Ai Weiwei's Refugee Moment: Last Week in Art

Also: Rome censored sculptures and King Tut's beard, scandalized!

by Sami Emory
Feb 1 2016, 12:30pm


A lot went down this week in the weird and wild world of art. Some things were more scandalous than others, some were just plain wacky—but all of them are worth knowing about. Without further ado:  

+ Ai Weiwei recreated the famous photo of Syrian refugee toddler Alan Kurdi. Weiwei also canceled his upcoming Copenhagen exhibition, Ruptures, in protest against a new Danish law allowing authorities to seize asylum seekers’ assets. [The Washington PostThe Guardian]

+ Early in the week, Roman officials covered up nude statues in anticipation of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s visit; widespread criticism of the city’s censorship followed. [ABC News, The New York Times]

+ The Knoedler forgery is now underway. [The Art Newspaper]

+ Controversial performance artist Pyotr Pavlensky was committed to a Russian psychiatric hospital pending evaluation. [The Moscow Times]


+ Curators at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo are being charged with negligence after clumsily gluing King Tutankhamun’s pure gold burial mask back together with lots and lots of epoxy. [The Christian Science Monitor]

+ Indonesia’s first international museum for modern art is scheduled to open early next year. [New York Times]

+ A new Banksy mural highlighting the refugee crisis popped up in Calais, France this week. [The Creators Project]


+ Angela Merkel opened the Art from the Holocaust exhibition at Berlin’s German Historical Museum—the show, consisting of 100 works from Israel’s Holocaust memorial center, Yad Vashem, is the most extensive of its kind. [Forward]

+ The Arts Institute of Chicago receive its largest ever bequest of $35 million. [Chicago Sun-Times]

+ Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts acquired a rare painting by Frida Kahlo. Dos Mujeres (Salvador y Herminia) is the first Kahlo work to ever enter a New England museum’s permanent collection. [The Boston Globe]


+ Olafur Eliasson will be the Palace of Versailles's 2016 guest artist. [Art Forum]

+ New York’s Museum of Modern Art is expanding: here’s what it will look like. [The Wall Street Journal]

+ Jerry Saltz burned his Art Basel Private View VIP card. “Burn-baby-burn,” the critic wrote on his Twitter


+ Israeli right-wing group Im Tirtzu launched a billboard campaign targeting cultural figures and published a “blacklist” of 117 artists and intellectuals opposing the country’s continued presence in the West Bank. [The Independent]

+ Frank Stella’s old West Village studio sold for $22,000,000. [Curbed]

+ For one day only, the Nat Geo Wild-commissioned The Clockwork Lion statue in Trafalgar Square stood as a reminder of the precarious conditions of Big Cats. [National Geographic]


Did we miss any pressing art world stories? Let us know in the comments below!


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