News Register for our weekly news digest here.

  • View of Li Songsong’s Six Men, 2008, at UCCA Beijing. Photo: Weibo.

    UCCA Beijing Pulls Painting of Kamikazes, Courts Controversy

    The UCCA Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing is facing allegations of censorship following its removal, in early August, of a painting depicting a group of youthful Japanese kamikaze pilots. Officials at the museum pulled the 2008 work, Six Men, by Beijing-based artist Li Songsong, from the museum’s wall and from its website after images of the work circulating on Chinese social media site Weibo generated unease. Users of the platform expressed concern that the work, whose subjects are discernible despite the painting’s largely abstract nature, glorified both the practice and the practitioners

    Read more
  • Serhiy Svetoslavsky’s Ice Harvesting, ca. 1900, in the collection of the Kherson Regional Art Museum. Photo: Arthive.com.

    Ukrainian Museum Collections to Come Under Russian Control as Annexation Looms

    Several dozen Ukrainian museums will be commandeered by Russia on September 30 after President Vladimir Putin signs a decree annexing the occupied territories of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson, and Zaporizhzhia. The signing follows a raft of referendums, widely condemned as shams, that saw the citizens of those regions vote by a broad margin to agree to be annexed by the Russian Federation. Russia will thus gain possession of the thousands of artifacts and heritage works in the institutions’ collections.

    The Art Newspaper did a deep dive into the institutions whose treasures will be lost to the

    Read more
  • Meg Onli and Chrissie Iles. Photo: The Whitney Museum of American Art.

    Chrissie Iles and Meg Onli to Curate 2024 Whitney Biennial

    The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, has revealed that Chrissie Iles and Meg Onli will co-organize the eighty-first iteration of the Whitney Biennial, slated to open in the spring of 2024. Iles is the Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz Curator at the Whitney and has co-organized two previous editions of the Biennial. Responsible in large part for the building and shaping of the museum’s collection of moving image art, she is the curator most recently of the Whitney’s group show “Mountain/Time,” which investigates concepts surrounding re-mapping, migration, and Black and Indigenous geographies.

    Read more
  • Nicholas Galanin (Tlingit/Unangax̂), Never Forget, 2021, in the Forge Project collection. Photo: Jason Wyche.

    Bard College Receives $50 Million Gift in Support of Indigenous Studies

    Bard College has received a “transformational” $25 million gift from the Gochman Family Foundation and a matching gift of $25 million from George Soros and the Open Society Foundations. The money will be used to fund a Center for Indigenous Studies along with faculty appointments and student scholarships. As well, the college’s American Studies Program will be renamed the American and Indigenous Studies Program to “more fully reflect continental history,” according to a Bard press release, and to center Native American and Indigenous Studies in the school’s curriculum. A chair for a distinguished

    Read more
  • Issue seven of The Drift.

    David Zwirner Announces Partnership with Literary Magazine The Drift

    David Zwirner today announced a partnership with two-year-old literary magazine The Drift that will see the blue-chip gallery become the lead funder of the triannual publication. Zwirner’s involvement will allow the magazine to plan years ahead, undertake more ambitious projects, and establish itself as a platform for new voices and ideas. The Drift will maintain complete editorial independence under the arrangement. Beginning in spring of next year, David Zwirner will host an annual gala for the magazine.

    The Drift was founded in June 2020 by recent Harvard grads Drift Kiara Barrow and Rebecca

    Read more
  • Robert Newland. Photo: Superblue.

    Dealer Robert Newland Pleads Guilty to Aiding Inigo Philbrook in $86 Million Fraud

    British art dealer Robert Newland, a onetime business partner of disgraced art dealer and convicted fraudster Inigo Philbrick, has pleaded guilty to a single count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud for his part in helping Philbrick swindle dealers and collectors out of $86 million. Newland entered the plea September 23 before US District Court Judge Sidney H. Stein in the southern District Court of New York after being extradited to the US earlier in the week, roughly seven months after being detained in the UK in connection with the crime. Philbrick this past May was sentenced by the same

    Read more
  • Jeffrey Weiss. Photo: Sharon Hayes and Brooke O'Harra.

