Turkish Artist Receives Two-Year Prison Sentence for Painting Destruction of Kurdish City

Painting by Turkish artist and journalist Zehra Doğan.

Zehra Doğan, a Turkish painter and journalist who was detained after the failed military coup last July, was sentenced to two years, nine months, and twenty-two days in jail for painting the destruction caused by Turkish security forces in the Nusaybin district of Mardin Province—a Kurdish region of Turkey, the Turkish daily Cumhuriyet reports.

Doğan was on assignment for the feminist Kurdish news agency JINHA when she was in Mardin and painted the work. The online news site has since been shut down. Claiming that the artwork proved that she was connected to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, which the government considers a terrorist organization, authorities arrested Doğan while she was sitting at a café on July 21. “I was given two years and ten months only because I painted Turkish flags on destroyed buildings. However, they caused this. I only painted it,” Doğan wrote on Twitter.

According to Mardin’s Second High Penal Court, it wasn’t the work itself that landed Doğan in jail. Her decision to share an image of the work, which featured current military operations, was what incited her prison sentence. There are also reports that Doğan violated a strict curfew that was imposed after the assault on the city.


July 21, 2017

House Committee Approves Bill that Continues to Fund NEA and NEH

The United States Capitol.

A new bill that was passed by the House of Representatives Appropriations Committee may save the National Endowments of the Arts and Humanities from being axed by the Trump administration, Graham Bowley of the New York Times reports.

When President Donald Trump announced that he planned to eliminate the federal agencies from the 2018 federal budget in March, arts advocates across the country were outraged. In the months since he revealed his proposal for the nation’s spending priorities, there have been protests, petitions, and calls to action to protect the endowments.

Ken Calvert, the chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies, drafted the bill, which was approved by a vote of 30-21. Totaling $31.4 billion, the bill also includes funding for the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Park Service. It will award $145 million for each endowment—approximately $5 million less than their current budgets.

“It is a very solid rejection of the administration’s proposals to terminate the two agencies,” said Narric Rome, who is responsible for government affairs at Americans for the Arts, an advocacy group. “We consider the House number to be a very good starting point for the appropriations process.” The bill must be passed by a full house vote before it can be presented to the Senate.

July 20, 2017

Pompidou Center Moves Forward with Launch of Shanghai Outpost

The West Bund cultural district in Shanghai

After more than a decade of negotiations, the Pompidou Center in Paris finalized a deal that will allow it to establish its first Chinese exhibition space. The Paris institution and the West Bund Group in Shanghai is calling their agreement “the most important cultural exchange project” to take place between France and China.

Set to open in a wing of the West Bund Art Museum in 2019, the museum plans to stage twenty exhibitions in its first five years. Designed by British architect David Chipperfield, the West Bund Art Museum is currently being built in Shanghai’s cultural district and is scheduled to open in 2018. The renewable five-year contract will be signed by both parties before the end of 2017.

Last year the Pompidou center mounted its first show in China. Titled “Masterpieces from the Centre Pompidou 1906-77,” the exhibition featured works by Marcel Duchamp, Pablo Picasso, and other well-known artists at the Shanghai Exhibition Center.

July 20, 2017

Spanish Police Recover Three Francis Bacon Paintings from 2015 Heist

This double portrait is one of the five stolen Francis Bacon works.

Three of five Francis Bacon paintings that were stolen from a collector’s home in Madrid in 2015 have been recovered by the Spanish authorities, BBC reports. A police spokeswoman confirmed that they were found, but did not provide further information since the investigation to find the other two works is still ongoing.

Estimated to be worth more than $29 million, the paintings were taken from José Capelo’s residence along with a safe containing jewels in what is thought to be the biggest theft of contemporary art in Spain. Capelo, who was a friend of the artist, was in London when the burglary took place.

