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Week in Review: Stephen Ross Leaves The Shed’s Board; Banksy Modifies a Nativity Set

Also, the Vessel agrees to install a new elevator, NYC gives $51.3 million in grants to cultural nonprofits, authorities in Beirut removed a sculpture from a square in the city for its accidental resemblance to the star of David, and more.

Banksy’s “Scar of Bethlehem” at the Walled Off Hotel (photo courtesy Bisher Qassis)

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.

Hyperallergic broke the news that Stephen M. Ross, the Hudson Yards developer who was scolded for his ties with President Trump, has quietly stepped down from the Shed’s board of directors. The Shed confirmed Ross’s resignation and said that he decided “to focus on his other philanthropic activities.”

More in Hudson Yards news: In a deal with US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, the Vessel in Hudson Yards has agreed to install a special platform lift that will increase accessibility for people with disabilities. The new elevator will provide access to the Hudson Yard structure’s upper floors, which are currently inaccessible for people with disabilities

Shannon Finnegan’s Anti-Stairs Club Lounge in front of Vessel (photo by Maria Baranova, courtesy of Shannon Finnegan)

New York City is paying more attention to small cultural nonprofits. The city’s Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA) has awarded $51.3 million in grants to 985 cultural organizations. The DCLA said that funding was set aside for nonprofits that directly support individual artists, collectives, and smaller cultural organizations throughout the city. A group of 12 nonprofits — including Harlem Stage, BRIC, and Bronx River Art Center — will have their energy expenses paid for this year. The grants come from the city’s record-breaking $212 million arts and culture budget for the 2020 fiscal year.

Protesters at the Palace of Fine Arts in Mexico City (courtesy of Edgar Ali Villalba Herrera on behalf of #YaPágameINBAL and #conTRATOdigno)

In Mexico City, workers of the Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes y Literatura (INBAL), the national organization responsible for Mexico’s major museums, staged a protest against the long delays of their wages. A group of around 40 employees quietly entered the Palace of Fine Arts during an event. They silently held up their placards as many in the audience cheered and yelled “contrato digno” — a call for “dignified contracts.”

Nathaniel Rackowe, “LP46” (2018) (courtesy Letitia Gallery)

As the anti-corruption protests in Lebanon continue, authorities in Beirut removed a sculpture from a central square in the city after a viral photo showed that from a certain top-angle, the statue evokes the shape of the Star of David. The sculpture was removed following claims that it had been placed at the square to propagate Zionism and normalization with Israel. The artist and gallery behind the sculpture denied the allegations.

In Bethlehem, in the Occupied West Bank, Jesus’s city of birth, Christians celebrated the holiday behind walls and checkpoints. To underscore this grim reality, British street artist Banksy created a “modified nativity set” titled the “Scar of Bethlehem.” The new artwork reinterprets the biblical manger scene as occurring against the backdrop of Israel’s concrete barrier, which appears punctured with a blast that created the shape of a star. This is one of many projects and artworks Banksy has created in the Occupied West Bank since 2005.

The German parliament voted that trade workers in 12 professions will once again need a Meisterpflicht, or master craftsperson certificate, to start a business. Tilers, organ builders, makers of wooden toys, coopers, signmakers, parquet flooring installers, interior designers, and glass refiners will have to obtain the certificate designation before they can branch out on their own.

This Week in the Art World

Libertad Guerra, formerly the director and chief curator of the Loisaida Center, was named executive director of the Clemente Soto Velez Cultural and Educational Center (The Clemente) in New York City’s Lower East Side. | via email announcement

Eric Shiner, who in the past served as director of the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh and a senior vice president of Sotheby’s, will lead the Brooklyn-based venue Pioneer Works after a year-long stint as an artistic advisor at White Cube gallery in London. | artnet

Kristen Windmuller-Luna, who was appointed as a consulting curator for African Arts at the Brooklyn Museum in 2018, which sparked protests and criticism, will move on to the Cleveland Museum of Art to serve as curator of African arts. | Cleveland.com

Abigail Rapoport was appointed Curator of Judaica at the Jewish Museum in New York. | via email announcement

Doug Harrell has been named deputy director for finance and administration at the New Orleans Museum of Art. | Artnews

Almine Rech now represents painter Ewa Juszkiewicz | Artnews

Artists Theaster Gates and Lynette Wallworth were named 2020 Crystal Award Winners by the World Economic Forum in Geneva, Switzerland. | World Economic Forum

In Memoriam

May Stevens (1924-2019), artist and activist | NYT

Kate Figes (1957-2019), Feminist writer | NYT

Allee Willis (1947-2019), songwriter | NPR

Emanuel Ungaro (1933-2019), fashion designer | NYT

Elizabeth Spencer (1921-2019), novelist | NYT

Johanna Lindsey (1952-2019), best-selling romance novelist | NYT

Mama Cax (1989-2019), amputee model and disability activist | NYT

Abbey Simon (1920-2019), pianist | NYT

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