Art Industry News: Hamline Professors Call for the University’s President to Resign Amid Furor Over Prophet Muhammad Art + Other Stories

Plus, the Detroit Institute's Van Gogh is still in dispute, and Helen Molesworth looks to her next chapter.

Hamline University President Fayneese Miller. Photo by Jerry Holt/Star Tribune 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 Thursday, January 26.


Helen Molesworth’s New Chapter – The prominent curator who was abruptly fired from her top position at Los Angeles’s Museum of Contemporary Art in 2018 has made a comeback in New York, staging an exhibition of portraits by photographers Tacita Dean, Brigitte Lacombe, and Catherine Opie at the International Center of Photography in New York. On her professional life outside of an institution, Molesworth said that she felt “very exposed” as she did not have same kind of support, but she has earned her freedom as a sought-after independent curator and speaking her mind through podcasts and videos. (New York Times)

Johann König Reiterates #MeToo Denial  – In the digital newsletter Airmail, the Berlin gallerist called the #MeToo allegations against him in Die Zeit “false and misleading,” but he admitted that his “dissolute and impulsive way of partying, dancing, and talking” might have led women—and men—to feel that they were harassed. He also blamed his “poor vision” during party times among the factors for confusion around people’s boundaries. (Airmail)

Hamline Faculty Calls for President’s Resignation – Fayneese Miller, Hamline University’s first Black president, is facing calls for her resignation from a majority of the full-time professors. Miller has come under fire for dismissing an adjunct art history professor who shoed paintings of Prophet Muhammad in class. “The reputation of Hamline was deeply tarnished, and I think it’s clear the majority of the full-time faculty do not believe that Fayneese is the one to carry us forward,” said Jim Scheibel, the president of the university’s faculty council. (Sahan Journal)

Lawsuit Over Allegedly Stolen Van Gogh Is Far From Over – Brazilian collector Gustavo Soter and Brokerarte Capital Partners LLC, Soter’s art brokerage company, have appealed a recent court’s dismissal of their lawsuit over an 1888 Vincent Van Gogh painting, Liseuse De Romans that allegedly went missing six years ago and is now on a wall of the Detroit Institute of Art. (The Detroit News)


United States Artist Fellowships Announced – The Chicago-based organization announced the recipients of the 2023 USA fellows, featuring artists working across disciplines including visual art, architecture, craft, dance, film, theater, and writing. The winners will each receive an unrestricted $50,000 cash award. The honorees include visual artists Natalie Ball, Thaddeus Mosley, Guadalupe Maravilla, Christine Sun Kim, and Carolina Caycedo. (Press release)

Rauschenberg Foundation Head to Depart – Kathy Halbreich is stepping down as executive director of the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, where she has served since 2017. During her tenure, Halbreich started the anonymous Artists Council to undertake philanthropic goals, and steered the foundation through the pandemic and the worldwide racial justice movement ignited by the murder of George Floyd. The board will now launch a search to replace Halbreich, who leaves her role in May. (Press release)

Royal Opera House Ends Partnership With BP – The London-based Royal Opera House has cut ties with the oil and gas company BP after more than 30 years. The move comes on the heels of many other cultural institutions ending partnerships with BP amid calls to divest from fossil fuels, though the British Museum remains linked to the company. (Evening Standard)


Museum of London to Show Trump Baby Blimp in 2026 – The iconic crowd-funded inflatable sculpture that first floated in the skies of London during the protests against then U.S. President Donald Trump in 2018 is expected to make a comeback when the Museum of London opens in three years. The team behind the work told Artnet News in 2021 that the work had been gifted to the museum. (Evening Standard)

Trump blimp

Mini Trump Baby joins the Womens March Against Trump as it arrives in Parliament Square, London, United Kingdom. 13th July 2018. (photo by Andrew Aitchison / In pictures via Getty Images)

Follow Artnet News on Facebook:

Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.