• Keijaun Thomas, I Looked Up at the Sky and I, Imagined All of the Stars Were My Sisters, 2020. Photo: Charles Rice.

    Keijaun Thomas Awarded Queer|Art’s First Illuminations Grant for Black Trans Women Visual Artists

    New York–based nonprofit Queer|Art has announced Keijaun Thomas as the recipient of its inaugural Illuminations Grant for Black Trans Women Visual Artists. Thomas, who lives and works in New York, will receive a $10,000 cash grant as well as support from members of the judges’ panel, who will make individual visits to her studio. The award, the first of its kind, is aimed at correcting the exclusion of Black trans women artists from the larger art canon while opening a path for others.

    Thomas, a multidisciplinary artist, was selected from among seventeen applicants from across the country by a

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  • Sarah Meister. Photo: Naima Green.

    Sarah Meister, MoMA Photography Curator, Departs to Lead Aperture Foundation

    Sarah Meister, a longtime photography curator at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, has been tapped to lead the Aperture Foundation, the storied photography nonprofit. The appointment comes after a year-long search to replace executive director Chris Boot, who after ten years at the helm is relocating to his native England.

    Since its 1952 founding in San Francisco by eminent photographers including Ansel Adams, Dorothea Lange, and Minor White, Aperture has been a major force in shaping discourse in the field, currently publishing monographs and a quarterly magazine and programming events and

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  • Joe Biden. Photo: Eric Haynes.

    Mayors Call for Federal Response to US Arts Crisis

    The mayors of ten major US cities have penned a letter to the Biden-Harris administration asking it to take an integrated federal approach to supporting the arts. In their missive, the mayors noted that the September unemployment rate for those in the arts ranged from roughly three to six times that of the overall national unemployment rate of 8.5 percent, according to the National Endowment of the Arts.

    The mayors who signed the letter are London Breed, San Francisco; Lori Lightfoot, Chicago; Eric Garcetti, Los Angeles; Jenny Durkan, Seattle; Kate Gallego, Phoenix; David Martin, Stamford, CT;

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  • Leon Black. Photo: Apollo Global Management.

    MoMA Chair Leon Black to Depart as CEO of Apollo Following Probe into Epstein Ties

    Leon Black, chairman of the board of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, is stepping down from his role as CEO of private equity firm Apollo Global Management, reports the Wall Street Journal. His departure from the multibillion-dollar entity follows an independent investigation into his financial ties to disgraced sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, who killed himself in prison in 2019.

    The investigation, which was conducted at Black’s behest by law firm Dechert LLP, found no evidence of wrongdoing but did uncover $158 million in payments from Black to Epstein between 2012 and 2017, as well as $30

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  • Centre Pompidou. Photo: Michel Denancé/Renzo Piano Building Workshop.

    Centre Pompidou to Close for Four Years in 2023

    The Centre Pompidou in Paris, which houses Europe’s largest collection of contemporary art, is to close for renovations in 2023, remaining shuttered until 2027, French culture minister Roselyne Bachelot announced today. The news is not wholly unexpected, as government officials had said back in September that the iconic building, designed by Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers and opened in 1977, was in severe need of restoration, which is currently projected to cost roughly $243 million.

    “There were two options,” Bachelot told Italian newspaper Le Figaro of the decision to close the Pompidou for four

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  • The San Francisco Art Institute.

    San Francisco Art Institute Board Chair Resigns

    The San Francisco Art Institute on Friday announced that Pam Rorke Levy is stepping down as chairwoman of the board. She will be succeeded by photographer Lonnie Wilson, an SFAI alum. Levy’s departure from the post she has held since 2018 follows a turbulent year that saw the prestigious 150-year-old institution struggle with declining enrollment, expansion-incurred debt, and the Covid-19 pandemic.

    “I feel I can step back,” said Levy in a statement first published in the New York Times. She expressed confidence in the institution, noting that new leadership and successful debt-restructuring

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  • Barry Le Va installing a glass sculpture at Documenta, 1972. Photo: David Nolan Gallery.

    Barry Le Va (1941–2021)

    Barry Le Va, a leading practitioner of Process, post-Minimal, and post-studio art whose sculptures and installations investigated the order of chaos and vice versa, has died at age seventy-nine, according to New York’s David Nolan Gallery, which represents the California-born artist. Gaining renown in the 1960s with innovative sculptures that he called “distributions,” in which a variety of materials were dispersed on the floor, Le Va was seemingly influenced more by mystery novels than by traditional art history, and helped redefine the medium of sculpture through his explorations of procedure,

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  • Laura Domencic. Photo: Erie Art Museum.

    Laura Domencic Named Executive Director of Erie Art Museum

    Arts consultant and curator Laura Domencic has been appointed executive director of the Erie Art Museum, Pennsylvania. The Pittsburgh native will assume her new role on February 8, replacing interim director Pam Masi, who had occupied the post since March, following the hasty January exit of executive director Joshua Helmer. Helmer had been with the institution for less than two years before allegations that he had behaved inappropriately toward female colleagues at the museum and at the Philadelphia Art Museum, where he had previously worked as an associate curator, caught up with him, forcing

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  • Moscow’s Komsomolskaya Square. Photo: Wikipedia.

    Hundreds of Moscow Artist Studios to Be Razed by Government

    The Moscow Union of Artists (MUA) has said that more than seven hundred Moscow-based artists are facing eviction and the destruction of their workspaces by the Russian government, according to a report in The Art Newspaper. Moscow owns about a thousand studios, most of which are located in “Khrushchyovka” residential buildings scattered throughout the capital; the spaces are leased at no cost by MUA as part of a now-defunct Soviet-era artist-training program. Of these, some five hundred are slated to be bulldozed, forcing the artists who occupy them—some of whom have held their leases for

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  • Antwaun Sargent. Photo: Darius Garvin/Gagosian.

    Gagosian Names Critic Antwaun Sargent Director, Curator

    Blue-chip megagallery Gagosian has announced critic Antwaun Sargent as its newest director, the New York Times reports. Sargent, who will be based in New York, joins some thirty directors across the gallery’s seventeen outposts, which additionally occupy space in Los Angeles, London, Paris, Geneva, Athens, Rome, and Hong Kong. His first show for Gagosian, to take place later this year at the gallery’s West Twenty-Fourth Street location, will center on themes of what he has called “notions of Black space.”

    Sargent, 32, has spent the past decade writing for the New Yorker, the New York Times, and

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  • Art Basel in 2019. Photo: Art Basel.

    Art Basel Postponed from June to September

    Art Basel, the preeminent global contemporary art fair, has announced that it is pushing its 2021 flagship iteration from June 17–20 to September 23–26 owing to the continuing Covid-19 crisis. The decision echoes that taken in 2020, at the beginning of the pandemic, when the fair similarly postponed that year’s Swiss edition from June to September, ultimately canceling the event altogether and offering a digital experience instead.

    “The decision was made after extensive discussions and analysis in consultation with gallerists and collectors, as well as external experts, putting foremost the health

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  • Robert S. Duncanson, Landscape with Rainbow, 1859, oil on canvas, 30 × 52".

    Robert S. Duncanson Painting Presented to Biden Administration

    Following his inauguration this morning as the forty-sixth president of the United States, Joe Biden was presented by Republican Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri with a painting by Robert S. Duncanson, a prominent Black painter of the Hudson River School. The presentation of the work, Landscape with Rainbow, 1859, which is on loan from the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, DC, took place during a gift-giving ceremony in the Capitol Rotunda. The event replaced the congressional luncheon that traditionally follows the inauguration ceremony but was forgone this year owing to the continuing

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