News Register for our weekly news digest here.

  • Dimitri Ozerkov in 2012. Photo: Valerij Ledenev/Flickr.

    Hermitage Museum’s Contemporary Art Chief Quits over Russia’s War in Ukraine

    Dimitri Ozerkov, who since 2007 has led the contemporary art department at the State Hermitage Museum in Moscow, has stepped down from his role there in protest of Russia’s violent and continued invasion of Ukraine. Ozerkov announced his departure in an October 2 Instagram post, featuring a manipulated image of a glowing airplane emergency exit sign, in which he averred that he was leaving because “I don’t intend to have anything in common with today’s Russia.”

    Ozerkov revealed that he made the decision to leave in March, shortly after Russia began its aggressive foray into Ukraine, and in the

    Read more
  • The curatorial team for Sonsbeek 20–24.

    Sonsbeek Artistic Director, Curators Resign over “Unbearable” Working Conditions

    Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung, artistic director of the Arnhem, Netherlands, outdoor sculpture biennial Sonsbeek 20–24, and the event’s cocurators announced that they would depart their posts en masse November 1, citing working conditions that they described in a letter to the organizing foundation’s board as “precarious and ultimately unbearable.” According to Dutch daily NRC, Ndikung and his team claim they were for three years subjected to sexism and institutional racism, as well as poor treatment by management, and that both Sonsbeek officials and the board ignored their repeatedly stated

    Read more
  • London’s Victoria & Albert Museum. Photo: Alinangel/Wikipedia Commons.

    Victoria & Albert Museum Finally Removes Sackler Name

    London’s Victoria & Albert Museum last week became the latest major arts institution to strip the Sackler name from its walls, yielding to years of activist pressure. The Guardian reports that the museum had expunged the tainted name from its education center and from a courtyard, and that it will work to remove it from other less prominent spaces within its walls. The V&A early this summer reached a mutual agreement with the descendants of Mortimer D. Sackler to remove the name and sever financial ties with their longtime benefactors owing to that branch of the Sackler family’s connections to

    Read more
  • Unionized staff rally in front of the Brooklyn Museum on September 28. Photo: Brooklyn Museum Union.

    Unionized Brooklyn Museum Workers Rally in Support of a Fair Contract

    Unionized staff of the Brooklyn Museum on September 28 staged a two-hour rally in front of the institution in an effort to bring awareness to their demands for a fair contract from museum management. The workers, who assembled across the plaza that sits in front of the museum’s main entrance, timed their gathering to coincide with an evening open house celebrating the opening of the institution’s freshly restored Islamic and Asian art galleries. According to The Art Newspaper, many visitors swerved to avoid engaging the demonstrators as they entered the museum.

    “We’re rallying, hoping to bring

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

    UCCA Beijing Forced to Pull Painting of Kamikazes

    The UCCA Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing removed a painting by Beijing-based artist Li Songsong depicting a group of youthful Japanese kamikaze pilots under orders from local government, Art Asia Pacific reports. 

    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

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

    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