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Week in Review: Artists Confront MoMA PS1 Trustees; Museum Director Pushed Out After Harassment Allegations

Also, over 100 artists will contribute to a benefit exhibition foregrounding the experiences of detained children, and more.

Artist Michael Rakowitz after pausing his video work at MoMA PS1 (photo by Jillian Steinhauer, courtesy of Michael Rakowitz)

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.

Artist Michael Rakowitz paused his video work RETURN at the MoMA PS1 exhibition Theater of Operations: The Gulf Wars 1991–2011 around noon on Saturday, January 11, in solidarity with activists who have been demanding that MoMA’s trustee Larry Fink divest himself from private prison companies. The artist also installed a plaque with a statement next to his work, which included a clause that the statement should not be removed as it was a part of the artwork. However, the museum later unpaused the video and removed the plaque against his stated request.

Thirty-seven artists participating in MoMA PS1’s exhibition Theater of Operations: The Gulf Wars 1991-2011, have signed an open letter calling on the museum to separate itself from trustees with ties to private prison companies and a defense contractor that was involved in the American wars in Iraq.

Jesse Presley Jones, “And they tell us it’s the law” (2019), paint on glass, 8 x 12 inches (copyright Jesse Presley Jones) (image courtesy of DYKWTCA, Mary Ellen Carroll, and Lucas Michael)

Over 100 artists will contribute to DYKWTCA (Do you know where the children are?), a benefit exhibition foregrounding the experiences of detained children. DYKWTCA will travel across the US until after the 2021 election, and the works will be offered for $500 each and the full proceeds donated to immigrant advocacy groups.

Joshua Helmer is no longer the executive director of Pennsylvania’s Erie Art Museum, the museum’s board of directors announced on January 13. His expulsion follows a New York Times article that revealed allegations of sexual misconduct made against him during his tenure at the Erie Art Museum and the Philadelphia Museum Art.

Over 300 former and current Philadelphia Museum of Art Workers employees signed a petition saying the allegations against Helmer, the museum’s former assistant director of interpretation, “barely scratch the surface.”

The Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico (MAC), along with other organizations, led a visit to assess damages in the southern municipality of Guayanilla (courtesy of Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico)

Cultural organizations in Puerto Rico are mobilizing efforts in response to the 6.4 magnitude earthquake that rocked the island on January 7, sending aftershocks and temblors that have continued for weeks.

After sharing feminist and LGBTQ-friendly art on social media, 26-year-old theater director Yulia Tsvetkova has been placed under house arrest, fined, and accused of distributing “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations among minors.” She’s currently facing six years in jail.

The Center for Art Law in New York has launched its Visual Artists’ Immigration Clinic, with two consultation sessions scheduled for January 30 and March 24, 2020. The clinic will provide $10 consultation sessions to guide international artists through the laborious process of obtaining an artist visa to the United States.

The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats, the most checked out book in the history of the New York Public Library (all images courtesy NYPL)

The Snowy Day, Ezra Jack Keats’s 1962 children’s story is the most borrowed book in the entire history of the New York Public Library (NYPL). That’s according to a list of top 10 check-outs, released by the library to celebrate its 125th anniversary. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, To Kill a Mockingbird, and 1984 also made the list.

The Metropolitan Museum, the Shed, MoMA, and other museums were among several tax-exempt NYC organizations that filed objections to serve as polling places.

Learn about opportunities you can apply for this month in our latest “Opportunities for Artists in January 2020.”

Camille Pissarro, “Gelée blanche, jeune paysanne faisant du feu” (1887-88) (est. £8,000,000-12,000,000) (courtesy of Sotheby’s)

Sotheby’s London will auction off three restituted Impressionist paintings with a combined high estimate of $25 million next month. The works were consigned by the heirs of Gaston Prosper Lévy, a French-Jewish property developer and art collector who lost the paintings to the Nazis when he was forced to flee Paris during World War II. Paul Signac’s “The Golden Horn (La Corne d’Or)” and Camille Pissarro’s “White frost, young peasant building a fire (Gelée blanche, jeune paysanne faisant du feu)” hung in the Musée d’Orsay in Paris before they were restituted in 2018. The third work, Paul Signac’s “Clichy Dock. Gray Weather (Quai de Clichy. Temps Gris),” was discovered in the hoard of Cornelius Gurlitt in Munich in 2012 and returned to the heirs in 2019. This and other notable sales and acquisitions are chronicled in our latest Transactions story.

This Week in the Art World

Henry Taylor, “THE TIMES THAY AINT A CHANGING, FAST ENOUGH! (2017), acrylic on canvas, 72 x 96 in (photo by Benjamin Sutton for Hyperallergic)
Henry Taylor, “THE TIMES THAY AINT A CHANGING, FAST ENOUGH! (2017), acrylic on canvas, 72 x 96 in (photo by Benjamin Sutton for Hyperallergic) 

Cecilia Alemani will curate the 2021 Venice Biennale. | NYT

Sara Cochran was named director of the Church, a residency and exhibition space on Long Island. | ARTnews

George Condo is now represented by Hauser & Wirth. | ARTnews

Stan Douglas will represent Canada at the 2021 Venice Biennale. | via email announcement

Simon Fox was appointed chief executive of Frieze. | artnet News

Jeremy O. Harris will curate the High Line’s annual Out of Line series in 2020. | NYT

Ilana Harris-Babou and Mateo Nava were awarded the 2020 Jorge M. Pérez Award. | via email announcement

Amanda Heng was awarded Singapore Biennale’s Benesse Prize. | Artforum

Uri D. Herscher, founding President and CEO of the Skirball Cultural Center, is retiring. He will be succeeded by Jessie Kornberg. | via email announcement

Sharon Kim will join Richard Gray Gallery as a partner. | via email announcement

Spike Lee will be the first Black person to lead the Cannes Film Festival jury in its 73-year history. | NYT

Sophia Narrett is now represented by Kohn Gallery. | via email announcement

Patrick Noon is retiring as senior curator and chair of the Minneapolis Institute of Art‘s department of paintings. | Artforum

Bruno Racine was appointed director of the Palazzo Grassi and Punta della Dogana in Venice. | ARTnews

Cindy Sherman was awarded the 2020 Wolf Prize in Art. | via email announcement

Henry Taylor is now represented by Hauser & Wirth, as well as Blum & Poe. | ARTnews

Su Xiaobai is now represented by Sean Kelly.ARTnews

In Memoriam

Toshio Saeki (1945–2020), painter and illustrator known as the “Godfather of Japanese Erotica” | ARTnews

Marion Chesney (1936–2019), mystery writer who wrote under the pseudonym M.C. Beaton | NYT

Sylvia Jukes Morris (1935–2020), biographer of Edith Roosevelt and Clare Boothe Luce | Washington Post

Betty Pat Gatliff (1930–2020), forensic sculptor | Washington Post

Ivan Passer (1933–2020), director | Texarkana Gazette

Alasdair Gray (1934–2019), author | Guardian

Neil Peart (1952–2020), drummer for Rush | NYT

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