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Sungi Mlengeya, Constant, 2019. Courtesy Afriart.
Sungi Mlengeya, Constant, 2019. Courtesy Afriart.

Art Central in Hong Kong Cancels Upcoming Edition, Julie Curtiss Joins White Cube, and More

Art Central, a large Hong Kong fair that coincides with Art Basel Hong Kong (ABHK), has called off its 2020 edition due to concerns over the spread of the coronavirus. The news comes on the heels of ABHK’s announcement on Thursday that it is canceling its upcoming event. Founded by Tim Etchells, Sandy Angus, and Will Ramsay, the sixth iteration of Art Central was supposed to take place from March 18 to March 22 in the Central Harbourfront event space in Hong Kong’s business district. In a statement published on its website, its organizers wrote: “We deeply appreciate the support of our galleries, partners and community, and we express our sympathies to all those affected.” Those who purchased tickets to the fair will receive refunds.

1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair released the exhibitor list for its New York edition, which will be held at the Caldwell Factory in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan from May 8 to May 10. Twenty-six galleries, representing seventy-eight artists from Africa and its diaspora, will participate, including Afikaris (Paris), Afriart Gallery (Kampala, Uganda), Galerie 127 (Marrakech), Galerie Attis (Dakar, Senegal), Luce Gallery (Turin), October Gallery (London), OOA Gallery (Barcelona), and Retro Africa (Abuja, Nigeria). The complete list of participants can be found on the fair’s website.

The fair also announced the launch of a new award. Established to support artists from the African continent by offering them the opportunity to take part in a three-month residency at the International Studio & Curatorial Program (ISCP) in Brooklyn, New York, the Ritzau Art Prize is open to emerging and midcareer artists whose work is exhibited at the fair. The inaugural winners will be selected by a jury made up of Omar Berrada, director of the international residency center Dar al-Ma’mûn in Marrakech; Adrienne Edwards, curator of performance at the Whitney Museum of American Art; and artist Olu Oguibe.

Spring/Break Art is returning to Los Angeles for its second edition in the city next week. The fair will stage fifty exhibitions organized under the theme “IN EXCESS” at Skylight Row DTLA, a 65,000-square-foot former textile manufacturer, and will run from February 14 to February 16. Participants include Desert Center, FEMMEBIT, Gas Gallery, Khang Nguyen, Leila Jarman, Outback Arthouse Secret Project Robot, and Tiger Strikes Asteroid LA. For the full list of participants, click here

“We are so pleased to partner for a second year with Skylight ROW DTLA as they allow our artists’ submissions to engage with a fresh pocket of American history in Los Angeles,” said Spring/Break Art Show codirector Ambre Kelly. The fair previously collaborated with Skylight to activate historic adaptive reuse destinations—the 2015 and 2016 New York City fairs transformed the historic James A. Farley Post Office and Skylight at Moynihan Station, and the inaugural West Coast fair was held at the Stalls at ROW DTLA, a series of former vegetable stalls in the fruit and vegetable district of Downtown Los Angeles.

New York dealer Robert Blumenthal is suing artist Derek Fordjour. His eponymous gallery filed a legal complaint against Fordjour over an alleged contract breach in the New York Supreme Court on Tuesday. According to the Art Newspaper, Blumenthal is claiming he paid the artist $20,000 for twenty artworks while Fordjour was still a student at Hunter College in Manhattan, but only received thirteen of them. When Fordjour accepted the commission in 2014, his works were selling for around $2,000—today they are netting more than $200,000. His profile has also risen since he created the mural Half-Mast for the Whitney Museum of American Art in 2018 and his pieces were purchased by celebrities Jay-Z and Beyoncé. A solo exhibition of his work, titled “Shelter,” is also currently on view at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis. Blumenthal is seeking $1.45 million. 

White Cube has announced its representation of painter and sculptor Julie Curtiss. Born and raised in Paris, Curtiss studied at l’Ėcole des Beaux-Arts before moving to Japan and then to New York, where she now lives and works. Curtiss’s paintings often depict the body and rework female archetypes. Commenting on her work, the artist said: “In my images, I enjoy the complementarity of humor and darkness, the uncanny and the mundane, grotesque shapes and vivid colors.” Curtiss first exhibited at White Cube in the 2017 group exhibition “Dreamers Awake,” which explored the enduring influence of Surrealism through the work of women artists. She is also represented by Anton Kern Gallery.

Freehouse, launched by Independent cofounder Darren Flook in East London in 2018, announced that Meyer Vaisman has become the first artist to be represented by the project space. Vaisman will have his first solo show of new work in the UK since 1990 at Freehouse in October 2020. “I’ve been a fan since I was at art school. Vaisman is one of the artists who forms a cornerstone of how I think about art and about what an artist can be,” Flook said. “To represent Vaisman, to work with him on his show here, his upcoming monograph and the upcoming museum shows is a true honor.”