News Recap: April 26, 2019

A weekly update of art world news.


An Iowa Prison’s Ban on Nude Artwork and Imagery Faces Legal Challenge
Inmates at an Iowa prison have filed a lawsuit against the Iowa Department of Corrections against a statute that bans inmates from viewing or producing images that exhibit nudity or “sexually explicit” content. Inmates argue that the law deprives them of joy and happiness in the arts, which prohibits them from viewing classic masterpieces that depict bare breasts or male genitalia. Iowa Department of Corrections and Iowa state legislature argue that such images interfere with the rehabilitation of inmates and that viewing nude images could increase sexual violence and aggression towards staff. Lawyers on behalf of the inmates argue that art has the capacity to inspire anyone, no matter their life situation, and that the censorship of nudity as a whole is purely unjust.
Read the full story (The Art Newspaper)

Kehinde Wiley Obama Portrait Used in Trump Fundraising Efforts for 2020
Donald Trump’s campaign has created an online gift store to raise funds for his 2020 reelection campaign. The store contains Trumpian classics such as the “MAGA” hats and “WITCH HUNT!” beer cozies. A T-shirt inspired by Kehinde Wiley’s portrait of President Barack Obama has recently been added to the inventory. Wiley’s portrait resides in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. The T-shirt image depicts Obama “spying” on Trump through photoshopped bushes made of Wiley’s symbolic floral background. The shirt also prompts viewers to text the phrase “spy” to a 5-digit number. Currently Trump’s reelection campaign has made no comment as to whether Wiley had been granted permission to use this image.
Read the full story (Hyperallergic)

Mirror Artist Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian Dies at 97
Iranian artist Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian has died at the age of 19. Her practice involved intricately alluring mosaics comprised of mirrors and glass. Born in 1922 in Gazvin, Iran, Farmanfarmaian finished university at the University of Tehran before moving to New York City in 1944. In the states she continued her studies at Cornell University, Parsons Design School, as well as the Art Students League. Returning to Tehran in the late 1950s, Farmanfarmaian began an artistic path following influence from geometric forms and traditional Iranian arts, particularly Aineh Kari, the 16th century Iranian method of making mosaics from broken pieces of imported European glasswork. About a decade later, she began to incorporate mirrors into her mosaic, a material for which she became best known. Her work now is on view across the globe in some of the most prominent collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art, and many more.
Read the full story (ArtNet News)