Art Industry News: Picasso Museum Workers in Spain Held a Silent Protest to Demand Equal Pay + Other Stories

Plus, the U.K. is extending its ivory ban and the Gropius Bau launches an AI program.

Workers wearing Picasso-style masks take part in a silent protest outside the Picasso Museum, to demand better salary and working conditions. Photo by Jesus Merida/SOPA Images/LightRocket 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 Wednesday, May 24.


Islamic Art Controversy – A new report by the American Association of University Professors criticized Hamline University’s treatment of academic Erika López Prater after the former adjunct professor was fired for showing images of the prophet Muhammad. The report called it “an assault on fundamental principles of academic freedom,” adding that the university’s labelling of the situation as “Islamophobic” was wrong. Fayneese Miller, the university’s president who fired López Prater, has recently resigned from her position and will retire at the end of the next school year. (Inside Higher Ed)

U.K. Government Will Extend Ivory Ban – The ban on the import and trade of elephant ivory stipulated in the Ivory Act 2018 is set to be extended to cover five other animals: the teeth and horns of hippos, sperm whales, narwhals, orcas, and walruses. The extension came amid mounting concerns about how hippos and other aquatic mammals will become new targets as the ban on ivory is tightened further. The new extension will be voted in the parliament. (The Art Newspaper)

Picasso Museum Workers Protest – Dozens of employees of the Picasso Museum in Malaga held a silent protest outside the museum over the weekend, as part of their campaign for better working conditions and wages. The protest coincided with La Noche en Blanco (an annual event that promotes culture with free cultural activities). Holding banners that read “luxury museum, bargain workers,” dozens of workers demanded equal pay and working conditions as those in other museums in the country. (La Opinion)

Gropius Bau Launches A.I. Program – The Berlin institution will be kicking off a new program called Ether’s Bloom in June. Inspired by K Allado-McDowell, the A.I. researcher and the institution’s new writer-in-residence, the program will explore the utopian and poetic possibilities of artificial intelligence. The artist discussed the topic recently on our podcast the Art Angle. (Press release)


Institute of Museum and Library Sciences Awards Annual Prizes – Four museums: The Center of Science and Industry in Columbus, Ohio; the Jim Gatchell Memorial Museum in Buffalo, Wyoming; the Museum of Discovery and Science in Fort Lauderdale, Florida; and the Riverside Art Museum in California were given the National Medal for Museum and Library Service for 2023, along with four libraries around the country. The award recognizes leading institutions in their respective communities. (The Art Newspaper)

Kara Walker Commissioned for Installation at SFMoMA The artist will be creating a large-scale, site-specific installation for the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s expansive, street-level Roberts Family Gallery. The commission will open to public in July 2024. (Press release) 

Hauser and Wirth to Open Soho Location – The blue-chip mega-gallery will open a new outpost in the Manhattan neighborhood, bringing the number of New York spaces to three, including one in Chelsea and the Upper East Side. Located at 134 Wooster Street, the forthcoming 4,000-square-foot gallery will have an accompanying restaurant operated by Iwan and Manuela Wirth’s Artfarm hospitality group situated just across the street. (Press release)


Rijksmuseum Receives Largest Donation in History – The Netherlands-based museum has received a gift of €12.5 million ($13.5 million) from an anonymous private donor, which will be managed by a new supporting foundation. The money will support 10 years of the annual sculpture exhibitions at the Rijksmuseum Gardens, which this year will feature British artist Robert Long, who created six new works for the show. (Press release)

Richard Long, <i>Life Line</i> (2023). Courtesy of the artist, 2023. Photo: Rijksmuseum/Jannes Linders.

Richard Long, Life Line (2023). Courtesy of the artist, 2023.
Photo: Rijksmuseum/Jannes Linders.



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