A trove of ancient cave art was discovered in the Columbian Amazon (courtesy of Ella Al-Shamahi)

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 US Virgin Islands subpoenaed Christie’s and Sotheby’s in its Jeffrey Epstein investigation, requesting that the auction houses release “all documents reflecting or relating to inquiries, sales, bids, communications with or about Jeffrey E. Epstein.”

Artist Tania Bruguera was detained by Cuban officials three times this week after participating in and organizing protests on behalf of rapper Denis Solís González. “We must use the right definitions: KIDNAPPING,” her sister, Deborah Bruguera, wrote. “Tania Bruguera was taken against her will for the third time this week by agents dressed as civilians who did not identify themselves.”

Egyptian model and influencer Salma El-Shimy was arrested over a photoshoot at an archaeological site in Giza. Officials at the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities charged El-Shimy and her photographer, Hossam Muhammed, with taking the photos at the site without a permit and deemed the model’s outfit “inappropriate.”

Over 200 poets, writers, and artists signed an open letter calling on the board of Poets House to “reconsider and reverse the firings” and “commit to dignified working conditions.”

On December 10, Swann Auction Galleries held its last sale of African American art for the year. For the past 13 years, it has been the only major auction house with a department dedicated to African American art, setting auction records for artists such as Sam Gilliam, Faith Ringgold, and Charles White. Learn more about this history in a feature about the auction house’s legacy.

Citing “draconian austerity measures” and the precarious situation of many cultural workers across Mexico, the International Committee for Museums and Collections of Modern Art is urging the country’s government to take immediate steps to preserve its museums.

Harvard University is removing Philip Johnson’s name from a private residence he designed as a thesis project after a group of architects and designers denounced Johnson’s “widely documented white supremacist views.”

The Middle Collegiate Church, a 128-year-old Gothic Revival church that houses the New York Liberty Bell, was destroyed in a fire.

Tens of thousands of paintings of animals and humans, made up to 12,600 years ago, were found along the Guayabero River in the Colombian Amazon.

Mysterious monoliths have appeared in Germany, Spain, the Netherlands, Colombia, California, Las Vegas, New Mexico, and the Isle Of Wight. Several artists have come forward to claim credit for the structures, with varying degrees of proof.

Artist Reggie Black is projecting a message about the history of slavery in New York City on the façade of the ​Dyckman Farmhouse Museum in Manhattan, where six people were enslaved.

The first-ever commercial Christmas greeting card, which sold at Christie’s Valuable Books and Manuscripts sale in London on December 9 for £13,750 (~$18,370), features a scandalous 19th-century scene of underage drinking.

Awards & Accolades

A total of 35 multidisciplinary projects have received $50,000 in funding each thanks to the 2021 Creative Capital Awards.

The 659 winners of the 2021 YoungArts award, all in 10th, 11th, or 12th grades, were announced.


Ghislain d’Humières was named director and CEO of the Norton Museum of Art.

Larissa Harris will be the first executive director of the Teiger Foundation. | Broadway World

Ute Meta Bauer, Amar Kanwar, and David Teh were named curators of the 2021 Istanbul Biennial. | ARTnews

Annie Polland was appointed the president of the Tenement Museum.

Courtney Willis Blair was promoted to partner at Mitchell-Innes & Nash. | The Art Newspaper

In Memoriam

Richard Corben (1940–2020), comic book artist and illustrator of Meat Loaf’s Bat Out of Hell album | Syfy

Cliff Joseph (1922–2020), artist, activist, and art therapist who advocated for diversity in art | New York Times

Helen LaFrance (1919–2020), Kentuckian folk artist | New York Times

Jack Pappalardo (1960–2020), co-founder of Art District on Santa Fe | The Know

Lois P. Revlock (1923–2020), watercolor artist | Philadelphia Inquirer

Jackie Saccoccio (1963–2020), abstract painter | ARTnews

Dale Sheets (1929–2020), Hollywood studio executive and manager | Deadline

Maria Tritico (1988–2020), artist and education director at the Tequesta ArtCenter | The Palm Beach Post

The Latest

Required Reading

This week, the world’s lightest paint, Pakistan’s feminist movement, World Puppy Day, and were some of Vermeer’s paintings created by his daughter?

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Jasmine Weber

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