Christie’s Pulls $25 M. T. Rex Skeleton from Sale, Why Galleries at Fairs Pre-Sell Artworks, and More: Morning Links for November 21, 2022

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The Headlines

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CONTROVERSY HITS CANADA. Late last Friday, news broke that the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa let go four senior staff members, a move that “shocked Canada’s art community,” Karen K. Ho writes in ARTnewsAngela Cassie, the interim director and CEO of the museum, said in an internal memo that the cuts were meant to “better align the Gallery’s leadership team with the organization’s new strategic plan.” Some claimed otherwise. Gary A. Hill , the senior curator of Indigenous art and the first-ever Indigenous curator at the museum, wrote on his social media, “The truth is, I’m being fired because I don’t agree with and am deeply disturbed by the colonial and anti-Indigenous ways the Department of Indigenous Ways and Decolonization is being run.” Also laid off were Kitty Scott, chief curator and deputy director; Stephen Gritt, director of conservation and technical research; and Denise Siele, senior manager of communications.

THE CLIMATE PROTESTS CONTINUED this past week in Paris, Oslo, and Milan, where, as Devorah Lauter points out in ARTnews, activists took on works that were not protected by glass. The Milan protest, which involved flour poured over an Andy Warhol art car for BMW, had already grabbed headlines last week, but the other two actions didn’t receive quite as much attention. The Paris one took place at collector François Pinault’s Bourse de Commerce museum, where activists doused an outdoor Charles Ray sculpture in red paint. The French minister of culture, Rima Abdul Malakwas not pleased. And at Oslo’s Vigeland Sculpture Park, protestors also threw orange paint on a 46-foot-tall sculpture, which was not harmed in the process.

The Digest

Just 10 days before its expected sale date, Christie’s pulled a T. rex skeleton from an auction in Hong Kong. The skeleton was expected to fetch between $15 million and $25 million. [The New York Times]

Many works that are on view at art fairs cannot be purchased, and that is because they’ve been bought before these events even open. Brian Ng surveyed the phenomenon and asked gallerists about it. [Artsy]

Trustees at Washington’s Tacoma Art Museum said they would not voluntarily recognize a unionization effort by workers at the institution. Staff at the museum now must vote on whether to unionize. [The Seattle Times]

Jean-Marie Straub, one half of the famed French filmmaking duo Straub-Huillet, whose work has also been seen in art galleries, has died at 89. [Variety]

Maine’s Portland Museum of Art revealed potential designs for the institution’s expansion that were thought about by four finalists for the project. One of those finalists is Adjaye Associates, which is currently at work on the new Studio Museum in Harlem[The Portland Press Herald]

Artists Ebecho MuslimovaAria Dean, and Anna Weyant; dealer Alexander Shulan; and critic Dean Kissick are among the figures who Air Mail said are “remaking Lower Manhattan in their own image.” [Air Mail]

The Kicker

BROADCAST NEWS. The latest news venture is mainly the product of artists, not journalists, and it’s being run from New York’s Brooklyn Museum, not a traditional sound studio. It’s the product of For Freedoms, which was founded as an artist-run super PAC and continues to stage politically oriented events and shows. “There has to be space for play in order for us to be creative, to rethink some of these big things,” its cofounder, Eric Gottesman, told the New Yorker. “If we really are going to profoundly shift the foundations of the structures of society through culture, it’s got to be playing with it, poking at it, experimenting with it, failing, and laughing.” [The New Yorker]


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