Ontario Museum Pressured Over Indigenous Curator Ouster, Abramović Performer Sues Over Sexual Assault, and More: Morning Links for January 24, 2024 - The World News

Ontario Museum Pressured Over Indigenous Curator Ouster, Abramović Performer Sues Over Sexual Assault, and More: Morning Links for January 24, 2024

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The Headlines

A LAWSUIT IS PRESENT. An artist who performed in the nude a MoMA’s 2010, Marina Abramović exhibition is suing the museum for failing to prevent sexual assaults against him by museum attendees. In his complaint filed in a Manhattan court Monday, artist John Bonafede said he was repeated sexually assaulted by museum-goers during the exhibition, “Marina Abramović: The Artist is Present.” He alleges the museum “had actual knowledge of ongoing sexual assaults against many of its worker-performers … yet it intentionally and negligently failed to take corrective action to prevent the assaults from recurring.”

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Portrait of a woman.

OUTCRY IN ONTARIO. In a letter titled “Let Wanda Speak,” the Toronto-based Indigenous Curatorial Collective (ICCA) is demanding the Art Gallery of Ontario explain its dismissal of Indigenous art curator, Wanda Nanibush, the first Canadian and Indigenous art curator to work at the institution. Her sudden departure came as a shock to the Canadian art world and is reportedly linked to accusations of “posting inflammatory, inaccurate rants against Israel,” as well as “hate speech,” according to a leaked letter seen by Hyperallergic and The Global and Mail. This most recent demand joins other, earlier letters criticizing the ouster, including one signed by over 3,300 artists. [The Art Newspaper]

The Digest

The Liverpool Biennial has tapped Marie-Anne McQuay to curate its 2025 edition, scheduled to take place from June to September. For the exhibition, McQuay conveyed an eagerness to engage in “reflecting on civic life.” She is currently the director of projects at the UK agency Arts&Heritage, and is the former program director at Bluecoat, Liverpool, where she organized shows featuring artists such as Adham Faramawy, Jade Montserrat, Larissa Sansour, and more. [ARTnews]

Don’t use magnets to hunt for treasure, popularly known as “magnet fishing,” it can damage artefacts, experts have warned after the hilt fell off a Viking sword as it was pulled out of a river in Suffolk, using the technique. The remnants of the artifact were lost in the river. A new report by the British Museum’s Portable Antiquities Scheme also announced 2022 was a record year for treasure and antiquities finds, mostly by amateur metal detectorists, reaching a total of 53,490 objects added to the museum’s database. [The Telegraph]

A controversial museum commemorating the former Austrian dictator, Engelbert Dollfuss, in power from 1932 to 1934, was emptied and definitively closed following criticism that the program was a “memorial shrine,” and too sympathetic to Dollfuss. The former chancellor installed an authoritarian regime in the country and was eventually killed in a 1934 Nazi coup attempt. Austria was annexed by Nazi Germany four years later, in 1938. The museum opened in 1998 in the house where Dollfuss was born, in Texingtal, a town in the state of Lower Austria. [Le Figaro and AFP]

The Chicago-based nonprofit United States Artists has named 50 recipients of its annual 2024 USA Fellows, each awarded with a prize of $50,000. [ARTnews]

Some leading digital artists are publicly criticizing immersive light art installations like the ones based on Van Gogh and Klimt, as “money grabs” that leave less room for innovation. The popular experiences can be boiled down to overpriced Instagram photo ops, according to artists such as Lucy Hardcastle, a designer and digital artist with a studio in London, and Ralph Nauta, co-founder of studio DRIFT. Nauta also questioned whether the artists would have agreed to their work being projected this way. “I think it’s very disrespectful,” he told The Guardian. “It gives the whole industry a bad name and it can be so, so, so much more.” [The Guardian]

In the ongoing Rybolovlev vs. Sotheby’s trial, little new evidence appears, but more, memorable juicy tidbits have emerged, reports ARTnews Senior Reporter Daniel Cassady. It appears that even billionaires sometimes fail at networking, or even knowing who they are dealing with. When art advisor Sandy Heller first asked Rybolovlev who was helping him acquire artworks at apparently inflated prices, Rybolovlev told him he was “working with the most important man in the art market. His name is Yves Bouvier.” To which Heller responded: “Who? Never heard of the guy.” Heller said he concluded Rybolovlev was “being controlled” by Bouvier. [ARTnews]

The Kicker

Art historian and Hopper expert Gail Levin gives an in-depth account of the Whitney Museum of American Art’s allegedly “suspicious” handling of the Edward Hopper estate, for The New Criterion. “The museum simply used me to avoid the scandal that would result if the public learned that many works said to be by Hopper and thus—if authentic—willed to the museum, were making their way not to the museum but to the market, with no proof of how they left the studio, which is to say no proper provenance,” she writes.

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