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MoMA Chair Leon Black Leaves CEO Job Amid Revelations He Paid Jeffrey Epstein $158 Million

Art Industry News is a daily digest of the most consequential developments coming out of the art world and art market. Here’s what you need to know on this Tuesday, January 26.


The MCA Chicago Lays Off Dozens of Employees – The museum let go of 41 employees last week due to budgetary constraints caused by the pandemic. The news came shortly after two of the museum’s senior curators, Michael Darling and Naomi Beckwith, announced they were leaving the institution. The MCA said in a statement that it was restructuring in order to ensure “long-term sustainability.” The layoffs affected 11 percent of the institution’s full-time workforce, and 24 part-time employees. (ARTnews)

Some Bodies on Display at UK Museum Are Executed Chinese Prisoners – A group of cadavers that were included in an exhibition of preserved human corpses at the National Exhibition Center in Birmingham could have been political prisoners who were executed in China. The corpses were obtained from a company in the Chinese city of Dalian that is known to have acquired corpses from the Chinese police in the past. The revelations came to light in the UK parliament amid a discussion of a new law that would require proof that all human tissues and cells imported into the UK for medical or scientific purposes were obtained with the consent of the donors. (The Art Newspaper)

Biden Administration Revives Plan to Put Harriet Tubman on $20 Bill – The White House hopes to resume the process of putting a portrait of the 19th-century abolitionist Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill. Tubman’s image would replace that of the former president Andrew Jackson, a slaveowner who directed genocidal campaigns against Native Americans. The proposal to change the banknote was first proposed by the Obama administration in 2016, but was later dropped under the administration of Donald Trump. (Guardian)

The Jeffrey Epstein Scandal Further Engulfs MoMA Board Chair Leon Black – MoMA board chair Leon Black is stepping down as chief executive of the private equity firm Apollo after an inquiry found that he paid $158 million to the convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. Amid concern for the firm’s reputation, Black says he will retire as chief executive before July but intends to stay on as chairman. (New York Times

Mega-Collector Larry Fink Pushes Climate Goals – In a letter sent on Tuesday to colleagues, Fink, who runs the investment firm BlackRock and sits on the MoMA board, asked leaders in the corporate world “to disclose a plan for how their business model will be compatible with a net-zero economy,” meaning one that eliminates net greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. He also announced his plan to release BlackRock’s own such plan shortly. (NYT)


Sotheby’s to Sell the Collection of Lady Mountbatten – Sotheby’s will auction jewelry, furniture, and artworks from the property of Queen Victoria’s great-great-granddaughter, the second countess Mountbatten of Burma, on March 24. The 350 lots, which range in price from £80 to £100,000, will be exhibited publicly from March 2–23. (Press release)

Baseball Star Lou Gehrig’s Bat Could Fetch $1 Million at Auction – The bat, which Gehrig may have used in the 1938 World Series, which he won with the New York Yankees just before his 1939 ALS diagnosis, will be sold through SCP Auctions. (TMZ)


Barry Le Va Dead at 79 – American artist Barry Le Va, best known for his process-oriented work, has died at aged 79. The artist helped to redefine the medium of sculpture in the 1960s by investigating procedure and unconventional materials. (Artforum)

Alleged Abuser Claude Lévêque’s Light Sculptures Go Dark in Paris – Authorities in Paris are grappling with what to do with artist Claude Lévêque’s public insallation after allegations surfaced that the French artist sexually abused minors. Officials in Montreuil and Montrouge have turned off two sculptures by the artist and are in discussions to completely remove them from view. (TAN)


Paris’s Beloved Fan Museum Gets a Lifeline – Authorities in Paris have stepped in to prevent the landlord of the city’s Fan Museum from seizing its collection to cover €117,000 in overdue rent. The city has instructed the landlord to extend the rent deadline as donations from dedicated patrons pour in to save the beloved institution. (AP

Artist Paints Chanel Miller for the Cover of Her Book – The Barcelona-based artist David de las Heras has made an oil painting of artist and writer Chanel Miller for the Spanish edition of her book, Know My Name. See it here. (Instagram)


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11 Events for Your Art Calendar This Week, From a Talk About the Future of Museums to Three Shows at Bortolami

Each week, we search for the most exciting and thought-provoking shows, screenings, and events. In light of the global health crisis, we are currently highlighting events and digitally, as well as in-person exhibitions open in the New York area. See our picks from around the world below. (Times are all EST unless otherwise noted.)


Tuesday, January 12

Installation view of "Lin Tianmiao: Protruding Patterns" at Galerie Lelong, New York, in 2017. Image courtesy Galerie Lelong.

Installation view of “Lin Tianmiao: Protruding Patterns” at Galerie Lelong, New York, in 2017. Image courtesy Galerie Lelong.

