The Environmental Footprint of NFT Art; $470M for Cultural Funding in Stimulus Package

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Week in Review is a weekly collection of news, developments, and stirrings in the art world. Subscribe to receive these posts as a weekly newsletter.

United States Politics

The recently passed $1.9 trillion COVID stimulus, called the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, includes $470 million for arts and culture relief, including $135 million to both the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The US Capitol curators have requested $25,000 in emergency conservation funding to repair art damaged when pro-Trump rioters stormed the government building on January 6.

Restitution and Repatriation

The looted status of a Nepali stele in the Dallas Museum of Art’s collection has been well documented since the 1980s. However, it wasn’t until this year that the FBI and DMA collaborated to repatriate the religious artifact. The restitution was catalyzed by a tweet calling attention to its questionable provenance by art crime professor and Hyperallergic contributor Erin Thompson.

A work by Egon Schiele, belonging to the artist’s dentist, will be returning to his heirs at the suggestion of Germany’s advisory commission on Nazi-looted art. The body also recommended the return of a painting by Erich Heckel to the heirs of Jewish journalist Max Fischer.

Artists Advocating for Cultural Reform

The artist-activist collective Godzilla withdrew from a retrospective at the Museum of Chinese in America, slated for May, citing the New York museum’s “complicity” in the city’s plan to build four new jails.

Ahead of a massive march for International Women’s Day, activists painted the names of femicide victims outside of Mexico’s presidential palace. The makeshift mural also included messages like “Trans women are part of my struggle” and “Legal abortion now.”

In Other News

Non-fungible tokens, the latest crypto-art frenzy in the cultural sector, exist on the energy costly Ethereum blockchain, which utilizes high-power processing machines that emit CO2. As market demand for NFT art increases, recently peaking with the recent sale of a Beeple NFT for $69 million, so do questions about the carbon footprint of NFTs.

Archaeologists discovered a one-of-a-kind chariot near Pompeii, preserved in ash from Mount Vesuvius. The ornate chariot includes elaborate scenes on rear medallions that refer to Eros, leading researchers to theorize that it could have been used for marriage rituals or processionals.

Awards & Accolades

Chloë Bass was named the Brooklyn Public Library’s Katowitz Radin Artist in Residence for 2021.

Lower Manhattan Cultural Council awarded $1.3 million to 284 artists and organizations. | LMCC

See the captivating shortlisted and finalist images from the 2021 Sony World Photography Awards.

Series by photographers Matika Wilbur, Karen Zusman, and Anna Boyiazis were selected for the second Leica Women Foto Project award, announced on International Women’s Day. See their projects here.

Transitions

Kader Attia was named curator of the 12th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art.

Garrett Bradley is now represented by Lisson Gallery.

Adam Broomberg is now represented by signs and symbols.

Lauren Haynes was named senior curator at Duke University’s Nasher Museum of Art. | CultureType

Nancy Holt is now represented by Sprüth Magers.

Marcus Margerum was appointed deputy director and chief business officer of the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati.

In Memoriam

Wilhelmina “Billie” Cole Holladay (1922–2021), founder of the National Museum of Women in the Arts | Georgetowner

Barbara Ess (1944–2021), avant-garde musician and photographer | New York Times

Charles Hill (1947–2021), detective who discovered Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” after it was stolen from the National Gallery in Oslo | Texarkana Gazette

Norton Juster (1929–2021), architect and author of children’s classic The Phantom Tollbooth Guardian

Ralph Peterson Jr. (1962–2021), bandleader, jazz drummer, professor | Boston Globe

Aaron Rose (1936–2021), photographer, filmmaker, and writer | New York Times

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