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Week in Review: Trump Threatens Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Workers at the Shed Petition to Unionize

Also, Amanda Schmitt’s lawsuit against Artforum moves forward, Paris Musées is now offering 100,000 digital reproductions of artworks online, and more.

James “Yaya” Hough (image courtesy of Mural Arts Philadelphia)

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.

After the assassination of Iranian major general Soleimani, President Donald Trump threatened to attack 52 Iranian cultural sites. He has walked back this threat after intense scrutiny about the illegality of the targeting of cultural heritage, saying, “If that’s what the law is, I like to obey the law.”

Front of house staff at the Shed, a multidisciplinary cultural institution in New York City that opened last year, are looking to unionize. The staff, who have filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board, claim that “working conditions were not up to par.”

Amanda Schmitt, the former Artforum employee who claims she endured years of sexual harassment from once publisher Knight Landesman, will be able to take the publication to court once again.

Meet James “Yaya” Hough, a formerly incarcerated artist who hopes to transform the Philadelphia DA’s Office as its first artist in residence.

Chris Ofili, “The Games People Play” (courtesy of Tokyo 2020)

Twenty posters to commemorate the upcoming Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics have premiered at the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo.

NYC’s Department of Cultural Affairs has awarded funding to 36 local nonprofits throughout the five boroughs to bolster their arts and culture programs. The 12 languages served in these programs include Spanish, Chinese, and American Sign Language. The initiative seeks to remove language barriers from New York City’s bustling arts and culture institutions.

Under pressure for its alleged ties to the Chinese government and other security concerns, the developers behind TikTok published the company’s first “transparency report.” The report revealed that the top two countries with the most requests for user data were India and the United States, respectively.

Gustave Courbet, “Les demoiselles des bords de la Seine (été)” (1857), oil on canvas, from the collection of Petit Palais (CC0 Paris Musées / Musée des Beaux-Arts de la Ville de Paris, Petit Palais)

Paris Musées is now offering 100,000 digital reproductions of artworks in the city’s museums as Open Access — free of charge and without restrictions — via its Collections portal.

Critics say Facebook’s measures to limit manipulated videos, like deepfakes, are insufficient.

A browser extension called Library Extension will show you if books and e-books you search for online are available for free at your local library, and helps you borrow them in one click.

Gary Larson’s beloved comic series The Far Side is now legally on the web.

Carrie Mae Weems, Untitled (detail), seven panels of framed chromogenic prints and sandblasted text on glass, 1996-97. Estimate $100,000 to $150,000. At auction January 30. (courtesy of Swann Auction Galleries)

Swann Auction Galleries in New York will hold a sale of artwork from the collection of the Johnson Publishing Company, the former publisher of Ebony and Jet magazines. The historic collection of African American art features works by 75 artists including Carrie Mae Weems and Kenneth Victor Young. This and other notable sales and acquisitions are chronicled in our latest Transactions story.

This Week in the Art World

Lawrence Abu Hamdan was awarded the Future Fields Commission by the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo. | via email announcement

Natalie Bell was appointed exhibitions curator at the MIT Art Center. | ARTnews

Adriana Corral and Vincent Valdez were awarded the Houston Artadia Awards. | Artforum

Gertrud Hvidberg-Hansen was appointed director of Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek in Copenhagen. | Artforum

Beatriz Milhazes is now represented by Pace. | via email announcement

Lucy Sexton stepped down as executive director of the Bessies. | via email announcement

VIA Art Fund awarded over $1 million in grants to artists and visual arts organizations in 2019, ranging from $20,000 to $100,000. | Artforum

Darren Walker joined the board of the National Gallery of Art. | Washington Post

In Memoriam

John Baldessari (courtesy of Valerij Ledenev/Flickr)

John Baldessari (1931–2020), prolific visual artist and educator | New York Times

Gabriel Barredo (1957–2020), sculptor | Art Asia Pacific

Harry Kupfer (1935–2019), opera producer | Guardian

Vaughan Oliver (1957–2019), graphic designer | NYT 

Wanda Pimentel (1943–2019), Pop Art painter | ARTnews

Jack Sheldon (1931–2019), jazz trumpeter, singer, and actor known for his work with Schoolhouse Rock! | CNN

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