1. “Meet the Artist: Lin Tianmiao on Public Art In China” at the China Institute, New York

This Zoom conversation between artist Lin Tianmiao and art writer Barbara Pollack is organized by the China Institute and shared by Galerie Lelong. The discussion will focus at Lin’s new post-feminist work and the rise of large-scale public art projects in China. The artist is known her embroidered objects that explore gender roles in modern-day society. New works also explore themes of time and loss.

Price: Free with registration
Time: 8 p.m.

—Eileen Kinsella


Wednesday, January 13

Danielle Scott. Photo courtesy of the Newark Museum.

Danielle Scott. Photo courtesy of the Newark Museum.

2. “Studio Snapshots: Danielle Scott” at the Newark Museum of Art

The Newark Museum has launched a video series spotlighting local artists and their work during the past year in lockdown. The second video, featuring Danielle Scott—a full-time art teacher making work inspired by the current state of affairs for Black men in the US—will be released this week on the museum’s Facebook page.

Price: Free
Time: 12 p.m.

—Sarah Cascone


Thursday, January 14

András Szántó, The Future of the Museum: 28 Dialogues. Photo courtesy of the author.

András Szántó, The Future of the Museum: 28 Dialogues. Photo courtesy of the author.

3. “Virtual Roundtable: The Future of the Museum” at the Brooklyn Museum 

On the occasion of the publication of museum strategist András Szántó’s new book, The Future of the Museum: 28 Dialogues, the author will speak with Sandra Jackson-Dumont, director of the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art in Los Angeles, and Marie-Cécile Zinsou, president and founder of Benin’s Zinsou Foundation, about new models for what a museum can be. Brooklyn Museum director Anne Pasternak will also speak with Victoria Noorthoorn, director of the Museo de Arte Moderno de Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Franklin Sirmans, director of the Pérez Art Museum Miami, about how their institutions are adapting to the present moment. The back-to-back talks will stream on Facebook Live, or you can register for the program on Zoom.

Price: Pay what you wish
Time: 6 p.m.–7 p.m.

—Sarah Cascone


Thursday, January 14–Saturday, February 13

Polina Barskaya, Bovina Living Room with Cat, 2020 Courtesy of Monya Rowe Gallery

4. “Me, Myself and I: Polina Barskaya, Aubrey Levinthal, and Justin Liam O’Brien” at Monya Rowe Gallery

Monya Rowe Gallery presents a three-person exhibition of new works by artists Polina Barskaya, Aubrey Levinthal, and Justin Liam O’Brien. The show consists of figurative works that look inwards to create everyday narratives that are widely relatable. Themes of self-reflection and introspection are highlighted as “each artist harnesses their psychological experiences to engender their work and create a space for personal significance,” according to the gallery.

Location: Monya Rowe Gallery, 224 West 34th Street #1005, New York, NY 10001
Time: Tuesday–Saturday, 12 p.m.–6 p.m.

—Neha Jambhekar


Thursday, January 14–Tuesday, February 16

A painting by Aida Mahmudova. Courtesy of Sapar Contemporary.

A painting by Aida Mahmudova. Courtesy of Sapar Contemporary.

5. “Aida Mahmudova: PASTPRESENTFUTURE” at Sapar Contemporary, New York

The latest project from Sapar Contemporary’s Central Asian Incubator for women artists of Central Asia and the Caucuses features Azerbaijani painter Aida Mahmudova, who embeds materials including grass, dry plants, copper, and ceramics into her layered canvases depicting the landscapes of her homeland.

Location: Sapar Contemporary, 9 North Moore Street, New York
Time: Opening viewing January 14 and 15 for groups under eight, 5 p.m.–7 p.m.; Tuesday–Saturday, 10 a.m.–6 p.m.

—Sarah Cascone 


Thursday, January 14–May 1

Artwork by Hiba Schahbaz. Photo courtesy of Art Production Fund.

Artwork by Hiba Schahbaz. Photo courtesy of Art Production Fund.

6. “Hiba Schahbaz: In My Heart” at Rockefeller Center, New York

Hiba Schahbaz takes over unused ad spaces in the latest offering from Art Production Fund. The artist, known for her mythological self portraits, has created paper cut-outs featuring garden scenes and female figures amid the doldrums of winter in New York. The highlight will be a 125-foot-long site-specific mural at the concourse of 45 Rockefeller Plaza, while smaller lightbox displays are inspired by traditional Indo-Persian miniature paintings.

Location: Rockefeller Center, 10, 30, 45, and 50 Rockefeller Plaza, New York
Time: Open daily at all times

—Sarah Cascone


Friday, January 15–Saturday, March 20

David-Jeremiah, detail of <i>Hamborghini Rally: Soul Hunt City ('72 Dartón)</i> (2019). Courtesy of Gallery Kendra Jayne Patrick.

David-Jeremiah, detail of Hamborghini Rally: Soul Hunt City (’72 Dartón) (2019). Courtesy of Gallery Kendra Jayne Patrick.

