Art Industry News: JR Unveils a New Mural in Paris Dedicated to George Floyd and Adama Traoré as Demonstrations Spread to France + Other Stories

Plus, artists in the Philippines unite to oppose a repressive new anti-terror bill and LA's Annenberg Space for Photography is closing.

A Parisian couple looks at a mural in Paris mounted by students and street artist JR depicting the eyes of George Floyd and Adama Traore on June 10, 2020. (Photo by Daniel Pier/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
A Parisian couple looks at a mural in Paris mounted by students and street artist JR depicting the eyes of George Floyd and Adama Traore on June 10, 2020. (Photo by Daniel Pier/NurPhoto 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, June 11.

NEED-TO-READ

Artists in the Philippines Fight Back Against Anti-Terror Bill – Artists and creatives in the Philippines have joined forces under the campaign “Artists Fight Back” to oppose a new anti-terrorism bill that would allow for the arrest and detention of suspected terrorists, which includes anyone who might incite others to participate in acts the bill considers terrorism. “As artists … Our job …. is to incite … to serve the truth, whether or not it is aligned or in accordance with the government’s stance,” the campaign writes in an open letter. To date, more than 1,400 artists and cultural workers have signed the statement. (Art Asia Pacific)

France Prepares a New Slavery Memorial – As the French government launches an open call for a memorial commemorating victims of slavery to be installed near the Louvre, a Paris-based black advocacy group, the Representative council of France’s Black Associations (Cran), has said that the chosen artist must be of African descent. Cran’s president, Louis-Georges Tin, added that the monument was a start—but should not be the only way the history of slavery in France is memorialized. “A memorial is a good idea but a museum would be better,” he said. “It is high time we had a museum in Paris; there also needs to be some kind of financial compensation.” (The Art Newspaper)

JR Unveils a Mural Dedicated to George Floyd and Adama Traoré – The French street artist JR has unveiled a new mural in Paris commemorating George Floyd and Adama Traoré, a young black man who died in police custody in France. The mural, created in collaboration with director Ladj Ly and students from his film school, depicts one eye of Floyd and another of Traoré. Traoré’s death in 2016 has become a renewed flashpoint in protests across France against police brutality. At the unveiling of the mural, Traoré’s sister Assa renewed the family’s call for “the police officers to be brought to justice” for what they did to her brother. (Art Daily)

London Art School Changes Its Name – The London Metropolitan University has decided to drop the name of Sir John Cass from its art, design, and architecture school. In a public letter shared on their website, the school said: “We recognize that the use of Sir John Cass’s name contributes to the redemption of a man without acknowledging the enormous pain he caused as a major figure in the early development of the slave trade, and the legacy of this pain. The use of his name is incompatible with our commitment to support the Black community and to actively oppose racism in all forms.” It will remain simply the the School of Art, Architecture, and Design until a new name is chosen. (Twitter)

ART MARKET

Christie’s Faces Backlash for Selling Igbo Objects – A Princeton professor is condemning Christie’s for offering two Igbo objects, called alusi or “sacred sculptures,” that were removed from Nigeria by Jacques Kerchache, a French collector. The sculptures, which Chika Okeke-Agulu says were taken from the Nri-Awka area and removed from Nigeria during the country’s civil war—carry an estimate of €250,000–350,000 ($283,000–396,000). To describe the provenance of the works, Christie’s used the words “acquired in situ.” (ARTnews)

The Kadist Foundation Encourages a New Approach to Resale Rights – The Kadist Foundation in San Francisco is developing a novel proposal for how the resale royalty in the US—which was effectively deemed unconstitutional after a court battle in 2018—could be adapted for the present moment. The foundation has drafted a document that designates that 15 percent of resale profits go to a charity of the artist’s choice. The agreement is available online at artistcontract.org. Such an arrangement would allow artists to help rebalance the wealth disparity and generate good from their ballooning prices, while collectors would get a tax write-off. (TAN)

COMINGS & GOINGS

LA’s Annenberg Space for Photography Is Closing – The Annenberg Space for Photography in Los Angeles is closing down for good after 10 years. The space founded by philanthropist Wallis Annenberg has been closed since mid-March and, like many LA institutions, is still unclear when it would be able to reopen and under what circumstances. The Annenberg Foundation has decided instead to redirect its funding towards recovery initiatives in the community. (Los Angeles Times)

Milwaukee Art Museum Prepares to Reopen – The Milwaukee Art Museum in Wisconsin is the latest American museum to announce its reopening plan. The institution will welcome visitors in phases beginning in the middle of summer. The first month of reopening will offer free admission with strict safety protocols in place, including social distancing and a requirement to wear masks. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

FOR ART’S SAKE

Former Akron Art Museum Employee Responds to Lawsuit – A former staffer at the Akron Art Museum, Michael Murphy, has responded to a lawsuit filed against the museum and its ex-director Mark Masuoka in which he is named. Murphy has emphatically denied allegations of sexism made against him by Jenelle Alverson, whom he used to supervise. “As the highest ranking African American employee at the Akron Art Museum I didn’t have the luxury of being inappropriate or incompetent,” Murphy said, comparing Alverson’s accusations to the white woman who called the police on a black bird watcher in Central Park. (Cleveland.com)

Hannah Black Interviews a New York State Senate Candidate – The artist Hannah Black interviewed the New York State Senate candidate Jabari Brisport about the coronavirus crisis, the prospects for the New York Health Act, and governor Andrew Cuomo’s role in stalling unemployment checks. Brisport calls Cuomo a “Machiavellian genius,” saying: “It’s a masterclass in marketing. If any other governor had the most deaths by far in their state, the press would say they were doing a terrible job. But Cuomo is somehow seen as the leader in the crisis, such a great contrast to Trump, despite all the deaths.” (Artforum)

London’s National Portrait Gallery Trolls JK Rowling – The Harry Potter author has drawn criticism for making recent transphobic statements online. In a subtle rejoinder, and just in time for Pride Month, the National Portrait Gallery shared a painting from its collection of celebrated soldier, diplomat, and fencer Chevalier d’Eon, the earliest representation of a transgender sitter in its collection.⁠ D’Eon played a key role in peace negotiations that ended the Seven Years’ War and worked as a professional fencer, competing in women’s attire. “This portrait is an unprecedented historic document of the sitter’s acceptance into British society at a time when people who wore clothing not associated with their assigned gender were viciously persecuted,” the post states. (Twitter)


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