This Week’s 10 Most Important Art News Stories
Catch up on the latest art news with our rundown of the 10 stories you need to know this week.
Anti-Renoir protestors at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Photo via @renoir_sucks_at_painting.
MoMA PS1 has announced the artist list for this year’s edition of “Greater New York”, set to open October 11th. Curated by Douglas Crimp alongside MoMA staff, the fourth iteration of the quinquennial exhibition will include over 120 artists and collectives. The museum has also announced that, thanks to a donation from the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Foundation, admission will be free for New York City residents for the next year. (via artnet News, ARTnews)
Sotheby’s New York has announced that La Gommeuse (1901), Pablo Picasso’s “finest” Blue Period artwork to go to auction in decades, will be available at its Impressionist & Modern Art evening sale in New York on November 5th. Prior to that, the painting will have a public viewing in London during Frieze week (October 10th to 15th), before it heads to New York for display beginning October 30th. (via Sotheby’s)
Amid a relatively cautious Asian art market, Sotheby’s remarkable five-day Hong Kong sale exceeded expectations, fetching $344 million for the Asian art and jewelry on offer, with two of the auctions selling 100% of their lots. An 18th-century portrait by Giuseppe Castiglione led the sale, bringing in HK$137.4 million—more than double the estimate. (via Bloomberg)
Protesters gathered outside the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston this week to demand that the institution remove works by French Impressionist Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Spearheaded by Max Geller, the R.S.A.P. (“Renoir Sucks At Painting”) movement maintains that the presence of Renoir’s works in any institution amounts to “aesthetic terrorism.” A spokesperson for the museum has stated that the six paintings and two sculptures by the artist will not be taken down. (via the New York Times)
Continuing their destruction of ancient buildings in the Syrian city of Palmyra, Islamic State militants have demolished a group of triumphal arches built in the second century by the Romans. Known as the triple arch, the structure is the third significant ruin in the city to have been blown up by the militants, who claim the structures are idolatrous. The first two were ancient temples and the arches have no religious significance. (via the New York Times)
At Sotheby’s New York on Wednesday, Robert Mapplethorpe’s controversial photograph Man in Polyester Suit (1980) exceeded its presale estimate of $250,000-350,000, selling for $478,000. Part of the “X Portfolio” series, the artwork depicts Milton Moore, the artist’s lover, in a three-piece suit with his genitalia visible. (via artnet News)
Following years of uncertainty, it has been confirmed that Syrian cartoonist Akram Raslan is dead. The artist was arrested in 2012 after publishing cartoons critical of the regime of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad. According to an eyewitness, Raslan was tortured while in military custody and died in a prison hospital in 2013. (via Hyperallergic)
Nathan Clements-Gillespie has been named the new director of London’s Art16 fair following the abrupt departure of Kate Bryan, who served at the post for only 10 months. Clements-Gillepsie comes to Art16 from his current position as director of external affairs at Rome’s Museum of Contemporary Art. (via The Art Newspaper)
The Armory Show has announced that this year’s Focus section, which will spotlight African art, will feature Kapwani Kiwanga as the Commissioned Artist. Kiwanga, whose interdisciplinary practice involves video, performance, and sound, will produce a site-specific work for the fair, create a limited edition piece and help to design the catalog. (via the New York Times)
After returning to China from his first international trip in four years, Ai Weiwei found what he believes to be listening devices concealed in his studio. The artist was in London for his Royal Academy of Arts exhibition and has posted photos and videos of one of the devices. (via the Independent)