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 Friday, March 19.
Hong Kong Government Scrutinizes the Arts (and M+) – The Hong Kong government has warned that it will be on “full alert” for perceived threats to national security posed by the arts after the M+ museum’s director, Suhanya Raffel, said that the museum would not censor artwork relating to historical events (including the 1980 prodemocracy protests at Tiananmen Square) or work by dissenting artists such as Ai Weiwei. State-owned media has also accused the region’s main public art funding body, Hong Kong Arts Development Council, of misusing $1.9 million to support projects that violate China’s national security law. (Artforum)
David Alan Harvey Resigns from Magnum Amid Sexual Abuse Allegations – The photographer David Alan Harvey has stepped away from Magnum Photos after the agency’s board voted to remove him. Harvey faces allegations of sexual harassment and abusive behavior from 11 women. While Harvey has denied the allegations, in removing him, Magnum has made a public apology to what it calls “the victims and survivors.” (The Art Newspaper)
Paris Galleries and Auction Houses Head Back Into Lockdown – Galleries and auction houses in Paris—which had been enjoying a resurgence in activity of late—must close their doors once again after French Prime Minister Jean Castex declared a new four-week lockdown to curb the spread of infections. Non-essential businesses in Paris and 15 other regions will be forced to shutter from midnight tonight. Museums have remained closed since October 30. (TAN France)
Jerusalem’s Islamic Art Museum Head Steps Down – The director of Jerusalem’s Museum of Islamic Art has resigned after a planned sale of 268 artifacts from the collection raised questions about the ownership of the items, their value as state treasures, and whether the museum was even allowed to deaccession them. The move comes in the wake of the auction’s cancelation (thanks in part to a last-minute donation arrangement). Nadim Sheiban has informed the board that he will step down at the end of this month. (Haaretz)
Naudline Pierre Joins James Cohan Gallery – The New York gallery now represents the in-demand artist Naudline Pierre, whose paintings are inspired by religion and spirituality. She will have a solo show at the Dallas Museum of Art in September and her first solo exhibition with the gallery in April 2022. (Observer NY)
UK Urges Galleries to Get in Line With Money Laundering Obligations – The National Crime Agency has issued UK galleries an “amber alert,” warning them to take the anti-money laundering regulations introduced last January more seriously. The director of the enforcement agency says dealers need to be filing more suspicious activity reports: “Art is used for money laundering, we see that in our investigations, and we would expect art dealers to be looking a bit harder. We haven’t seen much of an uptick.” (Evening Standard)
COMINGS & GOINGS
Court Says Law School Can Hide Offensive Mural – A district court has ruled that the Vermont Law School can conceal an offensive 1993 mural depicting racist caricatures of enslaved people. While the Visual Artists Rights Act protects works of art from destruction or modification without the artist’s consent (which, in this case, the artist has not given), the court said there is nothing in the law to prevent the school from erecting a wall to conceal the mural. (TAN)
Artist Turi Simeti Has Died at Age 91 – The acclaimed Italian artist has died from COVID-19 complications. The painter, who is represented by Dep Art and Almine Rech, first showed alongside the “Art Informel” movement in 1940s Italy, but later became known for his minimalist monochromatic paintings. (Press release)
FOR ART’S SAKE
V&A Reconsiders Plan to Axe National Art Library Staff – The V&A has walked back plans to cut 20 staff members from its library and theater archive after the government extended its job protection program and more than 10,000 people signed a petition in support of protecting the jobs. The museum will now keep the team employed using subsidies from the government’s furlough program. (TAN)
Sonia Boyce’s First Public Artwork to Be Unveiled in July – The artist Sonia Boyce, who will represent the UK at the Venice Biennale in 2022, will unveil her first public artwork in early July 2021. The Newham Trackside Wall, commissioned by Crossrail and curated by UP Projects, will see the artist create work for a 1.9-kilometer stretch of wall that flanks the forthcoming Elizabeth train line. The artist will collaborate with the local community to create a work that reflects the memories and experiences of residents. (Press release)
Maddox Gallery Celebrates the NHS – The Maddox Gallery in Westbourne Grove is showing portraits of seven frontline healthcare workers produced by photographer Rankin to celebrate the UK’s National Health Service. The portraits are part of a wider campaign by celebrity hairdresser Adee Phelan, who has been creating gift boxes of hair and beauty products to deliver to frontline workers during the pandemic. The portraits are on view from March 20 through April 5. (Press release)
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