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Week in Review: Anti-Oil Activists Occupy British Museum To Protest BP-Funded Exhibition; Chile Foregoes Participation In Spanish Art Fair, Prompting Backlash

Also, the Rothko Chapel in Houston will reopen this June, the US Department of the Interior has finalized plans to allow drilling, mining, and grazing in national monuments in southern Utah, and more.

Performance activists recreated the Trojan Horse to display outside of the British Museum in protest of the institution’s financial relationship to British Petroleum (photo by Amy Scaife, courtesy of BP or not BP?)

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.

Hundreds of anti-oil activists occupied the British Museum last Friday to protest the oil company British Petroleum (BP)’s sponsorship of one of the museum’s current exhibitions, Troy: Myth and Reality. Members of the theatrical activist group BP Or Not BP? brought a four-meter model of a Trojan Horse emblazoned with the BP logo to the museum and stationed it in the courtyard for the protest, which lasted 51 hours.

Citing Chile’s “social unrest,” the Chilean Ministry of Culture has declined an invitation from ARCOmadrid, Spain’s major contemporary art fair, to participate as the guest country in its 2021 edition. The decision has been viewed as a heavy blow to the nation’s artistic community and a means of silencing artists who could air the government’s human rights transgressions abroad.

In a historic win, Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite took home four Oscars: Best Original Screenplay, Best International Feature Film, Best Director, and Best Picture. Parasite is the first South Korean film to win Best International Feature, the first film to win both Best International Feature and Best Picture, and the first non-English-language film ever to win Best Picture.

Photojournalist Amr Alfiky was arrested by NYPD while filming police officers in Manhattan. In video footage captured by his friend, Alfiky loudly and clearly repeats that he is a journalist and offers to show his press credentials while a group of police push him against a car and handcuff him.

Frieze Art Fair sponsor Deutsche Bank, notorious for Trump ties, is under increased scrutiny after federal investigations into potential money-laundering lapses, but its art world involvement is mostly relegated to footnotes. As the bank scrambles to restructure in the wake of controversies and mismanagement, Hyperallergic looks a little closer.

The destroyed Gabriel Rico work at OMR Gallery’s Zona Maco booth (courtesy of Galería OMR)

This past weekend, Mexican art critic Avelina Lésper broke a glass sculpture by artist Gabriel Rico that was on view at Zona Maco art fair. After Lésper tried to place a soda can on one of the work’s protruding elements, the work shattered to pieces “as though it had heard my commentary and sensed what I thought about it,” she said in a video.

The US Department of the Interior has finalized plans to allow drilling, mining, and grazing in national monuments in southern Utah — Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante — by redrawing the boundaries of the monuments. The boundary changes will threaten ancient art and artifacts on millions of acres of previously protected public land.

For the fourth consecutive year, the Trump administration is threatening to eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). The 2021 budget proposal labels the NEA, as well as National Endowment for the Humanities, under the category of “wasteful and unnecessary funding.”

The Louvre museum in Paris will be open nonstop for the last three days of its blockbuster Leonardo da Vinci exhibition — February 21-24 — offering free admission from 9pm to 8:30am.

From Flore des serres et des jardins de l’Europe A Gand (1845-1880) (image courtesy the Biodiversity Heritage Library)

The Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL), the world’s largest open-access digital archive dedicated to the natural world, is now offering more than 150,000 high-resolution botanical illustrations for copyright-free download.

Amazon has reduced the number of Nazi-related books readers can buy from its website. The retailer has ceased the sales of books by former leader of the Ku Klux Klan, David Duke, and the founder of the American Nazi Party, George Lincoln Rockwell. It has also scrubbed the books’ presence from the site so that even third party vendors and independent sellers can’t list the titles for sale.

Aspiring filmmakers ages 18-25 can now submit their shorts to the Sundance Institute’s Ignite Fellowship for a chance at a year-long program that provides mentorship and training opportunities.

Former students of the shuttered Art Institutes, a university franchise that operated 40 colleges across the United States, will be given a chance at loan forgiveness following a lawsuit filed in October of 2019. Thousands of students were left with crushing student loan debt and axed academics plans after the franchise closed its campuses abruptly last year.

“Station Squabble” by Sam Rowley, LUMIX People’s Choice Award Winner. (© Sam Rowley/Wildlife Photographer of the Year. Wildlife Photographer of the Year is developed and produced by the Natural History Museum, London.)

A cinematic shot of two mice fighting in the London Subway has won the Wildlife Photography Award. Photographer Sam Rowley staked out the London Underground station after dusk for about a week to capture the squabble.

Over the past seven years, artist Serkan Taycan has been documenting a nearly 40-mile route in the western outskirts of Istanbul between the Black Sea and the Marmara Sea. He offers tours through the rarely seen landscapes, now at risk due to a proposed shipping canal.

Netflix has revealed nine instances when nations asked the service to remove films or shows — from an episode of Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj in Saudi Arabia to Cannabis-related series in Singapore — in a new transparency report dating back to 2007.

