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Week In Review: Art World Prepares for Unprecedented Losses

Also, Guggenheim workers ask trustees for help amid union negotiations, and more.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (image courtesy Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York)

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.

Yesterday, the New York Times reported that the Metropolitan Museum projects $100 million in losses due to its coronavirus closure, now predicted to last through July. The news may be a harbinger for the toll the pandemic will take on other institutions across the country, some of which might never reopen. Our Editor-in-Chief comments on the most shocking points of NYT‘s report.

As institutions continue to close nationwide, part-time and freelance cultural workers, such as museum educators, are now collectively asking themselves the same question: will we be paid? Hyperallergic found uncertainty and fear to be common themes.

Yesterday, March 18, museum leaders across the United States wrote a letter to US Congress and Senate leaders requesting at least $4 billion to nonprofit museums in the United States.

The activist group the People’s Cultural Plan has outlined a list of demands for the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs and art institutions in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. In an op-ed for Hyperallergic, the group asks for housing as a human right, prison abolition, and free public education, among other requests.

New York City has launched its new Employee Retention Grant Program to help small businesses and nonprofits in New York City grapple with the economic implications of COVID-19. The grant aims to offset some of the lost revenue and maintain payroll during the crisis.

The recently unionized workers of the Guggenheim Museum have sent a letter to the institution’s trustees asking for help amid union negotiations, which have gone on for months without reaching an agreement.

According to MTL+ collective, the activist group facilitating the work of Decolonize This Place, the right-wing media and the NYPD have orchestrated a media campaign to discredit their actions against over-policing in New York City’s subways. 

Hrag Vartanian, After Edvard Munch, “The Scream” (1893) (image courtesy the artist)

And if, like so many of us, you are stuck at home for the foreseeable future, know that dozens of museums and libraries are offering free, downloadable coloring books to pass the time. You can also check out some of the 2,500 museums you can visit online; peruse our lists of what Hyperallergic staff are reading and watching; explore one of the New York Public Library’s research databases, newly made available for off-site use; and have a look at what famous artworks might look like in the age of social distancing (spoiler alert: very empty.)

To stay on top of the coronavirus pandemic’s impact on the art world, listen to our latest podcast or read our report, updated daily.

Harry Belafonte (photo by Lawren via Flickr)

New York Public Library’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture has announced the acquisition of the personal archive of Harry Belafonte on the occasion of the Center’s 95th anniversary. This and other notable sales and acquisitions are chronicled in our latest Transactions story.

This Week in the Art World

The Museum of Nebraska Art has appointed Nicole Herden as its new executive director. | Artforum

The new board of directors of the Venice Biennale took office today, chaired by Roberto Cicutto and including members Luigi Brugnaro, Luca Zaia and Claudia Ferrazzi. | via email announcement

Maria Fernanda Cardoso has been awarded the NSW New Dimensions Fellowship. | Artforum

In Memoriam

Jamey Gambrell (1954–2020), writer and former Artforum editor | Artforum

Vittorio Gregotti (1927-2020), Italian architect | NYT

Wolf Kahn (1927-2020), landscape painter | The Washington Post

Tonie Marshall (1951-2020), French-American filmmaker and actress | NYT

Genesis Breyer P-Orridge (1950-2020), performance artist | NPR

Elinor Ross (1926-2020), Met soprano | NYT

Bill Stern (1941-2020), curator and founder of the Museum of California Design | Artforum

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