The J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles acquired “Two Boys with a Bladder” (1769-70), a significant work by English landscape painter and portraitist Joseph Wright of Derby. The painting features two boys inflating a pig’s bladder by candlelight (animal bladders were used as children’s toys in the 17th and 18th centuries). There is some contention around the acquisition. The Getty purchased the painting from Lowell Libson & Jonny Yarker Ltd., a gallery in London, in March last year. This past October, however, the UK placed an export ban on the work, deeming it a masterpiece that should not leave the country. The export license was granted after no UK buyer came forward.
Howard University in Washington, DC received a donation of 152 artworks by African American makers, including important works from the Harlem Renaissance and pieces by Norman Lewis, Kerry James Marshall, and Kehinde Wiley. The donation, which came from art collector and patron Patricia Turner Walters, is valued at $2.5 million.
The High Museum of Art in Atlanta announced a major gift of 24 artworks from local philanthropists Doris and Shouky Shaheen. The donation, which comprises the entirety of the couple’s Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, and Modernist painting collection, marks the first time that works by Henri Fantin-Latour, Henri Matisse, Amedeo Modigliani, and Alfred Sisley have entered the collection. The New York Times quotes museum director Rand Suffolk calling the donation “a godsend.”
After a long search for the right recipient, the Aaron Siskind Foundation in New York donated over 8,000 photographs to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond. It is the biggest donation that the museum has received to date. The foundation is also handing over the job of managing its prestigious Fellowship program.
Museu de Arte São Paulo rounded off a year of programming dedicated to female artists by acquiring 296 artworks by women, made from the 19th century to the present day. “Composition, Lonely Figure” (1930), a painting by influential Brazilian Modernist Tarsila do Amaral, numbers among the new additions.
The Vancouver Art Gallery has reported a nice handful of donations. Photography collectors Claudia Beck and Andrew Gruft, who have donated 552 pieces to the museum to date, donated 36 works by 26 artists including Lee Friedlander and Alfred Stieglitz. The institution also received 15 works by six Asian artists including Koki Tanaka and Qiu Zhijie (gifted by the family of Jack and Maryon Adelaar), five works by former Haida chief Charles Edenshaw (gifted by Donald Ellis), and several works by Gareth Moore and Johannes Wohnseifer (gifted by Ann and Marshall Webb).
As civil unrest in Hong Kong persists, Art Basel Hong Kong is losing exhibitors. Luxembourg & Dayan, Tyler Rollins Fine Art, and SCAI The Bathhouse have pulled out of this year’s fair, joining two unnamed galleries that withdrew this past fall. The protests are not expected to ultimately make the fair untenable, but if they do, participating galleries will be refunded 75% of their fair fees.
Artnet has released a summary of sales prices relayed by exhibitors at San Francisco’s Untitled Art Fair and FOG Art + Design Fair. As Caroline Goldstein notes, it is worth taking any sales prices reported by dealers with a grain of salt. At Untitled, Marc Straus took the lead, selling two works by Chris Jones for $14,000 each. Meanwhile, Hauser & Wirth set the record at the higher-end FOG, garnering $350,000 for Jenny Holzer’s “THOUGHT” (2019).
In restitution news, the Gemäldegalerie in Berlin returned Hans Baldung Grien’s 1537 painting of the biblical patriarch Lot to the descendants of Hans Purrmann, a German painter who was declared degenerate by the Nazis. Nazi persecution put Purrmann in a financial bind, which led him to liquidate his art collection; his sale of the 16th-century painting to the Gemäldegalerie in 1937 qualifies for restitution as the sale was made under duress. The work is a fragment of a larger painting that depicts Lot with his daughters.
Remembering the Migrants Who Died in US Detention
Artist Jackie Amézquita will lead a caravan of trucks with the names of the deceased to LA sites representing systems of oppression and solidarity for immigrants.
Mark Thomas Gibson’s Cartoons See the US Going Nowhere
If Thomas Nast, who is considered the “Father of the American Cartoon,” has an heir, it is Gibson, who goes one step further and elevates caricature and commentary into art.
LSU School of Art Grants Highest MFA Stipends in the Southern US
With funded assistantships, full tuition waivers, and generous stipends, Louisiana State University helps students lay the groundwork for a successful lifelong art practice.
Kahori Kamiya Transmutes Grief Into Play
Through artworks that encourage viewers to explore varied vantages, Kamiya conveys her accrued wisdom and experiences without the weight of their pain.
Maya Deren in Vivid Focus
Maya Deren: Choreographed for Camera depicts how the artist’s life and ideas cemented her place as a champion and influencer of culture.
School of the Art Institute of Chicago Offers Summer Art and Design Courses Online and On-Campus
Emerging and established artists can choose from over 50 Adult Continuing Education courses at one of the most influential art and design schools in the US.
AI Image Generators Finally Figured Out Hands
Midjourney fixed its inability to render hands realistically, one of the telltale signs of an image being AI-generated.
Lorraine O’Grady, Emily Jacir Among American Academy of Arts’s 2023 Awardees
Artist Faith Ringgold and scholar Helen Hennessy Vendler received this year’s gold medals.
IDSVA Offers a Non-Studio PhD in Visual Arts: Philosophy, Aesthetics, and Art Theory
With no campus, the Institute for Doctoral Studies in the Visual Arts is a truly nomadic institution, existing everywhere our students and faculty are.
MTV’s The Exhibit Needs a Cutthroat Judge
In episode three, the artists created works about the pandemic and bonded with each other, which is cute but doesn’t really make for good TV.
Cauleen Smith’s Drylongso Depicts a Bygone Oakland
Smith’s 1998 film exudes the DIY charm of a low-budget, first-time feature while keenly depicting the complexities of both race- and gender-related inequalities.
Tyler School of Art and Architecture Opens 2023 MFA Thesis Exhibition Series
Students working in diverse disciplines explore temporality, connectedness in time and space, and global reckonings. On view in Philadelphia.
Take Ai Weiwei’s Middle Finger Anywhere in the World
A new collaboration between the artist and Avant Arte invites users to flip the bird anywhere and everywhere on Google Maps.
This week, gifted DeSantis a “fascist” snowflake, NASA’s Webb telescope captures a supernova, corporatizing London’s creativity, and much more.