Your Weekly Art News: From the Margins to the Headlines (March 26 – April 2)

Your Weekly Art News is a digest of the most important developments coming out of the art world from markets, finance, upcoming shows, exhibitions, and scandals. Here’s what you need to know this Monday, March 26.

  • After numerous suggestions for eliminating the NEA and NEH altogether, President Trump announces the signing of an omnibus bill increasing funding for both arts agencies:

The National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities will each receive about $153 million in federal funding in fiscal year 2018, around $3 million more than in 2017.

Trump previously threatened to veto the $1.3 trillion spending bill, in part because it did not fully fund a wall on the US-Mexico border. “I will never sign another bill like this again,” Trump said.

In a short statement shared with Hyperallergic, the NEA said, “The National Endowment for the Arts is deeply appreciative of the support of members of Congress.”  The spending bill received bipartisan support, including the vocal support from a number of key Republicans, in the House and Senate.

President Trump giving a speech on October 13, 2017 (official White House photo by D. Myles Cullen/Flickr)

  • National Geographic attempts to reckon with its colonialist past, unveiling their April 2018 cover as one that deals with the sensitive topic of race:

After more than a century of covering the Earth’s manifold splendor and diverse peoples through distinctly Western eyes, leaving it open to charges of colonialism (if not outright racism), National Geographic has now turned its lens on itself.

The magazine’s special April issue is dedicated to examining the subject of race from a variety of angles: theories of the social construction of race, the racial profiling of black motorists, the present-day renaissance of historical black colleges, the mounting tensions triggered by the demographic shifts in the nation, and even Brazilian artist Angélica Dass‘s project “Humanae,” which pairs over 4,000 people from around the world with different Pantone color swatches. Yet National Geographic editor Susan Goldberg’s letter introducing the issue has made the biggest splash, with its blunt admission: “For Decades, Our Coverage Was Racist. To Rise Above Our Past, We Must Acknowledge It.

April 2018 issue of National Geographic, a single topic issue on the subject of race. Courtesy of National Geographic.

  • A veteran Christie’s executive is hired to join Levy Gorvy Gallery, unleashing speculation that there is a larger cross-over between private dealing and auction houses than we are often led to believe:

Longtime Christie’s executive Andreas Rumbler, the chairman of Christie’s Switzerland and an occasional auctioneer for the house, is leaving his employer of nearly three decades to join the boutique powerhouse dealership Lévy Gorvy.

Rumbler is the latest in a long line of top dealmakers who have left auction houses behind in recent years to work at galleries or as private art advisors. Brett Gorvy himself left Christie’s after nearly a quarter century to establish Lévy Gorvy with veteran dealer Dominque Lévy in 2016.

Rumbler will officially join the gallery in November as a partner. He will lead a new special office in Zürich called Lévy Gorvy and Rumbler, also due to open in November. The Zürich office will focus on providing art advisory services to clients in Switzerland, Germany, and across Northern Europe.

  • NYC is bursting at the seems with public art, including a new Banksy mural on the Houston Bowery Wall:

He’s back. Banksy has returned to New York for the first time since his much-hyped 2013 residency, and he’s taking over one of the city’s most famous sites for street art, the Houston Bowery Wall.

The anonymous British street artist’s newest work is a protest over the imprisonment of Zehra Doğan, a Turkish artist and journalist who is currently serving a nearly three-year jail sentence for one of her paintings.

Banksy, Free Zehra Dogan (2018). Courtesy of the Houston Bowery Wall.

Banksy’s latest artwork has been unveiled; a New York-based mural dedicated to the Turkish artist Zehra Dogan

  • Banky’s mural relates to the ongoing imprisonment of Zehra Dogan, an artist and journalist, due to a painting she made of Nusaybin, a Kurdish area in south-east Turkey that recently came under attack by the Turkish military:

# Nusaybin

A post shared by zehra doğan (@jinhazehradogan) on

  • The National Portrait Gallery in London is considering accepting a fresh $1.4 million gift from the Sackler Trust, despite the recent protest by artist Nan Goldin who called out the relationship between the pharmaceutical family that has been embroiled in a recent scandal involving their stake in the Oxycontin, which they attempt to whitewash through philanthropy and arts funding:
  • The so-called “art bastard” Robert Cenedella is again in the news this week, announcing that he plans on pressing forward with his class-action lawsuit against five prominent museums in New York whom he accuses of conspiring against him by rigging the institutional system against unrepresented artists, such as himself:

While many artists believe they deserve more recognition than they’ve received, most just complain about it to their friends. Artist Robert Cenedella has gone a different route: He’s taken the museums that he believes have wronged him to court.

Just over a month ago, Cenedella filed a class action lawsuit in New York against five major local art institutions: the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and the New Museum. He asserts that these institutions are conspiring to stamp out competition in the art market by showing only a small group of pre-approved names represented by mega-galleries. Cenedella is not one of them.

Robert Cenedella at the premier of Art Bastard in New York City. Photo: Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images for CAVU Pictures & Concannon Productions.

  • Blue Ivy Carter is proving to be quite the art collector:

The precocious daughter of Beyoncé and Jay-Z is quite the art aficionado. At a benefit auction, the six-year-old sophisticate placed a winning bid for a $10,000 artwork after going head-to-head with Tyler Perry on an earlier lot.

Jay-Z, Blue Ivy, and Beyoncé at the Grammy Awards in 2018. Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images for NARAS.

  • In strange news from the canine world, dOGUMENTA is set to open in Los Angeles this September, co-curated by, you guessed it, a dog:

Thanks to the rabid appetite in New York for last year’s dOGUMENTA, co-curators Jessica Dawson and her pup Rocky will bring the canine-tailored art fair to Los Angeles for a free public event set to open this September.

Rocky, canine co-curator of dOGUMENTA, with Merav Ezer’s TOM, the first limited-edition artwork created exclusively for dogs. Photo courtesy of dOGUMENTA.

  • petition was launched protesting the decision to remove a plaque commemorating the birthplace of Rosa Luxemburg in the Polish city of Zamość.

Rosa Luxemburg Monument in Poland

  • The Shenzhen Biennale fired Gary Xu as one of its inaugural edition curators following allegations of sexual assault and harassment.


  • Finally, here is a selection of the best of Art Dubai, which took place last week:

Art or not #22 #artdubai2018

A post shared by Marin Luc (@lucmarinsandartist) on

Art #20 #artdubai2018

A post shared by Marin Luc (@lucmarinsandartist) on

Art or not #16 #artdubai2018

A post shared by Marin Luc (@lucmarinsandartist) on


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