This Week’s 10 Most Important Art News Stories

Artsy Editorial
Oct 2, 2015 10:20PM

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

Spiral jetty, 1970
Repetto Gallery


The 2015 MacArthur ‘Genius Grant’ Awardees have been announced. Painter Nicole Eisenman and photographer and video artist LaToya Ruby Frazier were the only contemporary visual artists of the 24 winners selected this year. (via the New York Times) 


For the first time since the Rome Statute went into effect in 2002, a person is being charged with war crimes that relate to cultural destruction by the International Criminal Court. Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi allegedly directed attacks on 10 religious and historic monuments in Timbuktu, Mali in 2012. (via the Art Newspaper) 


Dia Art Foundation director Jessica Morgan announced that plans for a new outpost in Manhattan have been stopped. Instead, Morgan is focusing on re-establishing the foundation’s presence in Chelsea with constant programming and upcoming exhibitions that include a survey of Robert Ryman’s work, set to open in December. (via the Art Newspaper)


Antonio Ramos, a volunteer street artist, was working on painting a community mural in West Oakland when he was shot dead on Tuesday. The shooter, who was not involved with the project, got in an argument with Ramos before shooting him and running away. Ramos was one of ten artists working on the mural, which was an effort to portray positive characters in the community. (via San Jose Mercury News) 


Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty (1970), an iconic work of the environmental art movement, is experiencing its most severe drought ever, with water levels mere inches from the Great Salt Lake’s historic low from 1963. A spokesperson for the Dia Art Foundation, which looks after the work along with the Utah Museum of Fine Arts and the Great Salt Lake Institute, has stated that while the drought has affected the work, “there are no plans for any intervention.” (via the Art Newspaper)


The Armenian pavilion at the Sixth Beijing International Art Biennale has been closed temporarily following the unsuccessful attempted destruction of some of the work on display. Three Azerbaijani men, disguised as authorities, are said to have exhibited “aggressive behavior” and to have attempted to damage Armenian artist Karen Mirzoyan’s artwork. (via Armenian Weekly)


Hartwig Fischer has been tapped to become the new director of the British Museum. Fischer comes from the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, where he is currently serving as director. His move to the British Museum, pending approval from the prime minister, makes him the first non-Briton to hold the position for nearly two centuries. (via the London Times) 


The Armory Show announced “Focus: African Perspectives,” the 2016 iteration of its Focus section, which is dedicated to a different region each year. Curators Julia Grosse and Yvette Mutumba plan to exhibit works that reexamine the current “hype” that surrounds “African art.” (via Artsy)


A body found tied to a shopping cart in London’s Regent’s Canal has been identified as convicted art thief Sebastiano Magnanini. Magnanini was one of the men responsible for stealing a 1732 altarpiece by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo from the Venice church Santa Maria della Fava nearly 22 years ago. Investigations into his death are ongoing, and authorities have stated that they are treating it as a “suspicious death.” (via the New York Times) 


Doris Salcedo is the winner of the Nasher Sculpture Center’s inaugural Nasher Prize. The Colombian sculptor will be awarded $100,000 in an acknowledgement of the ways her work has changed perceptions of the confines of sculpture. (via ARTnews)  

In other news...

Yves Béhar has been chosen as the winner of this year’s Design Visionary Award by Design Miami/. (via DisegnoDaily)

Maxwell Anderson, the director of the Dallas Museum of Art, has stepped down after four years in order to become the director of grant programs at New York’s New Cities Foundation. (via ARTnews)

Due to a shortage of faculty, London’s Royal College of Art has suspended admissions for its design interactions program, costing the college around $460,000. (via the Art Newspaper)

Artists with studio space in a group of three buildings in Gowanus, New York are being forced to leave, with new management informing them that their leases would not be renewed. (via DNAinfo)

The 2016 edition of Manifesta, hosted in Zurich, will feature its first artist curator, Christian Jankowski, and will be titled “What People Do For Money: Some Joint Ventures.” (via Artforum)

The Toledo Museum of Art is returning four of its pieces to India, after the dealer they bought them from, Subhash Kapoor, was accused of smuggling charges. (via the New York Times)

The founder of the Hague’s Escher in het Paleis, a museum devoted to the works of M.C. Escher, has revealed that over 150 of its prints on display are actually replicas, produced by scanning Escher originals. (via Hyperallergic)

Performa 15 has just released the full artist list for the November event—this year’s edition includes young art world stars Oscar Murillo, Juliana Huxtable, and others. (via ARTnews)

Italian painter Carol Rama, whose work centered around scenes of sexuality that were at once humorous and disturbing, has died at the age of 97. (via Artforum)

Leonid Nikolayev, a member of the Russian art collective Voina and an outspoken activist, has died in a timber cutting accident, at the age of 31. (via Radio Free Europe)

Dismaland, Banksy’s notorious “theme-park” art piece, is moving to the French city of Calais, where it will become a shelter for refugees. (via the New York Times)

After Red Square Gallery in Moscow received police harassment due to its show about LGBT teens, the gallery has elected to completely close down. (via the Art Newspaper)

The Romanian outsider artist Ionel Talpazan, whose colorful canvases depicted U.F.O.s, has passed away from complications from a stroke and diabetes. (via the New York Times)

Veronique Le Melle will be the new executive director of Artpace, the San Antonio art nonprofit that invites prominent guest curators (such as Robert Storr and Cecilia Alemani) to organize shows. (via ARTnews)

The 2017 Sharjah Biennial has announced that its curator will be Christine Tohmé, the founding director of the Lebanese contemporary art nonprofit Ashkal Alwan. (via Artforum)

In France, a new law was passed by the National Assembly that aims to safeguard artists’s right to free speech by declaring that it is the government’s duty to protect artistic expression. (via Artforum)

Beirut has announced plans to construct a modern and contemporary art museum by 2020, with an open call for architects who were born in Lebanon to submit building proposals. (via Artforum)

The UCLA Library will receive the papers of Eli Broad, whose contemporary art collection is viewable at the recently opened L.A. art museum The Broad. (via the L.A. Times)

Artsy Editorial