News

  • London’s Victoria & Albert Museum.

    Major Layoffs Expected at Victoria & Albert Museum

    Deep cuts are expected to touch a number of departments at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum, considered to be the world’s top decorative arts museum, as the institution struggles to trim roughly $14 million from its budget by 2023. The V&A will additionally restructure and in some cases combine its departments in an attempt to create a leaner operation in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis, which proved catastrophic for institutions worldwide.

    The curatorial and research departments are said to be slated to bear the brunt of the blow. According to The Art Newspaper, 20 percent of the current 980

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  • Jeff Koons. Photo: Bengt Oberger/Wikipedia.

    Jeff Koons and Pompidou Lose Appeal in Magazine Copyright Case

    A French appeals court has upheld a 2018 Paris High Court ruling in favor of fashion photographer Franck Davidovici, who in 2014 accused Koons of plagiarizing a magazine ad he had designed. The 1985 ad, for French fashion brand Naf Naf, showed a girl lying prostrate on her back in the snow while a pig with a small barrel around its neck, St. Bernard style, nuzzled her hair. Koons’s 1988 sculpture Fait d’hiver depicted a similar scene, which differed in that the girl was more scantily clad, and that a pair of small penguins stood placidly next to the pig, appearing to observe the proceedings.

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  • Osman Kavala.

    Turkish Government Initiates New Attack on Arts Philanthropist Osman Kavala

    The government of president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has stepped up its campaign against cultural philanthropist Osman Kavala, on February 5 declining his request for release from prison—where has been held without conviction since October 18, 2017—and instead appending charges that he participated in a thwarted 2016 coup to those stemming from the 2013 Gezi Park protests, which he was accused of instigating. Kavala was acquitted on the early charges in February 2020, but last month an appeals court, citing new evidence, ruled that the case could be retried in a lower court.

    Additionally, on February

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  • View of Michael Heizer’s Double Negative, 1969.

    Nevada Solar Power Project Threatens Michael Heizer’s Iconic Double Negative

    A solar power plant currently in the works near Overton, Nevada, could occlude views surrounding Michael Heizer’s massive 1969 Land art work Double Negative, The Art Newspaper reports. Visitors to the work, which consists of two fifty-foot-deep trenches spanning a remote natural canyon, would be greeted by the sight of the Battle Born Solar Project, which is slated to occupy some 9,000 acres atop the nearby Mormon Mesa.

    “We have been told there would still be access to Double Negative, but the power of the place would be lost forever,” says Lisa Childs, founder of the grassroots initiative Save

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  • Christine Kuan. Photo: Sophie Elgort.

    Creative Capital Names Christine Kuan President and Executive Director

    National arts nonprofit Creative Capital has announced that Christine Kuan will be assuming the dual roles of president and director of the organization. Kuan, who is currently CEO and director of Sotheby’s Institute of Art, New York, will assume her new role March 22. She replaces interim director Leslie Singer, who will return to her original job as COO; Singer took up her temporary post when Susan Delvalle stepped down in September 2020 after four years.

    “I am honored to join Creative Capital in its mission to support individual artists creating groundbreaking work confronting the most important

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  • New York’s Whitney Museum of American Art recently cut fifteen staff positions owing to “extremely low attendance.” Photo: Wikipedia.

    US Arts Institutions Continue to Struggle as Pandemic Grinds On

    Six hundred advocates have banded together under the aegis of the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) to seek financial relief from the US government for the country’s ailing arts institutions, The Art Newspaper reports. Citing fears that many museums may be forced to close permanently in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis, the AAM announced that February 22–23 would stand as Museums Advocacy Day. The organization used the occasion to issue an appeal to the government to provide congressional funding for museum programs sponsored by the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services, among other

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  • The main entrance of the Victoria & Albert Museum, London. Photo: David Iliff.

    English Museums to Begin Opening May 17

    Museums in England can begin reopening May 17 following Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s lockdown guide, with galleries beginning to reopen more than a month earlier, on April 12, The Art Newspaper reports. According to Johnson, who delivered the news in a speech Monday at the House of Commons, all galleries and institutions should be open by June 21, barring a spike in Covid-19 infections.

    Johnson’s plan, or “road map,” allows for the country’s reopening in four phases, with the first beginning March 8 and encompassing a return to full, in-person teaching at primary and secondary schools as well

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  • Arturo Di Modica with Charging Bull, 1989.

    Arturo Di Modica (1941–2021)

    Sicilian sculptor Arturo Di Modica died on February 19 in his hometown of Vittoria, Italy, at the age of eighty, following a years-long battle with cancer, his dealer Jacob Harmer confirmed. Di Modica, who operated outside the confines of the traditional art world for most of his career, is most widely known for his massive bronze 1989 sculpture Charging Bull, which has greeted passersby in New York’s Bowling Green for more than thirty years.

    Born into poverty just ahead of the Allied forces’ invasion of Italy, Di Modica left home on a steam train at the age of eighteen to pursue his dream 0of

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  • Cuban Culture Minister Alpidio Alonso. Photo: UNESCO/Flickr.

    Thousands of Cubans Join Artists in Demanding Ouster of Culture Minister Alpidio Alonso

    More than nine thousand Cubans have signed a Change.org petition calling for the resignation of the country’s culture minister, Alpidio Alonso, who on January 27 was one of a number of government officials who physically confronted a group of protesters demonstrating in support of free speech and knocked a cell phone from a reporter’s hand. The broader outcry follows artist-activist group N27’s February 3 filing of a legal motion on behalf of some 1,200 signatories—including artists, intellectuals, and activists—to have Alonso removed.

    “The minister must assume responsibility for the violence

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  •  The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. Photo: Richard Dobbins.

    Texas Museums Using Generators to Keep Art, Staff Warm

    Museums in Texas, which has been devastated by recent storms and cold that overwhelmed its power grid and left thousands of residents without heat, power, or access to drinkable water, have resorted to emergency measures to conserve their artworks, Artnet News reports. Institutions have also opened their doors to staff who are without the aforementioned amenities.

    “We have fifteen engineers who are sleeping at the museum right now because travel is not wise,” said Gary Tinterow, director of the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, which has been largely running on generators since Sunday. The institution

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  • The new arts center will be within miles of the Chinati Foundation, Donald Judd’s private museum. Photo: John Cummings/Wikipedia.

    Marfa, Texas, to Welcome New Cultural Center

    Michael Phelan, founder of the two-year-old insider arts fair Marfa Invitational, is planning to open an arts foundation by that name in Marfa, Texas, this fall, the New York Times reports; the arts fair will be rebranded simply as the Invitational. The Marfa Invitational will be open year-round, and will host a variety of events across disciplines, including art installations, performances, film and video screenings, fashion shows, and talks. It will occupy an exhibition space comprising twin pre-engineered steel structures, each with 150 feet of aluminum and glass doors that can be rolled up

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  • Charles Venable. Photo: Newfields.

    Charles Venable Steps Down as Head of Indianapolis Museum of Art

    Charles Venable, president of Newfields, the campus that is home to the Indiana Museum of Art, has resigned after an insensitive job posting by the institution on a recruiting site drew public outrage. Venable earlier this week edited and then apologized for the January advertisement on the website of search firm m/Oppenheim, for a director capable of maintaining the IMA’s “traditional, core, white art audience” while seeking to reach new, diverse audiences.

    The posting, which went relatively unnoticed until February 12, sparked a public call for Venable’s resignation, released February 16, signed

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