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Week in Review: Racism at Museums Is Scrutinized; Richmond’s Confederate Monuments to Be Removed

Also, 25 editions of a Simone Leigh sculpture sold out in one day, with 100% of proceeds benefitting Color of Change, and more.

A screenshot of Artists for Workers’ mock New Museum website

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.

New York City’s new budget, approved On July 1, will slash the city’s budget for arts and culture by 11% in fiscal year 2021. The city’s education department will suffer a nearly 70% cut of art education programs ($15 million compared to $21.5 million last year).

Nan Keeton is resigning as deputy director of external relations at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) weeks after the museum came under public scrutiny for censoring the comments of Taylor Brandon, a Black former worker who spoke against institutional racism at the museum.

A new Instagram account called @ChangeTheMuseum is amplifying anonymous testimonies of racism in museums.

A group of artists called Artists for Workers parodied the New Museum to call out its “political inaction.” The group created a website replicating that of the museum, but instead provides resources for anti-racist organizing.

Protests at Oxford University on June 9, 2020, organized by Rhodes Must Fall Oxford (image courtesy Rhodes Must Fall in Oxford Facebook Page, used with permission) (protestors faces have been blurred by Hyperallergic)

The Boston Art Commission voted unanimously to remove the city’s Emancipation Memorial, which depicts an enslaved man kneeling at the feet of Abraham Lincoln. 

The mayor of Richmond, Virginia ordered the immediate removal of all remaining Confederate statues, bypassing an upcoming City Council vote on the decision.

At Oxford University, activists are calling for the removal of a monument to 19th-century imperialist Cecil Rhodes.

The Mississippi government voted to remove the Confederate banner from its state flag.

A deleted tweet from the Walla Walla Police Department, linking to an article about Nat Small’s tattoo (Twitter) 

In a small city in Washington, a story about a police officer who was photographed wearing a Nazi tattoo on his forearm has rattled the local community. For about a month, local residents of Walla Walla have held rallies and sent hundreds of letters and emails to the local city council and the police department urging them to address the employment of Nat Small, a former US Marine scout sniper and current member of the local police force.

A British 18-year-old who threw a child from the balcony of Tate Modern pleaded guilty to one count of attempted murder and admitted to premeditating the attack. He was sentenced to at least 15 years in prison.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo unveiled a COVID-19 mountain installation during a press briefing on June 29 (via YouTube)

The internet is having a field day with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s latest stunt — a mountain installation representing the curve of COVID-19 infections in the state.

Artist Tania Bruguera was arrested in her home in Cuba under pretenses of “pandemic contagion,” preventing her from attending a protest against the killing of Hansel Ernesto Hernández Galiano.

Following a month of negotiations, the Philadelphia Museum of Art (PMA) Union has reached an agreement with the institution’s leadership, and a mail-in union election has been scheduled for July.

Transactions

Simone Leigh, “Sentinel IV” (2020), Bronze, Ed. of 25, 20 x 3 1/4 x 3 3/4 in. (© Simone Leigh; Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth)

The USC School of Architecture and Getty Research Institute have acquired the archive of architect Paul Revere Williams. In 1923 Williams became the first African American member of the American Institute of Architects; in 1957 he became the organization’s first African American fellow. He embarked upon a six-decade career in the 1920s with residential commissions in Los Angeles. The architect came to be known for his landmark civic structures at home and abroad, as well as the homes that he designed for celebrity clients including Bert Lahr, Frank Sinatra, and Lucille Ball. The archive includes around 35,000 plans, including plans for unrealized projects, blueprints, diazotypes, hand-colored renderings, and more.

At Hauser & Wirth, Simone Leigh’s editioned sculpture “Sentinel IV” (2020) was sold to raise money for Color of Change, a nonprofit advocacy group dedicated to civil rights and racial justice. The bronze sculpture, a 20-inch cast of a larger work by Leigh. The gallery reported that the full edition of 25, each priced at $25,000, quickly sold out, with 100% of the proceeds going to Color of Change.

In an effort to cut costs, Christie’s merged its Impressionist & Modern and Contemporary departments, forming a new department named “20/21”. Alex Rotter, a contemporary specialist, will chair the department, supported by Giovanna Bertazzoni, a Modern specialist, as vice chair. While spurred by the business challenges associated with the pandemic, the merger also reflects the increased desirability of postwar and contemporary art in recent years. Christie’s will also be laying off staff and cutting back on printed catalogues.

This Week in the Art World

Elmgreen & Dragset, “Short Story” (2020) (Courtesy of the artist and König Galerie, Berlin, London, Tokyo. Photo by Roman Maerz.)

United States Artists bestowed the 2020 Berresford Prize upon Linda Goode Bryant. | Culture Type

Artist collective Elmgreen & Dragset is now represented by Pace Gallery. | ARTnews

Tate Britain announced the 10 winners of the Turner Bursaries, given in lieu of this year’s Turner Prize. | Artsy

Threewalls in Chicago announced the winners of the 2020 RaD Lab+Outside the Walls fellowship. | via email announcement

The National Endowment for the Arts announced the 855 grant recipients of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. | National Endowment for the Arts

Dr. Lana Sloutsky was named Curator of Collections and Exhibitions at the Museum of Russian Icons in Massachusetts. | via email announcement

Gray appointed Laura Lester to the position of Director in New York. |ArtDaily

The Vera List Center for Art and Politics at the New School announced the five awardees of its 2020–2022 fellowship. | via email announcement

Newark Arts awarded mini-grants to 15 arts organizations. | New Jersey Stage

Anna Katrina Olujimi is the new Chief Financial Officer of the Noguchi Museum. | via email announcement

In Memoriam

Harry Britt (1938–2020), gay rights activist and politician | San Francisco Chronicle

 Milton Glaser (1929–2020), graphic designer | New Yorker

Ida Haendel (1928–2020), Polish-American violinist | ABC News

Gregory Katz (1953–2020), journalist | Associated Press 

Johnny Mandel (1925–2020), Hollywood film composer | New York Times

Margarita Pracatan (1931–2020), Cuban-American singer | Guardian

Carl Reiner (1922–2020), comic actor, writer, director, and producer  | CNN

Carl Solway (1935–2020), art dealer and gallerist | Cincinnati.com

Charles Webb (1939–2020), novelist | Los Angeles Times

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