    Jeff Weiss (1940–2022)

    Playwright, actor, and doyen of downtown performance Jeffrey Weiss has died age the age of eighty-two. In the wake of his passing on September 18, figures including the novelist and historian Sarah Schulman, actor Harvey Fierstein, and the critic Lynne Tillman took to social media to express their grief, the latter writing: “He was electric.” 

    Born in Allentown, Pennsylvania, in 1940, Weiss dropped out of high school and moved to New York City as a young man, becoming involved in the city’s bourgeoning experimental theater scene as a performer and dramatist. Forgoing formal acting training—he

    Read more
  • Toronto’s Power Plant Board Sees Mass Exodus over Management Kerfuffle

    Twenty-four of the twenty-seven members of the board of Toronto’s Power Plant contemporary art space submitted their resignations last week in protest of the institution’s management by the Harbourfront Centre, an affiliated nonprofit organization. In a resignation letter shared on social media, fifteen of the departing board members called out Harbourfront for attempting to unseat a dozen of the institution’s board members over the summer “and replace them with its own slate of directors from its own board or staff.” The authors of the letter noted, “This decision was made without consulting

    Read more
  • The Philadelphia Museum of Art. Photo: Rgordon6/Wikipedia Commons.

    Philadelphia Museum of Art Staff on Strike over Fair Contract

    Roughly 180 unionized employees of the Philadelphia Museum of Art (PMA) will go on strike today as part of a continuing effort to secure a fair contract, for which they have been negotiating with museum officials for two years. The union—which formed in May 2020 under the aegis of AFSCME District Council 47, Local 397—has accused PMA management of dragging its feet in the bargaining process, which began in October 2020. The strike arrives in the wake of a one-day warning strike staged by staff in early September, which itself came a week after union bosses filed an unfair labor practices grievance

    Read more
  • The Guggenheim Museum in New York. Photo: hounddiggity/Flickr.

    Guggenheim Eliminates $100,000 Hugo Boss Prize

    New York’s Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum is discontinuing its $100,000 Hugo Boss Prize, Artnews reports. The institution gave no reason for the cancelation of biennial prize, which was organized with the German luxury fashion company Hugo Boss in 1996 to reward innovation and influence in contemporary art.

    Modeled after the Turner Prize in Britain but unrestricted by nationality or age, the prize frequently included a solo exhibition at the museum and had become a mainstay of the international art world, bestowing emerging and established talents alike with international prestige. Dozens of artists

    Read more
  • A work by Ralph Lemon included in the 2022 Whitney Biennial. Photo: Whitney Museum.

    Ralph Lemon Awarded Whitney Biennial’s $100,000 Bucksbaum Award

    New York’s Whitney Museum of American Art has given the $100,000 Bucksbaum Award to American choreographer and visual artist Ralph Lemon, who was picked from the sixty-three artists and collectives included in the ongoing Whitney Biennial, titled “Quiet as It’s Kept,” which remains on view until October 16. 

    “With the Bucksbaum Prize, the Whitney seeks to honor an artist with the promise to make a lasting contribution to the history of American art,” said Scott Rothkopf, chief curator of the Whitney. “In Ralph Lemon’s case that has already happened. His body of work has shifted paradigms around

    Read more
  • vanessa german and Cauleen Smith. Photo: Joshua Franzos.

    Cauleen Smith and vanessa german Win $250,000 Heinz Award for the Arts

    Cauleen Smith and vanessa german have been named the 2022 recipients of the Heinz Award for the Arts. The unrestricted $250,000 cash prize, given annually by the Pittsburgh-based Heinz Family Foundation to “honor individuals whose work and accomplishments are producing an impact that endures,” is one of the world’s largest. Past awardees include Conceptual artist Sanford Biggers, cartoonist Roz Chast, Pulitzer Prize–winning poet Rita Dove, and interdisciplinary artist Ralph Lemon, among others.

    “This year’s recipients are engaging the arts as a tool for healing,” founder Teresa Heinz said about

    Read more