New York City’s Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA) engaged 188,000 New Yorkers—via focus groups, phone surveys, and hundreds of community events—in order to compile its brief, released Monday. The report, titled “What We Heard,” provides a glimpse as to what will likely be included in the cultural plan (due to be released in early July), spanning commitments to equitably distributed funding, better disabled access, and affordable living for artists. “What We Heard” includes insight into New Yorkers’ cultural habits and perceptions and lays out a list of policy proposals. The findings reveal the robust health and value of the arts in New York, while also showing that issues of inequality and affordability are indeed felt in the cultural sector—an imbalance the cultural plan hopes to mitigate.
05 The trust of Elizabeth Taylor is suing Christie’s, claiming that the auction house improperly canceled the sale of one of the late actress’s diamonds.
Christie’s sold the diamond, consigned by Taylor’s trust, for $8.8 million in 2011. The auction house promoted the gemstone’s supposed history for the sale, stating it was once owned by the Indian emperor who built the Taj Mahal. However, there are doubts Indian royalty ever owned the work. After discovering this uncertain provenance, the buyer of the piece demanded that Christie’s cancel the sale and repay him—which the auction house did. But Taylor’s trust is calling the reversal “unwarranted” and has refused to return the millions to Christie’s, arguing that the object was listed simply as an “Indian diamond” in the catalogue (although representatives for the auction house did elsewhere claim a royal history). In the suit, the trust further alleges that the proceeds of several separate sales have not been transferred and notes that they are seeking the missing money or return of the objects.
06 The row over a Harper’s Bazaar jacket-decorating party continues with news of three additional allegedly stolen patch designs.
On May 7th, a spokesperson for bi-annual erotic zine Leste
accused organizers of a Harper’s Bazaar
jacket-decorating party of co-opting a design by their editor Sara Sutterlin without permission or initial compensation, Jezebel reported
at the time. Now, three other artists say their designs were also made into patches without permission. Emma McIlroy, of the fashion brand Wildfang, offered to sell Harper’s
several designs, including a pin emblazoned with the words “WILD FEMINIST” (the magazine declined this design, though paid for others). Photos of the event, however, show that the design appeared in the party as a patch, a product McIlroy does not offer. A Harper’s
marketing associate informed McIlroy that the patch had been “created inadvertently by an intern” and offered compensation. McIlroy declined, asking instead that a public apology be made on social media, a demand Harper’s
representatives say they are unable to fulfill. Two more artists—Lotte Andersen and Madison Kramer—have come forward, accusing Harper’s
of stealing their designs. Neither Harper’s
nor its publisher Hearst have yet responded to these latest accusations.
07 Abby Bangser, currently Frieze’s artistic director for the Americas and Asia, is leaving the fair to join the Dia Art Foundation.
(via Dia Art Foundation)
Bangser will serve in the newly created leadership role of Deputy Director of Strategic Initiatives when she takes up the post in July. According to a statement, Bangser will “advance the strategic priorities of the institution and serve as the main liaison for Dia
’s sites around the United States and beyond.” The departure from Frieze, where Bangser liaised with galleries and collectors, comes as the New York edition of the fair saw staid returns earlier this month, though there is no indication Bangser’s transition is a direct result. Many of the galleries under Frieze’s white tent on Randall’s Island who saw significant returns this year had, in fact, pre-sold much of their booths. For galleries relying on sustained foot traffic to generate sales, the relatively out-of-the way fair has always proved challenging—and matters were not helped this year when fierce rains forced the fair’s early closure on the Friday of its four-day run.
08 Publisher Françoise Nyssen has been appointed as France’s new culture minister.
Nyssen, of the Arles-based publishing house Actes Sud, will become the first publisher to occupy the post. Her appointment was announced earlier this week by France’s recently elected President Emmanuel Macron. Through Actes Sun, Nyssen—a Commander in the Order of Arts and Letters—has published novels by Stieg Larsson and Nobel Prize-winner Svetlana Alexievich, as well as books on artists such as
. With her husband, she established the cultural organization Association du Méjan and the École Domaine du Possible, a school for children neglected by the French educational system. Reception to Nyssen’s appointment has been generally optimistic, especially among artists she has worked with in the past. “I hope she’ll have the means to create a visionary cultural policy that gives a social link in a divided and bruised country,” said French conceptual artist
, who believes Nyssen will help create a stronger policy dialogue with artists.
09 Twelve art museums will receive $1.87 million in grants from the Knight Foundation, in order to develop immersive visitor experiences through technology.
The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation made the announcement Thursday. The institutions—including the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, the Akron Art Museum, the New Museum
, and the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami
—were selected from a pool of more than 100 applicants. From chatbots to 3D printing, each project works to incorporate digital tools into the museum experience. “People want those experiences to be personalized, interactive and shareable, just as they experience their daily lives,” said the foundation’s president, Alberto Ibargüen. The Detroit Institute of Arts, for example, will receive $150,000 to further develop an augmented reality tour of their collection—allowing visitors to explore the way their eyes process color in ’s
paintings or the symbolism of ’s
monumental mural at the institution.
10 Ahead of the U.K.’s general election on June 8th, the Labour Party has promised to invest £1 billion in arts and culture funding as part of its platform.
Released Tuesday, the manifesto would allow for £200 million annually over five years to go towards upgrading “cultural and creative infrastructure.” Specific cultural policies outlined in the 128-page document include a widening of access to the Government Art Collection, which curates artworks in major U.K. government buildings, and an additional £160 million diverted to primary school arts education.Recent polls
put Labour at a 17-point deficit to Prime Minister Theresa May’s leading Conservative Party, which also released its manifesto this week. Matt Hancock, the U.K. minister for digital and culture, criticized Labour’s bold pledges and promising to ensure Brexit negotiations
under the Conservatives would provide “the best possible Brexit deal” for the arts.