The Guggenheim ends talks with Gulf Labor, while Mark Bradford will represent the US in Venice: the latest art news

  • The Guggenheim announced it has suspended talks with the artist-and-activist-led coalition Gulf Labor, who have long been protesting the working conditions of those constructing the museum’s new space in Abu Dhabi. Gulf Labor replied to the Guggenheim statement here.
  • The Los Angeles-based painter Mark Bradford will represent the USA in the 2017 Venice Biennale. Bradford is the fourth African American artist to take up residence in the US pavilion, following Robert Colescott in 1997, Fred Wilson in 2003, and Sam Gilliam, who was included in a group show in 1972.
  • The acclaimed Malian photographer Malick Sidibé died on Friday, aged 80. In 2007, Sidibé became the first photographer – and the first African – to be awarded the Golden Lion for lifetime achievement at the Venice Biennale.
  • Ann Freedman, the former director of the Knoedler Gallery, which since its closure in 2011 has faced ten lawsuits from collectors who bought fake Abstract Expressionist paintings from the gallery, has given her first interview for several years.
  • The Belgian government has retired the federal unit dedicated to preventing the illegal trafficking of cultural property. In a recent letter, Belgian interior minister Jan Jambon stated that the trafficking of antiquities is ‘not considered a priority’, despite Belgian media outlet RTBF describing the country as ‘a hub of illegal trafficking of works of art’.
  • The British artist Richard Smith died on Friday, aged 84. Smith, who rose to prominence in the 1960s and was awarded a CBE in 1971, has work held in the collections of MoMA, New York, Tate Gallery, London, and the Whitney, New York.

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