British Museum Recovers Missing Objects, Artist Accuses Kehinde Wiley of Sexual Assault, Nino Mier Weighs Shuttering Spaces, and More: Morning Links for May 17, 2024 - The World News

British Museum Recovers Missing Objects, Artist Accuses Kehinde Wiley of Sexual Assault, Nino Mier Weighs Shuttering Spaces, and More: Morning Links for May 17, 2024

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ACCUSATION. British-born, Ghana-based artist Joseph Awuah-Darko has accused star artist and presidential portraitist Kehinde Wiley of sexual assault, which the latter denied, reports Harrison Jacobs for ARTnews. “It almost destroyed me,” wrote Awuah-Darko in an Instagram post on Sunday. He told ARTnews he was seeking legal action and hopes “speaking about my abuse will empower other victims to do the same.” The artist said in 2021 Wiley “inappropriately groped” him first, and then alluded to a later, “much more sever and violent” assault, and believes “other artists, curators and collectors have quietly expressed witnessing this pattern of predatory behavior.” Wiley instead described his interaction with Awuah-Darko a “consensual relationship,” and claimed the artist was “making false, disturbing, and defamatory accusations about our time together,” in his own post. In a longer message to ARTnews, Wiley added that Awuah-Darko “has been trying to be part of my life ever since we met,” flying to his birthday in Nigeria, and “attempting to visit” his home in New York.

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A white man in a suit sitting on a wooden floor with his legs dangling off.

RECOVERED LOOT. The British Museum announced on Friday it has recovered 268 objects that went missing or were stolen from its collection. The museum announced in February that some 350 objects had been recovered, from the over 1,500 identified as lost or stolen last summer. That brings the total figure to 626 recovered. Plus, the museum said it has leads for about 100 more missing pieces. The loss of poorly cataloged items, many of which were allegedly sold for a fraction of their worth on eBay, occurred over 30 years, and has been tied to the former museum curator Peter Higgs, in a scandal that has shaken the institution’s reputation and led to a leadership reshuffle.


Hong Kong’s West Kowloon Cultural District (WKCDA), home to the M+ museum, the Palace Museum, and the Xiqu Centre, is in a funding crisis, with recorded net losses of HKD 1.56 billion ($199 million) in 2022, almost double the previous year. On Saturday, Henry Tang, the district’s chairman, told local media that if the government doesn’t respond quickly to the looming threat of bankruptcy, “we have an urgent need to take relatively large action,” such as reducing operating hours. [ArtAsiaPacific]

Dealer Nino Mier is “strongly considering closing some” of his gallery space in Los Angeles, following allegations of underpaying artists, first reported in The Art Newspaper. On Friday, Artnet News reported all four of Mier’s Los Angeles galleries are due to shutter. [ARTnews]

More than a dozen exhibitors have dropped out of Toronto’s Contact Photography Festival, in protest over opposition to its sponsor, Scotiabank, which reportedly has ties to the Israel-based military tech company, Elbit Systems. The protest was organized by No Arms in the Arts (NAITA) and Artists Against Artwashing (AAA), and earlier this week, Scotiabank announced it halved its stake in Elbit. [The Art Newspaper]

The Danish artist Jens Haaning is going to permanently exhibit his cheeky artwork, Take the Money and Run, at the Kunsten Museum of Modern Art in Aalborg, Denmark, according to a museum statement. Haaning reportedly complied with a court order and paid the museum back a $76,000 cash commission it gave him for the works, which the unamused institution was surprised to discover consisted of nothing more than a pair of blank canvases. [Le Figaro]

A designated person responsible for monitoring treatment of children on film sets will be required to obtain public funding in France, said the country’s minister of culture, Rachida Dati, while at the Cannes Film Festival. The announcement comes in response to a #MeToo reckoning in France’s film industry, and a specific request by actress Judith Godrèche, who has spoken out about being sexual assaulted as a child actor. [AFP and Le Monde]

The art-world commentator behind the Jerry Gogosian Instagram account, Hilde Lynn Helphenstein, apologized for mocking the name of Sotheby’s New York-based head of contemporary art day sales in the Middle East, Ashkan Baghestani. [ARTnews]

A rare, little-seen 1995 painting by Yayoi Kusama will head to auction at Bonhams in Hong Kong. Titled Infinity, the 6.5 feet-tall painting is estimated to be worth some  $5.1 million. [Hypebeast]

South African artist Lebohang Kganye was awarded the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize for 2024. Her photographic montages, including performance and film animation are on view in a group show at The Photographers’ Gallery in London until June 2. [Artforum]

Writer Tim Jonze shares a descriptive encounter with the filmmaker, flower-delivering, and fat-cigar-smoking artist Harmony Korine on the occasion of an exhibition in London. Asked if he had a message behind his retina-burning paintings of stills from his recent video game aesthetics inspired film Aggro Dr1ft, the artist could only guffaw. “A message? No. That’s disgusting!” He said. [The Guardian]

The Dublin-New York “Portal” installation is back up, after it was closed due to “inappropriate behavior.” This time, the live-stream art project that lets people in both cities see each other in real time, has limited operating hours and measures have been taking to prevent people from holding phones up to the camera lens, or touching it. [BBC]


LET THEM EAT BAGUETTE. The French baguette can be thought of as a form of art, and certainly a stamp of French heritage. Literally. The baguette, on the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List, is now gracing French stamps issued in celebration of the Olympics. They are also scratch-and-sniff. In short, letters from France may very well start smelling like a warm (or stale?) baguette. The new stamps featuring a graphic drawing of a baguette tied with a red, white, and blue ribbon, were revealed on the feast day of Saint Honoré, in celebration of “our cultural treasure,” said the postage printer Philaposte de Boulazac at an unveiling ceremony, reports Le Parisien. After giving one stamp a scratch and sniff, a man named Lionel said, “It smells like a baguette was just taken out of the oven.” Meanwhile, others are getting hungry for a croissant version.

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