This Week’s 10 Most Important Art News Stories

Artsy Editorial
Dec 11, 2015 11:17PM

Catch up on the latest art news with our rundown of the 10 stories you need to know this week.


This year’s Turner Prize winner is direct action collective Assemble, which received the prestigious prize for their use of art and design in collaboration with Granby Four Streets in Toxteth, Liverpool to improve the lives of residents as well as the buildings in an effort to address urban decay. The 18 members of the collective are the first “non-artists,” the first collective, and the youngest (with an age range of 26 to 29) to win the Turner prize. (via The Guardian)


Marc Porter is leaving his post as chairman of Christie’s Americas to join Sotheby’s in a high-ranking business role yet to be revealed. The move comes as a surprise, as Porter has been at Christie’s for 25 years—though he attributes his decision to recent reorganization at the auction house. “I did not want to go back to just being the chairman in the U.S. I liked the complexity of this other job,” he told the New York Times about his transition from international head of private sales at Christie’s to its U.S. chairman earlier this year. He will start at Sotheby’s in 2017 due to a noncompete clause. (via the New York Times)


Boston’s Institute of Contemporary Art is receiving a gift of works by female artists valued at $42 million from collector Barbara Lee. The 20 works are by 12 different artists and are joining the 43 works already part of the Barbara Lee Collection of Art by Women. The gift is the largest in value in the institution’s history. (via the New York Times)


New York resident Justin Renel Joseph is suing the Metropolitan Museum of Art, accusing the museum of racial discrimination due to the display of paintings that feature blond, Caucasian depictions of Jesus. The case relies on the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which forbids discrimination by institutions that are “public accommodations.” Joseph specifically targets paintings by Sebastiano Ricci, Tintoretto, and Francesco Granacci—the Met responds with assertions of the historic and artistic importance of the paintings. (via the New York Post)


On the occasion of its fifty-year anniversary, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) has announced that it will be giving $27.7 million to 1,126 different projects across the U.S. Of the total, over $26 million will be awarded through its Art Works grant program.  (via Artforum)


The Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) is holding stolen artworks for ransom, asking over $50 million from the Dutch Embassy. Netherland’s Westfries Museum in Hoorn believe the works are the 24 Dutch masterworks that were stolen from the institution a decade ago. Negotiations are ongoing, with the militant group asking well above market price for the works. (via the Observer)


The Center for Persecuted Art opened in Solingen, Germany this week, after years of planning. Showcasing artists who were persecuted or banned under the Nazi and GDR regimes, the museum borrowed works by Kurt Schwitters and Paul Klee, among others, from Gerhard Schneider’s collection for its inaugural exhibition, which opened on Tuesday. (via artnet News)


Vito Schnabel will be opening his first permanent gallery space in St. Moritz, Switzerland, at the end of this year. The dealer, son of artist and filmmaker Julian Schnabel, had his curatorial debut at 16. Schnabel’s gallery will be housed in the space formerly occupied by Galerie Bruno Bischofberger. (via The Wall Street Journal)


The exhibition “Andy Warhol | Ai Weiwei” opened today at the National Gallery of Victoria, revealing Ai’s highly anticipated Letgo Room (2015), which depicts 20 Australian political activists with the Lego blocks donated from his supporters across the globe after Lego refused to supply the artist with his bulk order (as well as knock-offs from China). The work, composed of over two million Legos, will be on view as a part of the exhibition through April 24th. (via The Guardian)


Antiquities dealer Leonardo A. Patterson has been found guilty by a court in Munich of possessing looted artifacts and selling fakes. Patterson has been investigated by multiple countries and accused of numerous crimes, though until now had only been convicted of lesser infractions. The German court fined the 73-year-old $40,000, sentenced him to house arrest and probation for three years, confiscated his passport, and required him to return two ancient Olmec carvings to Mexico. Peruvian, Mexican, and Ecuadorian officials are also in the midst of pursuing claims against Patterson, accusing him of having hundreds of stolen artifacts in his more than 1,029-work Aztec, Mayan, and Olmec art collection. (via the New York Times)

Make your weekend plans with our preview of exhibitions on view in cities across the globe.

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Jenna Gribbon, Luncheon on the grass, a recurring dream, 2020. Jenna Gribbon, April studio, parting glance, 2021. Jenna Gribbon, Silver Tongue, 2019