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in TIME Magazine. More than 260 leading writers, journalists, and artists — including Margaret Atwood, Salman Rushdie, and Christiane Amanpour — signed a PEN America letter calling on the Indian government to reverse its decision.
Climate change activist group Extinction Rebellion staged a public protest in the form of a floating structure that created the illusion of a suburban house sinking into the River Thames in London. Titled “The Sinking House,” the intervention took place in the early hours on Sunday, November 10, and is intended as a public appeal to politicians to make a more stringent and immediate response to regulate the effects of human industry and waste on the environment.
A German nonprofit tried to send Donald Trump a piece of the Berlin Wall, inscribed with a missive noting that “no wall lasts forever.”
National Galleries of Scotland (NGS) has become the latest arts organization to end its sponsorship from the oil company, British Petroleum (BP). In a statement published this morning, trustees of the institution cited the “climate emergency” as being behind their decision to cut ties with the fossil fuel multinational.
Chinese President Xi Jinping voiced his support of Greece’s demand that the British Museum return the Parthenon Marbles.
The 2019 Venice Biennale was closed on November 13 due to extreme weather conditions that caused record-high floods and killed two people in the lagoon city.
But for more than a week, the Iraq Pavilion at the Venice Biennale has been closed to visitors in a strike against the Iraqi authorities. Ruya Foundation, the Baghdad-based nonprofit foundation that organized the country’s pavilion at the 2019 Venice Biennale announced the strike on November 5 “in solidarity with the popular youth uprisings that have erupted in Iraq against state corruption and deteriorating economic and living conditions.”
Keith Haring’s 85-foot mural “Untitled (The Church of the Ascension Grace House Mural)” (c.1983/84) achieved $3,860,075 at Bonhams Post-War & Contemporary Art sale on November 13. It was the first Haring mural ever to come to auction and it was originally painted in the stairwell of Grace House, a former convent and home of the Catholic Youth Organization in Manhattan. Other highlights from the sale include Helen Frankenthaler’s “Mica” (1981), which sold for $487,575; Louise Nevelson’s “Rain Forest Column XVIII” (1962), which sold for $225,075; and Sam Francis’s “Of the Rope Star (SFF:636)” (1973–1974), which sold for $237,575. The sale achieved a total of $6,626,300.
This and other notable sales and acquisitions are chronicled in our latest Transactions story.
This Week in the Art World
Nita Ambani has joined the Metropolitan Museum‘s board of trustees. | via email announcement
Amoako Boafo was named the first artist-in-residence at the Rubell Museum. | ARTnews
Jacqueline Bongartz was named managing director of the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. | via email announcement
Gus Casely-Hayford was named the founding director of a new V&A outpost in East London. | via email announcement
Joana Choumali was awarded the $100,000 Prix Pictet. | Guardian
Torkwase Dyson was awarded the Studio Museum‘s $50,000 Wein Prize. | Hyperallergic
Nicole Eisenman is now represented by Hauser & Wirth. | Art Insider
Nicholas Galanin is now represented by Peter Blum. | via email announcement
Diana Greenwald was hired as assistant curator at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. | Art Daily
Allison Janae Hamilton is now represented by Marianne Boesky Gallery. | via email announcement
Ashley James was named associate curator of contemporary art at the Guggenheim Museum. | ARTnews
Eisa Jocson was awarded the 2019 Hugo Boss Asia Prize. | Art Asia Pacific
Chiara Parisi was named director of the Centre Pompidou-Metz in Lorraine, France. | The Art Newspaper
Rory Pilgrim was awarded the 2019 Prix de Rome. | Artforum
Paul Rucker and Nontsikelelo Mutiti were named inaugural fellows at the Institute for Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University. Amber Esseiva was promoted to associate curator, and Egbert Vongmalaithong was promoted to assistant curator for commerce and publications. | via email announcement
Betye Saar was awarded the Wolfgang Hahn Prize. | via email announcement
Antonio Társis was awarded the VIA Arts Prize 2019. | via email announcement
Kira Wisniewski was appointed executive director of Art+Feminism. | via email announcement
Sally Dixon (1932–2019), avante-garde filmmaker | Artforum
Robert Freeman (1936–2019), photographer and cover artist for Beatles albums | Fstoppers
Alan Hagman (1964–2019), Los Angeles Times photo editor | LA Times
Jerry Hirshberg (1939–2019), designer | San Diego Union Tribune
Noel Ignatiev (1940–2019), scholar dedicated to abolishing white privilege | Washington Post
Stan Kozak (1953–2019), Isabella Stewart Gardner museum‘s chief gardener | Boston Globe
Fred Krinke (1928–2019), illustrator | LA Times
Shoji Sadao (1927–2019), architect | New York Times