BP’s Controversial British Museum Sponsorship Ends, Tate Modern’s Sook-Kyung Lee to Lead the Whitworth, and More: Morning Links for June 5, 2023
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HANS-PETER FELDMANN, the revered German conceptual artist whose deadpan projects quietly carry dashes of wit and profundity, has died at the age of 82 , Alex Greenberger reports in ARTnews . Those efforts included an installation displaying the front pages of more than 100 newspapers immediately following the September 11, 2011, terrorist attacks, and another that involved pinning 100,000 one-dollar bills—his award for winning the Guggenheim’s Hugo Boss Prize —to the walls of that New York museum. “Many of Feldmann’s artworks would have been considered stunts if they were done by lesser artists,” Greenberger writes. In a statement, his galleries said in part, “His unique personality and his artistic understanding of the world we are living in will stay alive in the art he has left behind.”
PATRON POLITICS. It’s official: After a 27-year partnership, BP (née British Petroleum) is no longer a sponsor of the British Museum , according to disclosure documents reviewed by the Guardian . The oil giant’s funding for the institution had been a long-running target of climate activists, and many other U.K. arts institutions have concluded their arrangements with the firm. “It is important that institutions like the British Museum do not give Big Oil the opportunity to look like a force for good in society,” novelist (and former British Museum trustee) Ahdaf Soueif told the paper. The company itself did not comment, and the museum shared this comment with the outlet: “BP is a valued long term supporter of the museum, and our current partnership runs until this year.”
Brooklyn Museum director Anne Pasternak made the case for her institution’s latest show, “It’s Pablomatic: Picasso According to Hannah Gadsby ,” which has been receiving quite negative reviews. “Ours is an exhibition that invites complexity,” she writes. “And I’m confident Picasso can handle a little complexity.” [The Art Newspaper]
The recent decision by Nigeria’s outgoing president to transfer ownership of returned Benin Bronzes to a descendent of that kingdom’s ruler has led some to question whether museums should continue to repatriate the stolen artifacts. [The New York Times]
Sook-Kyung Lee —the artistic director of the current Gwangju Biennale and senior curator of international art at Tate Modern —has been hired as director of the Whitworth at the University of Manchester in England. The museum’s previous leader, Alistair Hudson , was reportedly forced out over a pro-Palestinian statement by an exhibiting collective. [University of Manchester/Press Release]
The Rijksmuseum ’s blockbuster Vermeer show ended on Sunday, after welcoming 650,000 over 16 weeks. A small consolation for the many who were unable to get tickets: Six Vermeer s are remaining on view at the Amsterdam institution: four from its collection and two on loan. [ARTnews and The Associated Press/ABC News]
What could have been? In an interview, designer Gaetano Pesce revealed that he almost collaborated with Piero Manzoni , who died in 1963, at only 29. “He was very conceptual, a very intelligent artist,” Pesce said. “We had an exchange of letters; we discussed working on a round theatre project.” [Financial Times]
ZWIRNER UPDATE. Dealer David Zwirner just opened his long-awaited Los Angeles branch , and Nate Freeman ’s Vanity Fair column is about how it all came together. Also, Zwirner’s 52 Walker space in Lower Manhattan recently opened a library , Curbed reports. Anyone can sign up to borrow books.
SHOPTALK. Artist Oscar Murillo gave a candid interview to the Guardian with more good lines than can be quoted here, but one highlight is his assessment of his decision to split the 2019 Turner Prize with its other nominees: “a win-win for everybody at the end, because the Tate [which organises the prize] was seen as progressive, but I think they are not progressive at all!” He also talked a bit about the process behind his messy abstract paintings. “I work on canvases over years,” he said. “It’s like making really good wine, it takes years.” [The Guardian]