Week in Review: Columbia Students File Class-action Lawsuit; LA Museums Can Now Reopen

Organizing at Universities

On November 4, Columbia University graduate arts students filed a class-action lawsuit against the university to recover damages suffered during the pandemic, including tuition for the spring 2020 semester.

Changes in the New School’s healthcare plan have largely affected workers at Parsons School of Design. More than 600 part-time faculty at the New School in New York City have signed a petition denouncing “skyrocketing healthcare costs” amid cost-cutting measures related to the COVID-19 crisis.

Combatting Anti-Asian Racism

Cultural institutions, including the Museum of Chinese in America and Museum of Jewish Heritage, have released statements responding to and reflecting on the Anti-Asian hate crime in Atlanta on March 16.

Stop DiscriminAsian (SDA), a coalition of art workers that documents the upsurge in racism and violence against people of Asian descent since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, urged museums “to also look within their own walls and find ways of directly supporting their employees of Asian descent, instead of choosing to speak to their majority white audiences through these nonbinding statements.”

Art Museums

Tenants of art collector and real estate investor Gerald Fineberg staged a pop-up exhibit and rally at the Institute of Contemporary Art Boston, where he serves as a board member, to protest poor conditions and evictions in properties owned by his realty firm. 

A new artist-activist coalition named the International Imagination of Anti-National Anti-Imperialist Feelings (IIAAF) announced a 10-week “strike” against MoMA starting April 9.

After a year of closure, Los Angeles museums have been allowed to reopen at 25% capacity with heightened safety protocols.

Archaeology

The noises of a massive, 18,000-year-old conch shell from the Upper Paleolithic Marsoulas cave society were reproduced and published online.

You can nominate an at-risk site to join the World Monuments Fund’s 2022 watchlist for places impacted by climate change, underrepresented heritage, and imbalanced tourism.

In Other News

The Dark Mofo art festival in Australia has canceled a project by artist Santiago Sierra which intended to douse the British flag in “First Nations blood.”

Photographer David Alan Harvey resigned from the agency Magnum following allegations of sexual harassment and child exploitation; an independent investigation found his actions “a breach of Magnum’s Code of Conduct.”

An immersive installation in New York reimagines the bedtime classic Goodnight Moon.

Eleven early artworks by Yayoi Kusama, given by the artist to her New York doctor in the 1960s, are estimated to fetch between $8.8 and $14 million at Bonhams this May.

Awards & Accolades

  • Chicago organization A Long Walk Home was named the inaugural recipient of the Art & Advocacy Residency by Weinberg/Newton Gallery.

Transitions

  • Louis Grachos has resigned as executive director of the Palm Springs Art Museum. | Los Angeles Times
  • Eric L. Motley was appointed deputy director of the National Gallery of Art. | NGA
  • Naudline Pierre is now represented by James Cohan gallery. | James Cohan
  • Nadim Sheiban will step down as director of Jerusalem’s Museum of Islamic Art. | Haaretz

In Memoriam

  • Paul Brock (1932–2021), founding executive director of the National Association of Black Journalists | Philly Tribune
  • Amaranth Ehrenhalt (1928–2021), Abstract Expressionist | New York Times
  • Paul Jackson (1947–2021), jazz-funk bassist | New York Times
  • Gary Leib (1955–2021), musician and illustrator | Pitchfork
  • Jessica McClintock (1930–2021), fashion designer | Vogue
  • Hugh Newell Jacobsen (1929–2021), modernist architect | New York Times

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