Week in Review: Hong Kongers Circulate Radical Christmas Cards; Mexico City Museum Workers Protest Wage Delays

The many faces of the Santa Claus x LiPig crossover. (Courtesy of Freehkxmascard.)

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.

In protest of delayed payments, a group of workers at the Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes y Literatura (INBAL) in Mexico City closed the building and other institutions under INBAL’s purview on the morning of Wednesday, December 11. Hyperallergic spoke to several INBAL employees who described ongoing and increasingly dire wage delays that have endured for years without relief.

Hong Kong’s protesters are subverting the holiday season with radical Christmas cards. Hong Kong protesters are remixing the Christmas card tradition under the #freehkxmascard hashtag and decorating cards with memes and slogans from the ongoing movement.

Kristen Hatgi Sink, “Blue Ribbon Fruit” (courtesy Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, color-blind version courtesy of EnChroma, Inc.)

The Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver began its partnership with EnChroma glasses, which offers lenses engineered for people with color vision deficiency.

The Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum in Hawai’i will eliminate single-use plastic products. It plans to install water bottle stations and educational signage promoting the benefits of reducing the use of plastics and creating a waste-free lunch as part of field trips.

Panorama of hunting scene (image courtesy Adam Brumm, Ratno Sardi, and Adhi Agus Oktaviana)

An Indonesian cave painting could be the oldest ever discovered. After a recent expedition and more thorough study, scientists have announced that the 16-foot cave painting on the island of Sulawesi could be 44,000 years old.

A campaign to fight racism against Black players in soccer stadiums backfired as it presented controversial images of primates to advance its message of tolerance.

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation pulled a $1.5 million grant to University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC). The foundation says the university’s decision to hand over a contested statue to the Sons of Confederate Veterans group, along with $2.5 million, is at odds with the grant’s purpose.

Janitor’s median wage in Miami — $8.50 an hour — ranks the lowest among other major US cities. (photo courtesy of Ana Tinsley)

On Wednesday, December 11, janitors donned purple shirts adorned with a taped banana, a reference to Maurizio Cattelan’s “Comedian” that sold for $120,000 at Art Basel Miami Beach. The group of janitorial workers was protesting the low wages and poor working conditions common in their line of work.

A French charity is raffling a $1 million Picasso still life this coming January. The proceeds from the draw will go to providing clean water to communities in Cameroon, Madagascar, and Morocco. Tickets go for around $111 each.

Rembrandt van Rijn and Vincent van Gogh are not only in the world’s biggest museums, they’re now also represented in outer space: some of their masterpieces have now inspired the names for a planet and star, respectively called “Night Watch” and “Starry Night.”

Orazio Gentileschi, “The Finding of Moses” (via Wikimedia Commons)

London’s National Gallery raised $25.5 million to purchase Orazio Gentileschi’s nearly 10-foot-wide painting “The Finding of Moses” (c. early 1630s) from Graham Kirkham. Notable monetary contributions came from the American Friends of the National Gallery, the National Gallery Trust, and the National Heritage Memorial Fund. The acquisition is well timed: this April, the National Gallery will open an exhibition of work by Orazio’s daughter Artemisia Gentileschi, who recently set a personal auction record with her painting “Lucretia” (c. 1630). This and other notable sales and acquisitions are chronicled in our latest Transactions story.

This Week in the Art World

Art Matters Foundation announced the recipients of its 2019 grants to 29 individual artists. | Art Matters

Sandra Benites was named adjunct curator for Brazilian art at the Museu de Arte de São Paulo. | ARTnews

Aria Dean was named editor and curator of the New Museum’s nonprofit Rhizome. | ARTnews

Andrew Durbin was appointed editor in chief of frieze. | via email announcement

Ashley Harris was named executive director of the Independent Art Fair. | via email announcement

Joe D. Horse Capture and Tyree A. Boyd Pates were appointed curators at the Autry Museum of the American West. | via email announcement

Ewa Juszkiewicz is now represented by Almine Rech in Europe, UK, and China. | via email announcement

Taylor Mac was named artist in residence for WNET’s All Arts platform. | NYT

Mary Mattingly was named the Brooklyn Public Library‘s Katowitz Radin Artist in Residence for 2020. | via email announcement

Tyler Mitchell and Nina Chanel Abney were named the Gordon Parks Foundation’s 2020 fellows. | via email announcement

Serubiri Moses, Kate Fowle, Inés Katzenstein, and Ruba Katrib were tapped to curate MoMA PS1’s Greater New York. | New York Times

C. Jacqueline Wood was appointed curator at large of FotoFocus. | via email announcement

In Memoriam

Ruth Anderson (1928–2019), electronic composer | NYT

Andrew Clements (1949–2019), best-selling children’s author | Washington Post

Larry Heinemann (1944–2019), National Book award winner | Chicago Sun-Times

Ken Heyman (1930–2019), photographer | Washington Post

Anna Karina (1940–2019), actress | CNN

Panamarenko (1940–2019), sculptor and inventor | Artforum

Erica Tishman (1959–2019), architect | AIA