Seven suspects involved in the case were arrested in Madrid in May 2016. Another three suspects were detained in February 2017. Investigators tracked down one of the alleged perpetrators after they received a tip from a London firm that specializes in searching for missing artworks. A Barcelona resident had sent the company photographs of one of the works, which led the police to a suspect that they believe carried out the robbery as well as to an art dealer and his son, who may hidden some of the pieces.

July 20, 2017

Daisuke Tsuda Appointed Artistic Director of Aichi Triennale 2019

Daisuke Tsuda. Photo: OpenCU

Journalist and author Daisuke Tsuda has been named the artistic director of the Aichi Triennale’s 2019 edition, Karen Cheung of ArtAsiaPacific reports. The exhibition will be held in Nagoya, the capital of Japan’s Aichi prefecture. Dates have yet to be announced.

Tsuda, who is editor in chief of the web-based media platform POLITAS and the representative director of the activist group Movements for Internet Active Users, said that he is interested in examining the power of art and journalism as well the known and the unknown in the upcoming triennial.

The selection panel that made the appointment comprised Tohoku University Graduate School professor Taro Igarashi, Kyoto City University of Arts professor Akiko Kasuya, Tama Art University president Akira Tatehata, the National Museum of Art Osaka chief curator Yasuyuki Nakai, Yamaguchi University professor Fujikawa Satoshi, Nagoya City University professor Mikako Mizuno, and Tama Art University professor Chihiro Minato, who served as the artistic director of the previous triennial, “Homo Faber: A Rainbow Caravan,” which showcased more than one hundred participating artists.

July 20, 2017

Getty Announces Major Acquisition of Sixteen Master Drawings

Michelangelo Buonarroti, Study of a Mourning Woman, ca.1500–05. Photo: The Getty

The J. Paul Getty Museum announced a landmark acquisition of sixteen master drawings, including works by Michelangelo, Lorenzo di Credi, Andrea del Sarto, Parmigianino, Rubens, Barocci, Goya, and Degas, as well as a canonical painting by the eighteenth-century French artist Jean Antoine Watteau.

“This acquisition is truly a transformative event in the history of the Getty Museum,” said Timothy Potts, director of the J. Paul Getty Museum. “It brings into our collection many of the finest drawings of the Renaissance through nineteenth century that have come to market over the past thirty years. . .It is very unlikely that there will ever be another opportunity to elevate so significantly our representation of these artists, and, more importantly, the status of the Getty collection overall.”

Potts also noted that the Watteau painting, La Surprise, ca. 1718, which is one of the artist’s most famous works, had been lost for centuries and only resurfaced ten years ago in Britain. La Surprise is a fête galante, a popular genre, which Watteau invented, depicting outdoor revelry. The work portrays a young woman and man embracing with a musician, or Mezzetin, a stock comic character from the commedia dell’arte who is known to cause trouble, seated next to them.

The painting and the sixteen drawings were purchased as a group from a British private collection. Highlights of the acquisition include a Andrea del Sarto drawing that was once a part of the famous sixteenth-century art historian Giorgio Vasari’s collection, and a pen and ink study of a mourning woman by Michelangelo. While the majority of the works are currently at the Getty Museum, some are still pending export licenses from the UK. Plans to exhibit the works in a special installation at the Getty Museum are underway. A full list of the acquired works is as follows:

July 20, 2017

Oklahoma City Museum of Art Names J. Edward Barth Board Chair

J. Edward Barth.

The Oklahoma City Museum of Art’s board of trustees announced the appointment of J. Edward Barth as its new board chair. Barth will succeed Judge Jerome A. Holmes, who completed a two-year term.

“I am honored to begin my service during the museum’s fifteenth year in downtown Oklahoma City,“ said Barth. ”We are looking forward to another incredible year of exhibitions including the current Kehinde Wiley retrospective that opened recently to a wonderful response from our members and the community. It has been exciting to see our membership and visitor base grow as downtown Oklahoma City has become a magnet for dwellers, workers, and visitors. The museum’s exhibitions and programming have been integral to this new energy. It is a great time to be part of the Oklahoma City Museum of Art.”

