On Friday, a federal court ruled against artist David Pulphus and Democratic Missouri Congressman William Lacy Clay. The congressman had filed a First Amendment lawsuit to immediately rehang the work after the Architect of the Capitol (the government office which oversees that building), took it down in January. Painted by Pulphus while he was a high school student in Missouri, the painting depicts a scene of civil unrest in Ferguson, which erupted in 2014 following the police killing of unarmed African-American teenager Michael Brown. While hailed by some critics as a thoughtful and powerful work, Pulphus’s portrayal of law enforcement as warthogs—with one officer pointing a gun at an unarmed protester—drew ire from conservatives. Republican representatives repeatedly took the piece down without authorization, before successfully filing for its official removal. “We are obviously disappointed by the judge’s ruling,” said Leah J. Tulin, one of the attorneys representing Pulphus and Clay. The pair will appeal the judgement.
06 Three months after joining Sotheby’s, Marc Porter is returning to Christie’s to serve as chairman of Christie’s Americas.
Although Porter left Christie’s in December 2015, the terms of his one-year noncompete clause kept him from immediately assuming his new role at Sotheby’s. Then, in a surprising move that rearranged the upper echelons of the auction house, Sotheby’s acquired Art Agency, Partners (AAP) in January 2016. As a result of this acquisition, the status of chairman was spread between multiple staffers, including Porter. In January 2017, Porter joined the Fine Art Division of Sotheby’s—created following the acquisition of AAP—as chairman. He would not stay at Sotheby’s long; Christie’s announced Porter’s return on Wednesday. Porter will resume the post he held when leaving the auction house in 2015, with additional responsibilities that will see him report directly to CEO Guillaume Cerutti (who replaced Patricia Barbizet in January). Porter did not sign a noncompete agreement with Sotheby’s and will take up his post soon.
07 Heritage groups in a southern French town have successfully lobbied to ensure that a newly discovered Roman mosaic will not be permanently relocated.
Last year, local authorities in Uzès purchased a parcel of land on which to construct a boarding school. During preliminary excavations of the site, archeologists unearthed
a portion of the ancient Roman city of Ucetia—previously known only by name. Their most significant discovery was that of a well-preserved floor mosaic, which has now been transferred to nearby Nîmes for cleaning, conservation, and study. Local groups were concerned that the
might never return to Uzès and launched an online petition; since then, the authorities have publicly stated that after conservation is complete (a roughly two-year process) the mosaic will return to the town and be presented to the public.
08 Thomas Heatherwick’s London Garden Bridge faces mismanagement, funding challenges, and possible abandonment.
A report by Member of Parliament Margaret Hodge recommends abandoning ’s
costly London Garden Bridge, which has used £37.4 million of public money, if private funds cannot be raised. Heatherwick, who is no stranger to controversial, large-scale public art
, designed the greenway to link central London’s Temple neighborhood to the city’s south bank. London mayor Sadiq Khan commissioned Hodge to determine the project’s return on investment. In her report, she found a number of budgetary issues, as well as indication that former mayor Boris Johnson had unfairly influenced selection of the project’s designer and engineering company. Hodge reported that initial cost estimates ballooned from £60 million to more than £200 million. A representative of Khan’s office confirmed, “The mayor has been absolutely clear that he will not spend any more of London taxpayers’ funds on the Garden Bridge.”
09 Peggy Guggenheim’s great-grandchildren claim that an exhibition at the Guggenheim in New York violates the collector’s wishes.
The charge centers on the museum
’s current exhibition, “Visionaries: Creating a Modern Guggenheim,” which includes 21 works from the Peggy Guggenheim Collection
in Venice. According to three great-grandchildren, the collector stipulated that none of the works on view in the Italian city should be moved between Easter and November 1st, ensuring the collection would be in full view during peak tourist season. Though this term was outlined in a 1969 letter (and appears in several subsequent documents), the Guggenheim Foundation argues that the legally binding document is instead a 1976 “deed of gift”—which does not prevent the transfer of works from Venice during tourist season. The accusation is the latest in a long-running feud between family members descended from Peggy Guggenheim’s daughter, Pegeen Vail, and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation. They have filed several unsuccessful lawsuits in France alleging mismanagement on the Foundation’s part, with judges consistently rejecting the allegations on the grounds that the 1976 deed does, in fact, govern the donation. Other members of the family, including those descended from Guggenheim’s son—sole heir and executor of the estate—have not joined these suits.
10 CEO May Xue has left Beijing’s Ullens Center for Contemporary Art as the museum seeks a buyer.
Xue joined in 2008 as director of the museum’s gift shop, becoming CEO in 2011. The Art Newspaper
reported she will move to the K11 Art Foundation, citing sources close to both institutions. The Ullens Center
has been seeking a buyer since last June and Xue’s departure is one in a string of high-profile losses for the museum. Ullens Center director Philip Tinari, COO Ada Zhang, and deputy director You Yang are still on staff. Last month the a spokesperson for the center said it was “in advanced stages of discussion with a number of potential buyers and the talks are progressing well,” in response to a rumor that Taikang Insurance was in the final stages of negotiations to buy it.