News

  • David H. Koch Plaza, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

    Metropolitan Museum of Art and Philadelphia Museum of Art Make Deep Cuts to Staff

    New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, which laid off more than eighty employees after it closed to the public in March due to concerns around Covid-19, has issued a second round of staff cuts in anticipation of a $150 million drop in revenue. In a memo sent Wednesday, chief executive officer Daniel H. Weiss and director Max Hollein informed Met employees that seventy-nine staff members were laid off, ninety-three voluntarily retired early, and a further 181 were furloughed, reducing the museum’s overall ranks by 20 percent since March of this year.

    Cuts took place across the museum, with retail,

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  • View of London’s Southbank Centre.

    London Art Scene Unsettled as Tate Workers Vote to Strike, Southbank Centre Challenged over Major Restructuring

    A ballot held by the United Kingdom’s PCS Union saw a sweeping majority of Tate workers vote to strike unless management pledges to save hundreds of jobs at Tate Enterprises, the London museum’s commercial arm, by August 17. The subsidiary’s mid-June announcement that it would eliminate around three hundred retail, catering, and publishing sector positions throughout its London, Liverpool, and St. Ives locations drew uproar at the institution, now facing a possible work stoppage from over one hundred staff members. Activists and workers gathered to protest outside the Tate Modern on July 27,

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  • Explosions in Beruit sent shock waves through Sfeir-Semler Gallery.

    Twin Explosions Devastate Beirut’s Art Venues

    A pair of explosions yesterday at the Port of Beirut wreaked destruction on Lebanon’s capital, killing more than one hundred people and leaving over five thousand injured, overwhelming hospitals already struggling due to the pandemic. Although the cause of the disaster is still under investigation, Lebanese officials say that the more calamitous of the explosions may have come from a 2,750-ton stockpile of ammonium nitrate—a compound often used as fertilizer—stored nearby. The magnitude 3.3 shock seismic wave created by this second blast shattered glass and destabilized buildings for miles around

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  • Germany’s Kunstmuseum Stuttgart.

    Germany Increases National Art Acquisition Budget by 600 Percent

    On Monday, the German government announced a surprise six-fold addition to the Federal Art Collection’s acquisition budget as part of a new cultural initiative to help artists, galleries, and dealers impacted by the pandemic. The ministry’s funds will increase from $590,000 to $3.5 million.

    The bonus aims to “provide a rapid and effective impulse to revive art production in the current difficult situation,” according to culture minister Monika Grütters. It is an addendum to the country’s $1.17 billion New Start initiative, a bailout for the cultural sector which launched in June and has been

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  • The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

    Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts Eliminates 113 Staff Positions

    Faced with financial uncertainty and still closed to the public, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA) has eliminated 113 full- and part-time positions after fifty-six staff members were laid off and fifty-seven others voluntarily took early retirements. According to a statement released by the institution, the restructuring plan, which downsizes staff by 15 percent, will “create stability and sustainability for the MFA” and “accommodate our new realities—which include a reduction in our workforce.”

    Closed since March 13 due to the pandemic, the museum furloughed 301 employees, about 40 percent

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  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s flagship building on Fifth Avenue.

    Metropolitan Museum of Art Will Begin Paying All Interns after Receiving $5 Million Donation

    New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art will begin paying all of its interns after receiving a $5 million donation from art collector and philanthropist Adrienne Arsht. The pledged gift, which will also help fund the museum’s MetLiveArts performance series, will establish a fully paid internship program starting next spring, to be named after Arsht. The institution’s current seasonal, unnamed internship programs, which last year included seventy undergraduate and graduate students across more than forty departments, offer to arrange academic credit at interns’ schools in the way of compensation.

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  • Pablo Picasso and Carl Nesjar’s mural The Fisherman on the Y-block building in Oslo.

    Picasso Mural Removed from Oslo’s Y-Block Despite International Protest

    Despite objections around the world from preservationists, politicians, prominent curators, and tens of thousands of petition signers, the Norwegian government has detached the concrete mural by Pablo Picasso that has adorned a building in Oslo’s downtown Regjeringskvartalet quarter for fifty years. The structure, a Brutalist office complex known as the Y-block, which was damaged in a 2011 terrorist attack, is slated for demolition as part of redevelopment plans for the city’s small government district. The Y-block was realized in 1969 by modernist architect Erling Viksjø, who also designed the

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  • Rebeccah Blum. Photo: Francis Pike.

    Rebeccah Blum, Curator Who Expanded Berlin’s Art Community, Found Dead

    Rebeccah Blum, an independent curator based in Berlin who was known there as an ambitious and compassionate supporter of artists, has died at age fifty-three. Her death was confirmed by her daughter, Emma, on social media. Through initiatives like Blum Fine Art Management, a firm she started in 2012, and Satellite Berlin, a platform cofounded with art advisor Kit Schulte in 2014, Blum focused her career on international collaboration. From 2007 to 2012, she directed programming at Aurel Scheibler gallery’s downtown Berlin space, ScheiblerMitte, where she oversaw solo exhibitions by Michel Auder,

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  • A neon artwork by Martin Creed installed on the facade of the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit. Photo: Kevin Chang/Flickr.

    MOCAD Drops Director Elysia Borowy-Reeder Over Toxic Workplace Allegations

    The board of the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit has terminated director Elysia Borowy-Reeder over allegations of racism, sexism, and “exploitative labor practices” leveled by former employees. Borowy-Reeder, who had led the museum since 2013, was placed on administrative leave earlier this month after a group calling themselves MOCAD Resistance addressed an open letter to the board of directors signed by thirty-nine former staffers and thirty-six members of the institution’s youth council. “We experienced and witnessed various racist microaggressions, misgendering, violent verbal outbursts,

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  • Marcuse Pfeifer, 1998. Photo: Timothy Greenfield-Sanders.

    Marcuse Pfeifer (1936–2020)

    Marcuse “Cusie” Pfeifer, who championed contemporary photography at the eponymous New York gallery she founded in 1976—and in doing so, helped launch the careers of Peter Hujar and Sally Mann—has died at age eighty-four. She was one of the first gallerists in the city to exclusively show photographs at a time when many critics and collectors still denied the medium the status of art. She went on to become a founding member and president of the Association of International Photography Art Dealers (AIPAD), which hosts the Photography Show, the prestigious art fair. She died in Kingston, New York,

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  • Tate Modern in London.

    Museum Staffers Protest Proposed Job Cuts at Tate Modern Reopening

    Dozens of Tate employees gathered on July 27 to protest at London’s Tate Modern during its long-awaited reopening, steering visitors’ attention to cuts at the museum and across a wider cultural sector ravaged by the pandemic. In mid-June, four months since the Tate closed its four galleries due to Covid-19, the museum informed its commercial arm, Tate Enterprise, that it plans to eliminate some two hundred retail, catering, and publishing sector jobs throughout its London, Liverpool, and St. Ives locations. Between the Tate, the Southbank Center, and the National Theatre, approximately one

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  • In 2015, writer Sandra Cisneros made an installation at the National Museum of American History inspired by the tradition of Día de Muertos and devoted to her mother, Elvira Cordero Cisneros.

    US House Votes to Create National Museum of the American Latino

    The US House of Representatives voted yesterday to establish a national museum of the American Latino dedicated to the history and culture of America’s Latinx communities, which comprise nearly 60 million people. Introduced last year by New York representative José E. Serrano, the bill for the museum, which will sit on the National Mall, was unanimously approved on Monday and now goes to the Senate, where it has bipartisan support. The museum would be a subsidiary of the Smithsonian Institution and would model itself on the National Museum of African American History and Culture, which opened

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