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Week in Review: Petitions Urge Museums to Retain Staff; Longtime NYC Gallery Shutters

Also, the independent entertainment company A24 is auctioning iconic props from its productions like Midsommar and Uncut Gems.

Works by Lisha Bai, Tiffany Smith, Sangram Majumdar, Leeza Meksin, and Erin O’Keefe included in Ortega y Gasset Projects’ Paddle8 fundraiser in December (images courtesy of Ortega y Gasset Projects)

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.

Two petitions by art workers, artists, and scholars petition museums to retain staff during the pandemic. “Before a single museum worker is laid off, let every mid-six- or seven-figure museum director draw a salary of zero,” reads one petition.

After the auction platform Paddle8 went bankrupt, organizations were left scrambling to recoup lost funds from charity auctions they hosted on the platform. As the cultural sector ramps up relief efforts during the pandemic, galleries and nonprofits left unpaid by the online auctioneer Paddle8 are facing a double bind.

Jim Osman: The Walnut Series at Lesley Heller Gallery, New York: installation view, Peter Gynd (courtesy the artist and Lesley Heller Gallery)

Small and mid-size galleries in New York are being hit hard by the COVID-19 crises, with many facing an uncertain future. Now, the pandemic has claimed its first victim, Lesley Heller Gallery on Manhattan’s Lower East Side.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York laid off 81 employees in its visitor services and retail departments and has updated its projection of lost revenue to $150 million.

Images from the Yorkshire Museum’s #CreepiestObject challenge (via Twitter)

A social media challenge by the Yorkshire Museum prompted institutions to share photos of their creepiest objects, including a preserved a taxidermic “mermaid” and a pincushion made to look like childrens’ heads.

Borobudur temple Park in Java, Indonesia (Wikimedia Commons)

More than 40 renowned international artists, led by the German photographer Wolfgang Tillmans, are selling posters of their works for a mere $50 (or £50 if you’re in the UK, €50 if you’re in Europe) to support arts and music venues that have been affected by the COVID-19 crisis.

In celebration of the recently passed World Heritage Day (April 18), virtually tour World Heritage Sites. From the Taj Mahal to Stonehenge, you can use Google Maps to explore these temporarily-closed historic locations.

Transactions

May Queen dress that Dani (Florence Pugh) wears in Midsommar

A24, an independent entertainment company based in New York City, is holding a charity auction of props and paraphernalia from some of its hit movies and television shows including The Lighthouse, Eighth Grade, and HBO’s Euphoria. The sale is quite eclectic in its offerings. Items of note include the hoodie that Rue (Zendaya) wears in Euphoria; the bedazzled Furby that Howard (Adam Sandler) makes in Uncut Gems; and the May Queen dress that Dani (Florence Pugh) wears in Midsommar. The May Queen dress, which is covered with 10,000 multicolored silk flowers, has piqued the interest of singer Ariana Grande, who announced that she will be bidding on the gown. The sale’s proceeds will go to organizations providing COVID-19 relief including the Queens Community House; the New York City Food Bank; NYC Health + Hospitals; and the FDNY Foundation.

Sotheby’s online-only “Contemporary Curated” sale garnered $6.4 million, setting the record for the auction house’s highest-grossing online auction. George Condo’s “Antipodal Reunion” (2005) led the sale at $1.3 million, marking it as the most expensive painting ever sold online by Sotheby’s. Other highlights include Yayoi Kusama’s “Star” (1993) and ImiKnoebel’s “Trinity Bay” (1998). Sotheby’s has garnered $37 million from online sales since March 20. Artnet notes that allover gains from online auctions are up 20% from this time last year and have grown 63% in the last month alone.

This Week in the Art World

Hollis Heichemer, “Game at Sunset” (2020), oil on mylar mounted on board, 24 x 24 inches (courtesy the artist and Hollis Taggart)

The Mike Kelley Foundation awarded $400,000 in grants to nine cultural institutions in Los Angeles. | Los Angeles Times

The Association of Art Museum Curators bestowed the 2020 Curatorial Awards for Excellence upon 25 curators. | Artforum

Recess announced that Lizania Cruz, Paul Kim, and Christopher Udemezue will be joining its board. | via email announcement

Hollis Heichemer has joined the roster at Hollis Taggart Gallery. | Hollis Taggart

The archive of former California poet laureate Dana Gioia has been acquired by the Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, California. | Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens

Turkey will be represented by Füsun Onur at the 59th Venice Biennale in 2021. | Artforum

The Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University named Trevor Schoonmaker as its new director. | Duke Chronicle

The 2020 Open Space Curatorial Residency in Istanbul was awarded to Lika Tarkhan-Mouravi. | via email announcement

Dannielle Bowman is the winner of the 2020 Aperture Portfolio Prize. | Artforum

Stefanie Hessler will curate MOMENTA in 2021. | e-flux

The Taipei Biennial named the 39 artists who will participate in its 2020 iteration. | Ocula

In Memoriam

William Bailey (1930–2020), figurative painter | Artforum

Deirdre Bair (1935–2020), biographer | New York Times

Peter Beard (1938–2020), wildlife photographer | Vanity Fair

Beryl Bernay (1926–2020), children’s TV host, actress, and painter | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Thomas Blackwell (1938–2020), Photorealist artist | Louis K. Meisel Gallery

Rubem Fonseca (1925–2020), Brazilian writer | The New York Times

Virginia Savage McAlester (1943–2020), architectural historian and preservationist | D Magazine

Markus Raetz (1941–2020), Swiss sculptor | Artforum

Luis Sepúlveda (1949–2020), exiled Chilean writer | Guardian

Ann Sullivan (1929–2020), Disney animator | Deadline

Lois Weinberger (1947–2020), Australian land artist | ARTnews

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