Art Institute of Chicago Workers Unionize, Explicit Acropolis Film Scene Sparks Controversy, and More: Morning Links for January 12, 2022

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The Headlines

LABOR DEPT. Workers at the Jewish Museum in New York have filed papers to have a union election, Artnet News reports, making them the latest of many museum employees around the the United States to pursue collective-bargaining arrangements in recent years. Over at the Art Institute of Chicago, staffers won a vote to form a union, according to the Chicago Tribune . And back in New York, just a few blocks south of the Jewish Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art has raised wages for its guards, who are unionized, in an effort to hire more workers amid the nationwide labor shortage, the New York Times reports. The starting wage for guards is now $16.50 an hour, up from $15.51. The average hourly rate is currently about $20, according to union statistics.

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TALKING TO ARTISTS. For the New York Times, writer Kriston Capps spoke to sculptor John Powers, who has been responding to a severe hand injury he suffered by asking fellow artists to create inventive prosthetics for him. And for the Museum of Modern Art’s magazine, curator and scholar Nicole Fleetwood spoke with artist Pepón Osorio, whose storied installation Badge of Honor (1995) is now on view at the museum. They talked about Osorio’s approach to art, mass incarceration, and his background in social work. “My experience as a caseworker became my artistic practice,” he said, explaining that he aims to make “real artwork with real experiences and people.” Also, MoMA has a 2018 interview by writer Aimee Lin with photographer Wolfgang Tillmans.

The Digest

A short film that features two men having a sexual encounter at the Acropolis in Athens has sparked controversy in Greece. Its anonymous creators say that their work is a response to the site’s status as a symbol of “nationalism, the cult of Antiquity,” and “patriarchy.” Officials are investigating. [Daily Mail and Euronews]

The Bonhams auction house, which is based in London, has snapped up Bukowskis, a Swedish house with salesrooms in Stockholm and Helsinki. [The Art Newspaper]

Artist Lee Kun-Yong, a pivotal figure in the development of performance art in South Korea who is perhaps best known for his “Bodyscape” works, is now represented globally by the Pace Gallery. He will continue to work with Gallery Hyundai and Leeahn Gallery[ARTnews]

Three artists will represent Egypt at this’s Venice Biennale, which arrives in three months: Weaam El-MasryMohamed Shoukry, and Ahmed El-Shaer[Ahram Online]

The estate of the late oil baron Edwin L. Cox will sell some of his antiques and art in the coming months at Hindman Auctions in Chicago. Works from Cox’s collection brought in a well-above-estimate $332 million last year at Christie’s, led by a $71 million Vincent van Gogh[The Dallas Morning News]

The Guggenheim Museum in New York is starting a poet-in-residence program with the Academy of American Poets. The first person to hold the title will be Taylor Johnson[]

The Kicker

FEAR AND LOATHING IN THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS. The photographer Chloe Sells has a new book out of images she shot inside the Aspen home of Hunter S. Thompson, when she was working as an assistant for the hard-living gonzo journalist in the 2000s. That job had some unusual tasks, she told the Guardian , such as making him meals like “microwave turkey dinner with soup, chutney, peanut butter and salsa.” She made a point of staying straight while working for him, she said. “I’d seen the scorn he reserved for those who turned up to pay homage to him, got completely stoned and started acting stupid. They were never welcomed back.” [The Guardian]


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