News Recap: December 8, 2017

A weekly update of art world news.

Santa Monica from the Getty Museum by Rennett Stowe via  Wikimedia Commons

Santa Monica from the Getty Museum by Rennett Stowe via Wikimedia Commons

Los Angeles Wildfires Cause Cultural Institutions to Close
Five wildfires began raging through the Los Angeles area this week, destroying countless acres of land and over 150 homes. The fires have caused cultural institutions in the area to evacuate and shut down for safety. One of the five, the Skirball fire, is responsible for closing The Getty Museum and Villa and Skirball Cultural Center. Other institutions closed due to smoke and flames include the Santa Barbara Museum of Art and the Hammer Museum.
Read the full story (Artnet News)

The Met Will Not Remove Suggestive Balthus Painting
Earlier this week a petition was launched against “Thérèse Dreaming (1938),” a painting by Balthus, depicting a reclining pubescent girl with her underwear showing. The petition, at 8,600 supporters and counting, cites its cause as, “Given the current climate around sexual assault and allegations that become more public each day, in showcasing this work for the masses without providing any type of clarification, the Met is, perhaps unintentionally, supporting voyeurism and the objectification of children.” Balthus is known in art history for his infatuation with young girls as subjects of his work. The Met has responded and will not be censoring or removing the painting. Kenneth Weine, the Met’s Chief Communications Officer stated, “Moments such as this provide an opportunity for conversation, and visual art is one of the most significant means we have for reflecting on both the past and the present and encouraging the continuing evolution of existing culture through informed discussion and respect for creative expression.”
Read the full story (The Art Newspaper)

United States Government Claims the Art Made in Guantanamo
An art exhibition in New York featuring the work of inmates previously or currently residing in Guantanamo Bay prison sparked a debate, causing the Pentagon to instate a new rule stating that all artwork created at Guantanamo is property of the US Government. Ode to Sea at John Jay College of Criminal Justice features over 30 pieces of artwork from eight Guantanamo detainees. The show will be on view through January 26 before moving to a new location.
Read the full story (The Art Newspaper)

Prize Winners for Africa’s Contemporary Photography Biennial Announced
The Rencontres de Bamako, based in Mali, Africa, is a contemporary photography biennial “dedicated to image making in Africa”. Athi-Patra Ruga, Julien Creuzet, Fethi Sahraoui, Gabrielle Goliath, and Moïse Togo are among the 2017 prize winners.
Read the full story (ArtNews)

#MeToo Performance Protesting Raghubir Singh’s Retrospective at the Met Breuer
Artist Jaishri Abichandani staged a “feminist participatory public performance” in front of the Met Breuer on December 3 in protest of Raghubir Singh’s current show. Abichandani has alleged that Singh sexually abused her in the 1990s. Participants wore gags and held signs that read #MeToo while Abichandani held a sign declaring, “I SURVIVED … RAGHUBIR SINGH # ME TOO!” The Met supported the protest performance in an email sent prior to the event, inviting the South Asian Women’s Creative Collective to a discussion and adding, “Let me underscore The Met’s support of your courage to speak out.”
Read the full story (Hyperallergic)

Miami Art Week Is Happening Now
For one week every year, the art world takes over Miami with countless fairs, events, and parties. To keep up with this year’s festivities and Art Miami news, ArtNews created a constantly updated coverage story with all of the freshest news from the week.
Read the full story (ArtNews)