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Week in Review: SF Art Institute Announces Closure; Artists Create Masks for Healthcare Workers

Also, mega-galleries report strong sales from Art Basel Hong Kong online, and more.

Diego Rivera, “Making a Fresco” (1931) at SFAI’s Diego Rivera Gallery (image courtesy Joaquín Martínez/Flickr)

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.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, students at the renowned San Francisco Art Institute learned that the institution does not plan to reopen in the fall due to struggling finances.

New Dealers Alliance (NADA), a New York-based nonprofit, released a petition calling on the local government to provide relief programs that would consider the circumstances and needs of artist-run and small and mid-size galleries.

A custom-made, washable coronavirus mask made by artist Amy Wilson (courtesy the artist)

Artists and cultural institutions are stepping up to help health care workers across the United States who have been reporting shortages of face masks and other protective gear while they’re combating the spread of COVID-19.

After shuttering due to the coronavirus, MOCA Los Angeles fired all of its part-time employees. The 97 laid-off workers represent half of the museum’s total staff of 185.

University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC) strikes in February (photo courtesy payusmoreucsc.com)

The Guggenheim Union has shared on its Twitter account screenshots of several e-mails from staff asking the museum to reconsider its policy of not paying on-call (freelance) workers past March 29.

82 graduate teaching assistants were fired during University of California Strikes, which have pivoted to a digital picket line due to the novel coronavirus.

Only one part of the monument — the lower half of the woman’s body — was burned. (all image courtesy Escif and the Valencia Council Press Department)

A cultural tradition in Spain has become a symbol of strength during the coronavirus pandemic.

During the COVID-19 crisis, DreamYard, an arts center in the South Bronx, pivoted its community-forward mission to provide free lunches on weekdays.

A few updates from the (remote) Hyperallergic offices: Hyperallergic now uses Bookshop to support independent publishers and has been certified as a Rotten Tomatoes outlet.

Transactions

Irma Stern, “Watussi Chief’s Wife” (1946) (image courtesy Bonhams London)

New York-based online auction house Paddle8 has filed for bankruptcy one week after being sued by the New American Cinema Group. The cinema nonprofit alleged that Paddle8 was withholding and misappropriating proceeds from a charity auction held in November. The list of creditors to whom Paddle8 owes money includes the Rema Hort Mann Foundation (over $100,000), Jay-Z’s Shawn Carter Foundation ($65,000), and Justin and Hailey Bieber (over $73,000).

At Bonhams London the Modern & Contemporary African Art Sale garnered £1.770 million (about $2.1 million) and set auction records for eight artists. “Watussi Chief’s Wife” (1946), a rare portrait painted by Irma Stern during her second trip to the Belgian Congo, led the sale at £447,000. The sitter, who dons traditional ceremonial Rwandan dress, was a member of Rwandan King Yuhi V Musinga’s Royal Court. When Belgium deposed him in 1931, she became a political exile. Another work by Stern, “Still life of roses and earthenware” (1936), sold for £87,000; Art Market Monitor has noted recent growth in her market.

David Zwirner, Gagosian, and Hauser & Wirth have reported solid sales at this year’s online-only edition of Art Basel Hong Kong. Mega-galleries sell art by PDF all the time so, as Gagosian director Sam Orlofsky notes, the only surprise was that there were big-ticket buyers amid a global crisis. On the higher end, David Zwirner reportedly sold a work by Marlene Dumas for $2.6 million and a piece by Luc Tuymans for $2 million, while Gagosian reported selling a painting by Georg Baselitz for $1.3 million.

This Week in the Art World

Fuji Hikaru, “Les nucléaires et les choses” (2019) (image courtsey Tokyo Contemporary Art Award)

The Swedish Royal Academy of Fine Arts awarded Francis Alÿs the Rolf Schock Prize in Visual Arts. | Artforum

 Lorenzo Fusi was appointed Artistic Director and Chief Curator of the inaugural Yerevan Biennial. | e-flux

The Ogden Museum of Southern Art selected René Morales as the juror of the ninth Louisiana Contemporary exhibition. | via email announcement

The 2020–2022 Tokyo Contemporary Art Award was awarded to Fujii Hikaru and Yamashiro Chikako. | Oculus

Mel Douglas received the 2020 Tom Malone Prize. | AGWA

Helen Jean was named Curator of Fashion Design at the Phoenix Art Museum. | Artforum

Jaynelle Hazard was appointed Executive Director & Curator of the Greater Reston Arts Center. | Tysons Today

The Eye Filmmuseum in Amsterdam awarded Kahlil Joseph the 2020 Eye Art & Film Prize. | ArtReview

In Memoriam

Maurice Berger (1956–2020), writer and chief curator at the UMBC | Baltimore Sun

Floyd Cardoz (1960–2020), chef and co-owner of Bombay Canteen | CNN

Suzy Delair (1917–2020), French chanteuse and actress | France 24

Manu Dibango (1933–2020), Cameroonian musician | NPR

James V. Hatch (1928–2020), archivist of black theater | Antelope Valley Press

Paul Kasmin (1960–2020), Chelsea gallerist | Architectural Digest

Jeremy Marre (1943–2020), English filmmaker | New York Times

Terrence McNally (1938–2020), Tony Award-winning playwright | Al Jazeera

Merry Norris (1940–2020), LA MoCA cofounder | Artforum

Nashom Wooden (1970–2020), drag performer | Paper

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