Week in Review: Senator Blocks Vote on Smithsonian Latinx and Women Museums; An Art Auction To Aid Displaced Armenians

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.

Americans for the Arts council members have called for senior executives to resign from the organization, accusing the nonprofit of failing to address racial equity and claims of harassment within the organization. “Questions from this council about AFTA’s racial equity work have been met with resistance, claims of capacity issues, and defensiveness,” says a letter signed by 14 out of 15 elected members of AFTA’s Arts Education Advisory Council.

Senator Mike Lee of Utah blocked the vote to establish Smithsonian institutions dedicated to Latinx cultures and women’s history.

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam’s proposed budget for 2021 includes $25 million to transform historical sites, including $11 million to redesign Monument Avenue in Richmond, the home of multiple Confederate Statues.

Hundreds of artists, academics, and writers — including 32 museum directors — called on the German parliament to reverse a resolution from 2019 that labels the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS) as “anti-Semitic.”

An online art auction is raising humanitarian aid for thousands of war-stricken Armenian families who were displaced following attacks led by Azerbaijani forces.

A new report published by the Center for an Urban Future reveals that New York City’s immigrant artists and immigrant-serving arts organizations were hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic.

A group of artists and cultural workers staged a protest coinciding with the Humboldt Forum’s reopening. They rallied to redirect government funding of the Humboldt Forum towards cultural decolonization initiatives.

The Vatican has unveiled an unconventional Nativity scene this year, featuring an astronaut and a Darth Vader-like figure that have prompted both criticism and fascination.

Ukraine wants to designate Chernobyl a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Holocaust survivors, Jewish studies scholars, and directors of Jewish and Holocaust museums worldwide signed a petition condemning the proposed appointment of Effi Eitam, a far-right Israeli former politician, to chair Israel’s Holocaust museum, Yad Vashem.

An Yves Tanguy painting, worth approximately $340,000, was left behind by a traveler at Düsseldorf Airport and ended up in the garbage.

See the Hanukkah treasures in the public collections of New York City museums.

Awards & Accolades

The New York City Department of Cultural Affairs will distribute $47.1 million in grants to more than 1,000 cultural nonprofits. | Hyperallergic

Small US museums, including the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art in New York, the California African American Museum in Los Angeles, and the Fabric Workshop and Museum in Philadelphia, were awarded relief grants by the Mellon Foundation. | Hyperallergic

The Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture awarded $12 million in relief grants to local cultural organizations. | Hyperallergic

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has announced $32.8 million in grants to support 213 humanities projects in 44 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. | NEH

Transitions

Alyssa Nitchun was appointed director of the Leslie-Lohman Museum. | New York Times

Howard Smith is now represented by Jane Lombard Gallery.

Guillaume Kientz has been named director of the Hispanic Society Museum & Library. | New York Times

In Memoriam

Dorothy Gill Barnes (1927-2020), sculptor | New York Times

Harold Budd (1936-2020), composer and pianist | New York Times

Michael Cridland (1932–2020), artist and Syracuse University professor | Syracuse

Tatsuo Ikeda (1928–2020), avante-garde artist | ARTnews

Kim Ki-duk (1960-2020), filmmaker | New York Times

Amy Lipton (1956–2020), curator, gallerist, and environmental activist | Artforum

Charley Pride (1934–2020), country musician | Tennessean

Sven Sachsalber (1987-2020), conceptual artist | ARTnews

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