From Cooper Union’s Return of Free Tuition to MOCA’s Shock Move to Fire Its Top Curator: The Best and Worst of the Art World This Week

Catch up on what you missed—fast.

The Cooper Union School of Art's Dean Mike Essl, showing off a photo of the school's Foundation Building. Photo by Leo Sorel, courtesy of The Cooper Union.


Cooper Union Will Be Tuition-Free Once Again – Cheers went up after the board voted this week to reinstatE a founding tenet of the Cooper Union arts and engineering school—to provide a free education—thanks to a proposed 10-year budget plan that would boost its finances.

Courbet Triumphs Over Censorship – A lawsuit that dragged on for nearly a decade ended when a French court ruled that Facebook should not have shut down educator Frédéric Durand’s account after he posted the provocative 19th-century painting Origin of the World.

Germany May Reduce Taxes on Art – The German art market may be in for an awakening thanks to new legislation that could result in tax-cuts on artworks. Strict regulations on the commercial art market in Germany have contributed to its lagging status on an international scale.

Kenny Schachter Covered the Auctions and Fairs – artnet News’s intrepid columnist always reads between the lines to report what’s really going on in the art world, and this week that included what happened after the hammer came down at London’s auctions and—looking beyond the sales reportshow dealers fared during New York’s Armory week.

Native American Art Fraud Was Exposed  – Arts and crafts by Native Americans have long been catnip to forgers, but thanks to a cunning operation involving invisible ink, shady dealers of counterfeit art are now finally facing the consequences.

The Hermitage Museum Has a Fortunetelling Feline – The storied Russian museum announced that Achilles, its deaf white-furred cat with a knack for prognostication, will be the “official oracle” of the FIFA World Cup 2018, which will take place in cities across Russia this summer.


MOCA Ousts Its Chief Curator – Helen Molesworth was fired as the chief curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, making her the latest in a string of impressive women to be dismissed from top posts at international arts institutions. Meanwhile, members of the art world signed an open letter in support of María Inés Rodríguez, who was removed from her post as director of Bourdeaux’s contemporary art museum for being “too demanding.”

Richard Meier Accused of Sexual Misconduct – The famed designer of Los Angeles’s Getty Center has stepped down from his firm following allegations from five women who reported instances of harassment by Pritzker Prize-winner, including one incident that resulted in a $150,000 settlement. Now institutions across the country are severing ties with Meier, including the J. Paul Getty Trust, Sotheby’s, and Cornell University (Meier’s alma mater).

Anish Kapoor Fires Back at the NRA – The artist’s iconic Chicago-based sculpture dubbed “The Bean” was used without permission in an NRA video, leading the outspoken Turner Prize-winner to write an open letter in collaboration with a gun-control advocacy group to roundly condemn the right-wing weapons organization.

Museum Director Ousted in Ghent – Catherine de Zegher was suspended as the director of the Ghent Museum of Fine Arts after experts widely denounced an exhibition of Russian avant-garde artwork that were believed to be fakes.

Social Media Cries Fowl on Animal-Cruelty Artwork – The outcry condemning the Adel Abdessemed video that appears to show a row of live chickens engulfed in flames led to its removal from the Museum of Contemporary Art in France—but according to the artist the work’s intent was actually to protest cases of violence against animals, and that the fire was conjured through special effects.

Salma Hayek Bashes the Frida Kahlo Barbie – Mattel’s newest Barbie doll based on the Mexican art-historical legend bears little resemblance to the painter, according to Salma Hayek. The actress produced and starred in a movie about the Kahlo, whose famous unibrow is notably missing from the Barbie.

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