Firelight Media, a social justice-focused production company for documentaries, has announced a new development fund for mid-career filmmakers of color. The William Greaves Fund, set to launch this year, will support nonfiction directors with mentorship and funding up to $25,000.

From 一个人城市 One Person City, a photographic series capturing Shanghai’s deserted streets after the Coronavirus outbreak (image courtesy nicoco)

A haunting photo series by the Shanghai-based photographer nicoco shows a deserted Shanghai caused by fears of coronavirus. The images capture the fear and isolation that the outbreak has caused, and how it has rendered China’s largest metropolis a ghost city.

The Rothko Chapel in Houston will reopen this June. The beloved chapel, which features 14 works by painter Mark Rothko, has been closed since March of last year for renovations and to expand its campus.

The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, set to be the definitive institution in Los Angeles dedicated to film history, will open December of this year, announced actor and museum trustee Tom Hanks at the Oscars. Hyperallergic got a sneak peek into the long-awaited museum.

With Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin School closing after 88 years in operation, architects are considering other models for educating young people in the field, as well as more sustainable ways to honor Frank Lloyd Wright’s legacy.

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

Gordon Parks, “Raiding Detectives, Chicago, Illinois” (1957), Pigmented inkjet print, printed 2019, 11 7/8 x 17 15/16″ (30.1 × 45.6 cm) (The Museum of Modern Art, New York. The Family of Man Fund. © The Gordon Parks Foundation)

The Museum of Modern Art in New York has purchased 56 photographs by acclaimed photojournalist Gordon Parks from the artist’s 1957 “The Atmosphere of Crime” series. Made on assignment for LIFE magazine, for which Parks was the first African American staff photographer, the series explores America’s criminal justice system. Select photos will be included in a collection installation this May as part of the museum’s seasonal rotation of the collection. This and other notable sales and acquisitions are chronicled in our latest Transactions story.

This Week in the Art World

Sonia Boyce, "The Audition" (1997, printed 2018), black & white photographs mounted on aluminum, dimensions variable (image courtesy the Tate)
Sonia Boyce, “The Audition” (1997, printed 2018), black & white photographs mounted on aluminum, dimensions variable (image courtesy the Tate)

Artist Sonia Boyce will be the first Black woman to represent Great Britain at the Venice Biennale in 2021. | ARTnews

Blain|Southern, the gallery founded by Harry Blain and Graham Southern in 2010, will permanently close its three locations in Berlin, London, and New York. | Artforum

The Abrons Arts Center (AAC) has announced its 2020 AIRspace Performing Artist Residents, including Tess Dworman; Rena Anakwe; Mayfield Brooks; and Molly Lieber and Eleanor Smith. | via email announcement 

The Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art has selected artist Chitra Ganesh for its annual window installation, QUEERPOWER. | ARTnews

The High Museum has awarded Jamal D. Cyrus the 2020 David C. Driskell Prize for his contributions to the field of African-American art. | via email announcement

The New Art Dealers Alliance (NADA) has announced the participants of its 2020 New York Gallery Open. | NADA

Peter Blum Gallery now represents Erik Lindman in New York. | via Instagram

The University of Texas at Austin has received $10 million from the private foundation Still Water to support its Blanton Museum and public art programming. | Artforum

Prospect New Orleans has appointed artist Dawn DeDeaux and curator Arthur Lewis to its board. | via email announcement

Mariane Ibrahim Gallery now represents painter Peter Uka. | ARTnews

The Dallas Museum of Art has appointed Vivian Crockett as Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art. | via email announcement

The Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami has named as board members Daniel Berkowitz, Michele Beyer, Suzi Cordish, Andi Potamkin, Andre Sakhai, Roz Stuzin, and Alex Witkoff; and Margot Greig as board president. | via email announcement

César García-Alvarezas will co-curate Desert X 2021 along with artistic director Neville Wakefield. | via email announcement

The European Fine Art Foundation (TEFAF) has appointed Sofie Scheerlinck as interim managing director. | via email announcement

Art fair VOLTA NY has formally announced its return to New York in 2020 and released a list of its 54 exhibitors. | VOLTA

In Memoriam

Javier Arévalo (1937-2020), Mexican artist | La Jornada

Orson Bean (1928-2020), American comedian and actor | NYT

Claire Bretécher (1940-2020), French cartoonist | France Culture

Terry DeCarlo (1962-2020), LGBTQ activist | NYT

Pierre Guyotat (1940-2020), French writer | Le Monde

Qing Han (1990-2020), Canadian artist | Mashable

Terry Hands (1941-2020), British director who led the Royal Shakespeare Company | NYT

Stephen Joyce (1932-2020),  last direct descendant of James Joyce | NYT

Paula Kelly (1942-2020), African-American dancer, singer, and actor | NYT

Emily Mason (1932-2020), American artist and teacher | Artforum

Xavier Montes (1952-2020), Chicano art and music advocate | Los Angeles Times

Joseph Shabalala (1941-2020), founder of Ladysmith Black Mambazo | NYT

Elisabeth Wild (1922-2020), celebrated collage artist | ARTnews

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