Art Industry News: Pussy Riot’s Founder Is Selling 10,000 NFTs to Aid Ukrainian Civilians + Other Stories

Plus, Matthew Wong is getting his first U.S. museum exhibition, and Bank of America plans to transform 900 branches into art galleries.

Members of Pussy Riot, seen here in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/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 this Friday, February 25.


Mexican Activists Hack Viennese Museum’s Audioguide – Documentary filmmaker Sebastián Arrechedera and publicist Yosu Arangüena covertly swapped the Weltmuseum’s audioguides with their own subversive versions, which contain narration from Xokonoschtletl Gómora, a descendant of the Aztecs who has repeatedly called for the Montezuma headdress to be returned to Mexico. The Weltmuseum said that the piece is too fragile to travel, but welcomed the “artistic intervention,” which contributes to “the current discussion about postcolonial heritage in ethnographic museums.” (The Art Newspaper)

Sean Penn Is Making a Documentary About Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine – The Oscar-winning actor arrived in Kyiv earlier this week and was seen attending the Ukrainian government press briefing on Thursday as Russia launched its attack on the country. A statement from the office of Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy praised Penn for “demonstrating bravery that many others have been lacking, in particular some Western politicians.” The 61-year-old has reportedly met with deputy prime minister Iryna Vereshchuk, members of the military, and local journalists. (Guardian)

Pussy Riot Founder Launches Ukraine DAO – Activist Nadya Tolokonnikova, a founding member of protest art group Pussy Riot, has launched Ukraine DAO to raise funds for Ukrainian civilian organizations who are working to aid civilians impacted by the Russian invasion. The drop—conducted in partnership with Trippy Labs and members of Pleasr DAO—contains 10,000 Ukrainian flags minted on the Ethereum blockchain. A unique edition of the blue-and-yellow flag NFT will also be released. “Activism is the only reason I joined Web3,” said Tolokonnikova, a vocal critic of Vladimir Putin. “Now, when I’m so deeply ashamed of my government, I simply have to try to help Ukrainians.” (Decrypt)

Deborah Roberts on Black Girlhood and Self-Representation – “There was scholarship on Black women, but not on how we become Black women,” said the Austin-based artist, on discovering how little research was available about Black girlhood when she began her MFA at the age of 48 in 2014. Roberts’s work is now on view in two concurrent shows in the New York region that explore the subject. “I want Black girls to know, just because they appear mighty doesn’t mean they can’t be vulnerable,” she said. “I want Black girls to be treated as children, not adults.” (New York Times)


Bank of America Is Turning Branches Into Art Galleries – The mega-bank is teaming up with ArtLifting, a company that connects businesses with artists impacted by homelessness and disability, in a new $2 million program. The company will hang artwork at some 100 bank branches, with a goal to expand to 900 eventually. Prints of the works will be available for sale on ArtLifting’s website; artists receive 55 percent of the profits. (American Banker)

A Matthew Wong Retrospective Comes to Dallas – Opening on October 16 at the Dallas Museum of Art, “Matthew Wong: The Realm of Appearances” will be the first museum retrospective of the late artist in the U.S. The show will feature more than 60 works tracing the artist’s short six-year career before his death by suicide at the age of 35 in 2019. The show is curated by Vivian Li. (ARTnews)

James Turrell on Curating an Ad Reinhardt Show – The artist dubbed the “master of light” has curated an exhibition of work by his hero Ad Reinhardt, the master of dark. “Color Out of Darkness” is currently on view at Pace in Manhattan. “They’re not really black,” the 78-year-old said of Reinhardt’s paintings. “They have a brownish cast. There are other colors in them…. I like the kind of art where you are looking for what lies beneath.” Turrell also installed a work of his own, After Effect, inside the gallery. (New York Times)


Yoko Ono Work Shows Solidarity With Ukraine – The city of Reykjavik has illuminated the artist’s Imagine Peace Tower in a show of solidarity with Ukraine and a call for peace. Ono originally created the work—a stone monument carved with the words “Imagine Peace” in 24 languages out of which a tall tower of light is projected—as a memorial to John Lennon. “We are all family,” Ono wrote on her Instagram. (Instagram)


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