Art Industry News: Hong Kong’s Public Arts Body Withdraws $127,390 in Funding From Two Projects Suspected of Violating the National Security Law + Other Stories

Plus, Jay Xu steps down at the Asian Art Museum and the Netherlands reveals its 2024 Venice Biennale artists.

Hong Kong tallest building, the International Commerce Center ICC, lights up for new Year 2023, Hong Kong, China. (Photo by: Bob Henry/UCG/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Art Industry News is a daily digest of the most consequential developments coming out of the art world and art market. Here’s what you need to know on this Tuesday, April 18.


Artist Irma Blank Dies at 88 – The abstract artist died April 14 at the age of 88. Blank, who was born in Germany but spent most of her life in Italy, explored the boundaries of language through her art. (Artforum)  

Hundreds Protest at RISD Over Union Negotiations – Nearly 600 individuals including students and faculty members gathered at the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design to support striking members of staff amid stalled contract negotiations. Members of the custodial, movers, and groundskeeping staffa have been on strike since April 2 as they work toward a fair contract which includes a $20 minimum wage. (The Art Newspaper) 

Hong Kong Arts Grants Pulled – In the wake of what some saw as a widely successful Art Basel Hong Kong, it seems the country continues to roll back the freedom of art. The Hong Kong arts funding body has pulled grants funding totaling HK$1 million allocated to two projects over concerns they had violated its controversial national security law. The Hong Kong culture bureau also announced that it had reviewed public library books in the autonomous city-state and removed offending titles. It refuses to name either the books or the projects that were pulled. (South China Morning Post)  

NEH Announces $35.6 Million in Grants – Some 258 beneficiaries of the newest round of National Endowment for the Humanities grants have been named. Projects include the restoration of the U.S.S. Intrepid, a historic aircraft carrier at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum in New York, a show about Byzantine-era North and East Africa at the Met Museum of Art, and a show looking at 100 years of New York City history at the Museum of the City of New York. (New York Times)


Asian Art Museum Director To Depart – Jay Xu, the longtime director and CEO of the San Francisco-based Asian Art Museum, will leave his post in 2025. Xu was the first Chinese American to serve as a director at a major U.S. art museum when he began in 2008. (SF Chronicle)

Orlando Museum Names Interim Leadership – Nearly one year after the dramatic FBI raid of a Basquiat show exhibited at the Florida museum, the board has appointed Cathryn Mattson as the interim executive director and CEO. Just last week, an auctioneer confessed to playing a major role in the scheme to exhibit fraudulent paintings. (Click Orlando)

2024 Dutch Pavilion Artists Named – Artist Renzo Martens and members of the art collective Cercle d’Art des Travailleurs de Plantation Congolaise (CATPC) were selected to represent the Netherlands at next years Venice Biennale. Curator Hicham Khalidi will helm the project, which will be staged simultaneously in Venice at the Rietveld Pavilion in Venice and at the White Cube in Lusanga, the Democratic Republic of Congo. (Press release) 

LGBTQ-Centric Nonprofit Names ‘23 Residents – Boffo has announced the artists for the upcoming summer Fire Island program: Clifford Prince King, Ambera Wellman, Hugh Hayden, Ara Tucker & Hilary Harkness, Tau Lewis, and Manuel Solano. The news was announced at the Spring Benefit, where a performance by Z Tye literally stopped traffic (as well as horse carriages and tourists) as she crossed the street to perform with Iman Hill in front of the Park Lane Hotel. The moving piece ended with them shucking their high heels and being conjoined atop an American flag laid out on the sidewalk. (Press release)


@Freeze__Magazine Is Selling a Chance to Collab on a Meme for Charity –  The conceptual artist behind the art world’s most popular meme Instagram account, @Freeze__Magazine, is inviting one winning art collector to collaborate on a meme that will be disseminated to @Freeze__Magazine’s 155,000 followers. All the profits will go towards an education initiative for children affected by the recent earthquake, which decimated parts of Turkey and Syria earlier this year. Artist Cem A.‘s conceptual artwork, called Certificate of Collaboration, takes the form of an art acquisition that entitles the owner of the work to collaborate on a new meme with the artist. (Press release)

Courtesy @freeze__magazine

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