Week in Review: Activists and MoMA Clash Over Protest; National Gallery Lays Off Retail Staff

Week in Review is a weekly collection of news, developments, and stirrings in the art world. Subscribe to receive these posts as a weekly newsletter.

Museums

Security staff at the Museum of Modern Art in New York clashed with activists during the latest action in the “Strike MoMA” campaign last Friday. Hyperallergic has an on-the-ground report of the demonstration as well as an in-depth analysis of the museum and protesters’ conflicting narratives, with activists pushing back against MoMA’s characterization of the protest as “violent,” for which the museum has not provided any evidence.

The National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC laid off its entire retail division last month, leaving more than two dozen employees without a job.

Supporting Diverse Artists

A group of high school student artists from NYC are showing their work at the Metropolitan Museum of Art as part of the museum’s Scholastic Art & Writing Awards: New York City Regional Exhibition.

A new emergency grant for artists with disabilities will provide $1,000 cash grants to qualified applicants in NYC who have experienced hardship during the COVID-19 crisis.

A new, 3,500-square-foot exhibition space for the Carl & Marilynn Thoma Foundation in Santa Fe, New Mexico, will be dedicated to virtual and new media art.

In Other News

Germany has announced plans to return the Benin Bronzes in its museums to Nigeria starting next year. The artifacts were looted by British soldiers in the 1890s.

The Cuban dissident artist Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara was forcibly hospitalized by government officials in Havana on the seventh day of his hunger and thirst strike protesting state harassment of artists.

A rock featuring ancient Indigenous petroglyphs in Utah was defaced by an unknown vandal, who etched the racist phrase “white power” and other obscenities on the famous “Birthing Rock” boulder in Moab. 

Awards & Accolades

The Terra Foundation has awarded $2.5 Million to 35 US art orgs for permanent collection projects, including the Brooklyn Museum and El Museo del Barrio in New York; the Baltimore Museum of Art; and Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art in Chicago.

The National Gallery of Canada has announced the 25 artists longlisted for the 2021 Sobey Art Award. | National Gallery of Canada

Transitions

The Skirball Cultural Center has appointed Sheri Bernstein as its new Museum Director.

Kelly Kivland was appointed Chief Curator and Director of Exhibitions at the Wexner Center for the Arts.

Peter Eleey was appointed Curator-at-Large at Beijing’s UCCA Center for Contemporary Art.

Alejandro Cardenas is now represented by Almine Rech.

In Memoriam

Eli Broad (1933–2021), founder of Broad Museum | Los Angeles Times

Selma Gürbüz (1960–2021), Turkish artist | ArtAsiaPacific

Patrick O’Connell (1953-2021), founding director of Visual AIDS | NYT

James Prigoff (1927-2021), street art photographer | NYT

Frank Schlesinger (1925-2021), architect | Washington Post

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