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Week in Review: MOCA Employees Unionize; Thieves Steal $1.1 Billion Worth of 18th-century Jewels

Also, protests about women’s rights take center stage in Mexico, a 3D-scanned bust of Nefertiti has entered the public domain, and more.

“Love Flies Up to the Sky” by Yayoi Kusama is unveiled in East Rutherford, NJ, and it will be part of the 93rd annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (Photo by Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images for Macy’s Inc.)

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.

Employees at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) submitted union cards to the National Labor Relations Board, following last Friday’s announcement formally declaring their intention to form a union. They cited low wages relative to experience, lack of benefits, schedule instability, and high turnover as some of the reasons behind their decision to unionize.

Photojournalist Albertina Martínez Burgos, who had been covering the Chilean government’s attacks on its citizens, was found dead in her home in Santiago. Prosecutors are investigating the situation as an alleged homicide. Her camera, laptop, and notes were reportedly missing from the crime scene.

In Mexico, widespread protests about women’s rights have taken center stage. Dozens of breastfeeding mothers gathered at Mexico City’s Museum of Modern Art in protest of discriminatory regulations, while the Angel of Independence monument was vandalized with feminist graffiti and crocheted hearts.

Yayoi Kusama was the first woman to design a balloon for the Blue Sky Gallery series of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

A geoglyph discovered with artificial intelligence technology  (image courtesy of Yamagata University)

Archaeologists in Yamagata, Japan said they have discovered a cluster of enormous, ancient geoglyphs in Southern Peru. The discovery was made with the help of cutting-edge artificial intelligence (AI) technology.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is requesting an apology and a series of educational measures at an elementary school in Carmichael, California after a teacher allegedly discarded posters about Black Lives Matter that students had made for an art class.

A study closely followed 25 participants of the Art and Dementia program at National Gallery of Australia in Canberra, finding that art helps balance cortisol levels and decrease “sundowning.” “I feel like me again,” said Judith, one of the participants. “It is good coming here because we all know we have the same problem so we are accepting when people … forget. I feel as though I belong somewhere.”

A study published by the World Health Organization, which collected data from 900 different publications over a 19-year span, offers important validation for the arts and new solutions for medical professionals.

A collage of some the stolen jewels (courtesy of Saxony police)

German police released surveillance camera footage of the dramatic heist in Dresden’s Royal Palace on Monday, November 25, in which thieves stole a trove of 18th-century jewelry estimated by up to a €1 billion (~$1.1 billion).

The appearance of a stolen sacred shield at a Paris auction house prompted a New Mexico Senator to propose the STOP Act, which would ban the trafficking of certain cultural items outside the United States.

A bust of Queen Nefertiti (image courtesy of Cosmo Wenman)

After years of refusal and controversy, German cultural authorities allowed artist and designer Cosmo Wenman to publish scans of the 3,364-year-old bust of Nefertiti under a Creative Commons license.

A new agreement signed by Russia and Syria gives Russia exclusive privileges in restoring Palmyra’s ravaged monuments and artifact

In an unprecedented expansion of its online archive, the Noguchi Museum announced last week the addition of 60,000 archival photographs, manuscripts, and digitized drawings pertaining to the life and work of the influential Japanese American artist Isamu Noguchi.

The colorful version of the new Keith Haring smoking collection (photo by Hrag Vartanian/Hyperallergic)

For those of you starting your holiday shopping, check out Hyperallergic’s annual, art-inspired gift guide. (And this collection of Keith Haring paraphernalia, which is an art-loving stoner’s dream.)

Edward M. Eggleston, “Atlantic City / Pennsylvania Railroad”(circa 1935). Sold for $16,250. (courtesy of Swann Galleries)

In New York, Swann Galleries set 10 records in their “Rare and Important Travel Posters” sale, marking them as leaders in the poster sale industry. The most expensive work was a poster (c. 1935) by Edward M. Eggleston. Produced for the Pennsylvania Railroad to encourage travel to Atlantic City, the poster features a woman beachside. It went to an unnamed institution for $16,250. This and other notable sales and acquisitions are chronicled in our latest Transactions story.

This Week in the Art World

Janet Alberti was appointed vice president and chief financial officer of the Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens. | via email announcement

Carolina Alvarez-Mathies was appointed deputy director of Dallas Contemporary. | Artforum

Marcella Beccaria and Humberto Moro will be the program curators for EXPO Chicago in 2020. | via email announcement

Hetty Berg was named director of the Jewish Museum in Berlin. | Monopol

María Berrío is now represented by Victoria Miro.ARTnews

Ellen Celli, Andrea Krantz, Ruthard Murphy, and Ai Weiwei have joined the board of directors of Public Art Fund. | via email announcement

JR is now represented by Nara Roesler. | Art Daily

Samantha Rippner was appointed associate director of LeRoy Neiman Center for Print Studies at Columbia University. | via email announcement

Yves Robert was named executive director of the Lyon Biennale. | Artforum

Cecilia Vicuña was awarded the Spanish Ministry of Culture’s Premio Velázquez de Artes Plásticas. | Artforum

Obituaries

Goo Hara (1991–2019), K-pop star | Billboard

Ray Kappe (1927–2019), environmentalist architect and founder of SCI-Arc architecture school | KCRW

Dion Neutra (1926–2019), modernist architect | Architect’s Newspaper

Michael J. Pollard (1939–2019), actor and comedian | CNN

Dorothy Seiberling (1922–2019), arts editor | AV Press

Dorothy Seymour Mills (1928–2019), baseball historian | New York Times

John Simon (1925–2019), art critic | Wall Street Journal

Tom Spurgeon (1968–2019), writer and editor on comic | Columbia Journalism Review

Gahan Wilson (1930–2019), author, cartoonist and illustrator | Los Angeles Times

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