• Officials from the NYC Parks department remove the monument dedicated to Dr. James Marion Sims from Central Park. Photo: Marcus Santos / New York Daily News.

    NYC to Commission New Work to Replace Controversial Public Monument

    New York City is currently seeking artists to design a new artwork to replace the controversial statue dedicated to J. Marion Sims, the nineteenth-century gynecologist once hailed as the “father of modern gynecology,” who was known for experimenting on enslaved black women. The monument, which was removed from its prominent location in Central Park, across from the New York Academy of Medicine, in April 2018, was the only public work that the city voted unanimously to take down.

    The city was prompted to reevaluate all of its public artworks following the white-supremacist rally that occurred in

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  • David Voyles. Photo: Libby Weiler.

    David Voyles Named Deputy Director of Smithsonian American Art Museum

    The Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM) in Washington, DC, has appointed David Voyles as its new deputy director. Voyles has held various positions with the Smithsonian for the last twenty-five years. Most recently, he had served as director of the office of planning, management, and budget since 2013. Voyles succeeds Rachel Allen, who retired after forty-five years with the museum.

    “David brings significant experience and skill in financial management and strategic planning to his new role as SAAM’s deputy director,” said director Stephanie Stebich. “His talents will strengthen SAAM’s management

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  • Hector Xtravaganza. Photo: Brent N. Clarke.

    Hector Xtravaganza (1958–2018)

    Hector Xtravaganza died on December 30, 2018. He was, among other things, an icon of New York City’s underground ballroom scene, an AIDS activist, and a consultant for FX’s acclaimed queer drama Pose. His death was revealed in a post by the House of Xtravaganza’s Instagram account. “It is with profound sadness [that we] announce the passing of our beloved Grandfather Hector,” it read. “He was a friend to everyone he met, a source of inspiration for all who knew him, and a cornerstone of our House family.” As a grandfather of the House of Xtravaganza—New York City’s first Latinx ballroom,

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  • The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, DC.

    Museums Close as US Government Shutdown Continues

    While the US government has been partially shut down for at least two weeks, as the lapse in government funding stretches on, museums and cultural institutions have been forced to shutter. Among the closures are all nineteen Smithsonian museums in New York and Washington, DC, including the National Museum of African American History and Culture; the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden; the National Air and Space Museum; the Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum; and the National Zoo. The National Gallery of Art is open today until 5 PM but will be closed starting tomorrow.

    Federal agencies

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  • Protest against Warren B. Kanders at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. Photo: Evan Siegel / The Daily Beast.

    Activists Call for Town Hall to Address Controversy over Whitney Museum Vice Chair’s Ties to Defense Company

    Decolonize This Place is calling for continued action against the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. The activist group organized a protest at the institution on December 9 after it learned that the vice chair of the Whitney’s board, Warren B. Kanders, is the owner and CEO of the weapons manufacturer Safariland, which produced tear-gas canisters used on asylum seekers at the US–Mexico border earlier this year.

    The group is currently planning on holding a town hall at 1 PM on January 26, at a location that has yet to be announced, where individuals will be allowed to express grievances

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  • Grażyna Kulczyk. Photo: Adam Pluciński.

    Collector Grażyna Kulczyk’s New Contemporary Art Museum Opens

    A new experimental arts space and museum dedicated to contemporary art and spearheaded by the Polish collector Grażyna Kulczyk has opened today in Susch, a town in the Swiss Alps with a population of only two hundred residents. Construction for the private institution, which is located on the remote site of a former twelfth-century monastery and nineteenth-century brewery, began in 2016, after the prominent arts patron’s plans to realize the project in both Poznań and then Warsaw fell through.

    Described as a “laboratory” and a place of contemplation, scientific research, and artistic interventions,

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  • Still of Kendrick Lamar’s “All The Stars.”

    Artist Lina Iris Viktor and Kendrick Lamar Resolve Legal Dispute over Black Panther Video

    The British Liberian artist Lina Iris Viktor, who filed a lawsuit against Kendrick Lamar in February alleging that the rapper and the singer SZA used her series “Constellations” without her permission in their video for “All the Stars,” one of the first songs on the Black Panther soundtrack, has agreed to settle.

    According to Viktor, representatives from Marvel Studios approached her repeatedly, asking for her consent to let them use images of her work to promote the superhero movie, which grossed more than $1 billion worldwide. “All the Stars” has since been nominated for four awards, including

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  • Phoenix Art Museum Gifted 112 Artworks by Contemporary Latin American Artists

    The Phoenix Art Museum announced that it has received a significant gift of contemporary Latin American artworks from arts patron Nicholas Pardon, cofounder of the SPACE Collection, which has the largest holdings of post-1990s abstract art from Latin America in the United States. The gift includes 112 artworks by forty-nine artists from fourteen countries, including Chile, Colombia, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Puerto Rico.

    “This transformative gift represents a milestone in the history of the Latin American art collection of Phoenix Art Museum,” said Vanessa Davidson, the museum’s curator

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  • Installation view of “One Moment in Time.”

    American Medium Gallery in Manhattan Shutters

    American Medium Gallery in Manhattan is closing its doors. The gallery’s three founders—Travis Fitzgerald, Josh Pavlacky, and Daniel Wallace, who launched the arts space in a Union Square loft in 2012 with an exhibition by Jon Rafman—made the announcement in an email, which linked to the song “Closing Time,” on Friday, December 28.

    Known for presenting works by young artists, the gallery opened its first permanent home in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn in 2014. Three years later, American Medium relocated to its current space on the third floor of 515 West Twentieth

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  • Top: Carla Aalse, Maarten Doorman, Homme ten Have. Below: Truze Lodder, Henriëtte Prast, and Jos van Rooijen.

    Stedelijk Museum Welcomes New Board Members

    The Municipality of Amsterdam has appointed four new members to the supervisory board of the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam: Carla Aalse, Henriëtte Prast, Maarten Doorman, and Homme ten Have. Truze Lodder, who was named temporary chair of the board in August and was tasked with guiding the institution as it faced backlash over the controversy that led to former director Beatrix Ruf’s departure, will remain at museum.

    Ruf resigned in October 2017 amid criticism over her decision to continue running an advisory business while helming the institution and for her lack of transparency regarding works

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  • Sister Wendy Beckett. Photo: Victoria Arocho.

    Sister Wendy Beckett (1930–2018)

    Sister Wendy Beckett, the Roman Catholic nun whose musings on art landed her in the spotlight of BBC national television (and provoked the ire of certain sectors of the art critical establishment), died on December 26 in East Harling, England, at the age of eighty-eight. After fifty years as a Catholic nun, she was catapulted into television stardom in the early 1990s by a happenstance encounter with a television crew who overheard her observations on art at an exhibition in Norfolk while waiting to film the feminist scholar Germaine Greer and asked to film her as well.

    Beckett’s commitment to

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  • The Mattress Factory in Pittsburgh.

    Mattress Factory Settles Complaint over Its Handling of Sexual Harassment Allegations

    The Mattress Factory in Pittsburgh has reached a settlement with a group of current and former employees who had filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) earlier this year over the contemporary art institution’s alleged mishandling of allegations of sexual misconduct.

    The institution first came under fire for its failure to address several accusations, ranging from verbal to physical abuse, against a former male staffer in May, after it informed its employees that it had concluded its investigation. Months after the first women came forward, the Mattress Factory notified

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