7. “David-Jeremiah: Play” at Halsey McKay x Gallery Kendra Jayne Patrick, East Hampton

In this compact East Hampton solo exhibition, David-Jeremiah presents five paintings interpolating the disturbingly relevant legacy of Micah Xavier Johnson. In 2016, Johnson, a former US Army carpenter, fatally shot five Dallas police officers in an act of vigilante retribution for generations of violence carried out by law enforcement against Black Americans. He then became an even more surreal footnote in the nation’s macabre history of race relations when police leveraged a never-before-used weapona bomb-defusing robot equipped with a live explosiveto kill Johnson in his hideout. Jeremiah channels these events and their aftermath into a series of works inspired by simulated racing games. Called “Hamborghini Rally: Soul Hunt City,” the paintings communicate how bigotry creates a never-ending “us vs. them” contest in which each side’s grim score will only ever continue escalatinguntil, or unless, this country finally disconnects the white supremacist circuitry powering the whole enterprise from the start.

Location: Halsey McKay, 79 Newtown Lane, East Hampton
Price: Free
Time: Friday–Monday, 11 a.m.–5 p.m. (and by appointment)

—Tim Schneider


Friday, January 15–Saturday, February 27

Patrick Angus, <em>Hanky Panky</em> (1990). Photo courtesy of Bortolami.

Patrick Angus, Hanky Panky (1990). Photo courtesy of Bortolami.

8. Three shows at Bortolami

There’s one hell of a tripleheader opening at Bortolami this Friday. In the main exhibition space is what is sure to be a stunning exhibition of work by the late Patrick Angus, who died of AIDS in 1992 at the age of 38. The show spans decades of his practice and features a number of works from the last decade of his life, spent in New York, capturing the explosion of culture at the city’s innumerable gay bars, bathhouses, and sex clubs with lush, gloriously rendered paintings and works in paper, many made from life. As if you needed more, in an anteroom there’s a show by the indefatigable Tom Burr that is sure to be a delight. And upstairs in the gallery’s second floor viewing room is a group show put together by the fearless critic David Rimanelli featuring three of the most exciting artists around: Kayode Ojo, Borna Sammak, and Chivas Clem.

Location: Bortolami, 39 Walker Street, New York
Price: Free
Time: 11 a.m.–6 p.m.

—Nate Freeman


Saturday, January 16–Sunday, February 21

Xiao Wang, Slumber (After Goya) – Dusk, 2020 Courtesy of Deanna Evans Projects

9. “A Collective Escape” at Deanna Evans Projects, Brooklyn

Deanna Evans Projects’ inaugural exhibition in its new Brooklyn space featuring works by eight emerging artists and was organized through a blind open call juried by Elizabeth Buhe, Alejandra Jassan, and Nickola Pottinger. The result is a collection of eight beautiful works that depict the possibilities of escapism—a much explored topic during the harrowing year of 2020.

Location: Deanna Evans Projects, 1329 Willoughby Avenue, #171 E, Brooklyn
Time: January 16 and 17, 12 p.m.–8 p.m.; and by appointment

—Neha Jambhekar


Saturday, January 16

Concept art for Derek McPhatter Afro-futurist and Afro-surreal dreamscapes. Designed by Daria Borovkova. Photo courtesy of MCA Chicago.

Concept art for Derek McPhatter Afro-futurist and Afro-surreal dreamscapes. Designed by Daria Borovkova. Photo courtesy of MCA Chicago.

10. “The Dreamscape” at MCA Chicago

As part of “The Long Dream,” an exhibition of more than 70 local Chicago artists on view through May 2, the MCA Chicago is hosting virtual events showcasing time-based and live performances, with a wide offering of livestreamed music, conversations, and video art. Audiences can tune in to the programming of their choosing throughout the day, such as a DJ set with Sadie Woods or the premiere of new works by Eduardo F. Rosario, Selina Trepp, and others.

Price: Pay what you wish
Time: 2 p.m.–6 p.m. CT

—Sarah Cascone


Through Sunday, January 24

Installation view of "Kambui Olujimi WALK WITH ME." Photo courtesy of Project for Empty Space.

Installation view of “Kambui Olujimi WALK WITH ME.” Photo courtesy of Project for Empty Space.

11. “Kambui Olujimi WALK WITH ME” at Project for Empty Space, Newark

For this first show in the gallery’s new home, Newark’s Project for Empty Space presents a selection of 177 ink-wash works on paper by Kambui Olujimi, each a portrait of his mentor, Catherine Arline, who died in 2014. Based on a single photograph of the subject from the 1950s, when she was just 18, the artworks memorialize Arline and her larger-than-life role in the Bedford-Stuyvesant community where the artist grew up.

Location: Project for Empty Space, 800 Broad Street, Newark
Time: By appointment, Thursday–Saturday, 11 a.m.–5 p.m.

—Sarah Cascone

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