Barth has over thirty years of experience in law and currently represents clients throughout the world for Andrew Davis. Barth serves as the chair of the committee on admissions and grievances for the US District Court, Western District of Oklahoma, and as president of the Historical Society for the United States District Court of the Western District of Oklahoma. He is involved in several nonprofit and charitable organizations, including the Oklahoma Philharmonic Society, Oklahoma Humanities Council, and the Oklahoma City Community Foundation. Barth was chairman of Oklahoma City Citizen Oversight Board for Metropolitan Area Projects from 1994 to 2004 and a former president and director of leadership for Oklahoma City.

July 20, 2017

Vandals Attack Nicole Eisenman Work at Skulptur Projekte Münster

Nicole Eisenman’s site-specific installation Sketch for a Fountain, 2017, which was vandalized sometime between July 19 and July 20 at Skulptur Projekte Münster.

Unknown perpetrators severely damaged a sculpture that was part of artist Nicole Eisenman’s site-specific installation, Sketch for a Fountain, at Skulptur Projekte Münster sometime between Wednesday July 19, and Thursday, July 20.

According to exhibition officials, vandals beheaded the sculpture of a larger-than-life-sized figure reclining on the ground in front of a rectangular fountain. The head has since been missing. The four other figures installed in various positions—sitting, laying down, and standing—in and around the basin were left alone.

After Eisenman was informed of the incident, she decided that the best course of action is to repair the sculpture’s damaged area. The figure will remain a part of the ensemble, but the head will not be reconstructed. The artist will work with the exhibition’s curatorial team to complete the necessary repairs by the end of the day.

July 20, 2017

Richard Prince’s Motion to Dismiss Copyright Infringement Lawsuit Is Denied

Donald Graham, Rastafarian Smoking a Joint, 1996 (left). Richard Prince, Untitled, 2014 (right).

On Tuesday, July 18, a Manhattan federal court judge rejected appropriation artist Richard Prince, Gagosian Gallery, and Larry Gagosian’s request to dismiss the copyright infringement lawsuit filed by photographer Donald Graham, Laura Gilbert of the Art Newspaper reports.

According to the suit, Graham claims that Prince used his photograph Rastafarian Smoking a Joint, 1996, without his consent. Prince incorporated the image into a work from his Instagram series for his “New Portraits” exhibition, which was held at Gagosian Gallery in New York in 2014.

Prince’s lawyers defended his work, Untitled, arguing that the artist’s use of Graham’s photograph was transformative, and therefore, qualifies as fair use. Judge Sidney Stein noted that Prince had cropped the original image and added comments below its subject, but then declared that “the primary image in both works is the photograph itself.” He added, “Prince has not materially altered the composition, presentation, scale, color palette, and media originally used by Graham.” Stein decided that he could not determine whether Prince’s piece added a new meaning to Graham’s work without consulting an expert in art criticism.

July 20, 2017

Tang Museum Awarded $160,000 in Grants

Karl Wirsum, Mighty Might in the Green Trunks (yellow trunks), 1968. Photo: Tang Musem

The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs has received two major grants totaling $160,000 from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and the Terra Foundation for American Art in support of the fall 2018 exhibition and catalogue “The Imagist Object: New Dimensions in Chicago Art, 1964–1980.”

On view at the Tang from September through December 2018, the exhibition will explore the sculptural work and dimensional paintings by Chicago Imagists, who invented their own kind of Pop art. The show is organized by Tang Museum director Ian Berry and Chicago-based curators John Corbett and Jim Dempsey, who together run Corbett vs. Dempsey Gallery.

The Terra Foundation for American Art has awarded $100,000 for the exhibition and catalogue as part of Art Design Chicago, a yearlong initiative in 2018 to explore Chicago’s role as a catalyst and incubator for innovations in art and design through exhibitions, publications, and public programs. The Andy Warhol Foundation gave $60,000 for the mounting of the exhibition.