Detail of Paolo Cirio's installation Capture, featuring headshots of French police officers (courtesy the artist)

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.

The French government discarded a bill proposing to ban journalists from publishing footage and photographs of police officers after massive protests broke out across the country. The controversy follows condemnation by the French government of hacker-artist Paolo Cirio, who featured profiles of police officers in an exhibition to raise awareness about the threat of facial recognition technology.

Artist-activists of the San Isidro Movement in Cuba were trapped inside an apartment for over a week, surrounded by Cuban state security, after staging a peaceful demonstration.

A group of artists and architects is advocating for the removal of Philip Johnson’s name from the Museum of Modern Art. The collective says that Johnson’s “widely documented white supremacist views make him an inappropriate namesake.”

After Poets House announced a suspension of operations, ex-staff released a statement accusing the administration of retaliation, saying their unionizing efforts and workplace complaints are behind the move.

Tense union contract talks led to a union demonstration at the California College of the Arts. Teachers and staff blocked traffic in front of the school, amplifying their demands for the administration to negotiate a fair contract.

After controversially displaying a wrecked migrant ship at the 2019 Venice Biennale, artist Christoph Büchel is making headlines again. He is accused of failing to return the vessel to its legal owner, the town of Augusta in Sicily.

Artists and activists in Europe are demanding justice for Mawda Shawri, a two-year-old Kurdish-Iraqi refugee who was killed by Belgian police during a high-speed police chase in 2018. 

More than 30 people helped create a Black Lives Matter mural outside of the São Paulo Museum of Art the day after the death of João Alberto Silveira Freitas, a Black man murdered by police.

Cultural workers in Mexico City, who have gone unpaid for months, have declared a “total suspension of labor” to advocate for better working conditions.

The Philadelphia Museum of Art closed to the public once again. With the second lockdown, the museum announced another wave of furloughs, spurring outrage from workers.

As the United Kingdom emerges from its second lockdown, Tate announced a plan to cut 120 full-time jobs at its London galleries through voluntary redundancies.

Workers at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and Film at Lincoln Center in New York voted to unionize. Full-time faculty at the University of the Arts (UArts) in Philadelphia also voted for a union.

Follow the continuing mystery of the unusual monoliths that are popping up around the world.

Awards & Accolades

Zdenka Badovinac was named this year’s Igor Zabel Award laureate. Slavcho Dimitrov, Katalin Erdődi, and Ivana Bago were awarded Igor Zabel Award Grants.

Finalists for the $50,000 Bennett Prize are Sophia-Yemisi Adeyemo-Ross, Tanmaya Bingham, Chloe Chiasson, June Glasson, Holly Keogh, Lavely Miller, Rebecca Orcutt, Ayana Ross, Su Su, and Amy Werntz.

The winners of the 2020 Brooklyn Public Library Literary Prize for nonfiction and fiction/poetry, are Ruha Benjamin (2020 Nonfiction Prize for Race After Technology: Abolitionist Tools for the New Jim Code) and Ocean Vuong (2020 Fiction and Poetry Prize for On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous). 

Yvette Mutumba and Julia Grosse were awarded the 2020 European Cultural Manager of the Year Award.

PEN America bestowed Barack Obama with the PEN America Voice of Influence Award.


Magda Grigorian was appointed chief communications officer of Phillips.

Laura Hughes was named interim director of the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit

Robert Nava is now represented by Pace Gallery.

 PPOW and Kohn Gallery announced joint representation of Chiffon Thomas.

Janine Yorimoto Boldt was named associate curator of American art at the Chazen Museum of Art in Madison, Wisconsin.

In Memoriam

Charles L. Amos, artist and railroader | Trains

Sandy Dvore (1934–2020), graphic artist | The Hollywood Reporter

Garrett Falls Lockhart aka i_o (1990–2020), DJ and music producer | Resident Advisor

Peter Joseph (1929–2020), minimalist painter | ARTnews

George Nock (1946–2020), artist, sculptor, and football player | Baltimore Sun

Greg Polisseni (1970–2020), collage artist and fashion designer | Democrat & Chronicle

Frederick Weston (1946–2020), artist and fashion designer | Philadelphia Tribune

Hoda Zarbaf, mixed media artist | via Shiva Balaghi

Correction 12/7/2020 2:50pm EST: An earlier version of this article misspelled Laura Hughes’s name. We regret the error.

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Jasmine Weber

Jasmine Weber is an artist, writer, and former news editor at Hyperallergic. Follow her on Instagram and