Art Industry News: The Guggenheim Pledges to Create a Nationwide Arts Network as Part of a New Diversity Plan + Other Stories
Plus, New York's top museums announce their reopening dates and famous artists design bandanas to benefit a "Get Out the Vote" initiative.
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, August 18.
A Controversy Over Job Restructuring at the MCA – Beginning in September, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago is making all part-time visitor experience jobs full-time. The change, which the museum says is a response to criticisms from staff, means that front-facing workers will be paid more and receive health benefits—but it will also result in 20 members of the part-time staff being made redundant, as there are only eight full-time positions available. Now, some employees speculate that the restructure was an excuse to terminate workers without the bad press of official layoffs. (ARTnews)
Boy Thrown From Tate Visits Home – The six-year-old French boy who was severely injured after being thrown from a balcony at Tate Modern last August has been able to leave the hospital for a weekend for the first time. The boy, who is still wheelchair-bound, was able to visit the beach with a friend, and his parents say that he has begun to make efforts to sing and to learn to read. His attacker was sentenced to life in prison after admitting attempted murder. (Guardian)
Guggenheim Unveils New Diversity Plan – The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum has been under fire—including from its own staff—over its handling of diversity and equity issues. Now, the institution has unveiled a revised plan, which includes paid internship opportunities for students from underrepresented backgrounds, a partnership with historically Black colleges and universities to promote job openings, a reevaluation of its requirements for board membership, and the creation of a professional network for people of color working at arts organizations. For more on the Guggenheim’s plan, as well as other museums’ approaches to diversity and equity, see our story here. (New York Times)
Thai Art Community Calls For Democracy – Artists and culture workers in Thailand have written an open letter in support of the anti-government protests in Bangkok. The statement, published by Arts and Culture Network for Democracy, argues that laws restricting political criticism stifle artistic creativity and urges the government to reform the monarchy and exempt protesters from prosecution. The letter has been co-signed by more than 1,049 people. (ArtAsiaPacific)
Loring Randolph Leaves Frieze – Randolph, who has served as director of Frieze New York since 2019 and artistic director of the Americas for Frieze Art Fairs from 2017, is taking on a new role as director of the Nancy A. Nasher and David J. Haemisegger collection in Dallas. She will remain on board with Frieze as program director for its 2021 edition in New York. (ARTnews)
Online Sales Are Outpacing the Rest of the Market – A new report from Hiscox and ArtTactic shows that online sales outpaced the growth of the overall market last year—even before lockdown forced much of the art industry to amp up its offerings on the web. Online art sales across the industry generated $4.8 billion in 2019, up four percent from 2018. Meanwhile, the art market as a whole contracted five percent last year. (Art Market Monitor)
COMINGS & GOINGS
German Museum Takes Down a Work About Antifa – The Chemnitz Art Collection temporarily removed an artwork called Antifa-Myth and Truth from view over the weekend. The work, by the Peng! Collective, criticized right-wing groups like Alternativ für Deutschland in the wall text despite the fact that the museum’s director had asked the artists to leave out specific party names to maintain the neutrality of the institution. In the end, the work was restored with a statement clarifying that it does not reflect the Chemnitz Collection’s views. (ARTnews)
MoMA and the Whitney Announce Reopening Dates – With the green light from New York state to reopen at the end of the month, New York’s museums are announcing their plans. MoMA will welcome the public from August 27, with limited hours and free admission. The Whitney will reopen on September 3, with pay-what-you-wish admission through September 28. The American Folk Art Museum reopens on August 28. (Press release)
FOR ART’S SAKE
University of Oregon Library Will Cover Up Offensive Murals – The University of Oregon has decided to cover up four 1930s-era murals in its Knight Library after years of controversy. The murals have been decried as racist works that promote white supremacy; one speaks of white people “preserving our racial heritage” and others show white scientists working above Indigenous people using stone tools. The murals will be covered with aluminum panels at a cost of $32,000. (KLCC)
Artists “Band Together” to Get Out the Vote – Fifteen artists have partnered with eBay on an initiative to support grassroots “Get Out the Vote” programs across the United States. The project, called “Artists Band Together,” features the work of Shepard Fairey, Jenny Holzer, and the late Luchita Hurtado on limited-edition bandanas. The works, which can be worn or displayed, are available for purchase individually for $35; in a set of five for $175; or as a 15-piece collection for $525. One hundred percent of he proceeds will go toward voter education, mobilization, and registration. (Press release)
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