Campaigners Demand Tate Cut Ties With Art Dealer After Harassment Claims

In further news: French artists and curators rally behind Jeff Koons; Tania Bruguera named for next Turbine Hall commission

Anthony d’Offay, 2008. Courtesy: Flickr, Creative Commons; photogaph: FearfulStills

Anthony d’Offay, 2008. Courtesy: Flickr, Creative Commons; photogaph: FearfulStills

Anthony d’Offay, 2008. Courtesy: Flickr, Creative Commons; photograph: FearfulStills

We Are Not Surprised – the group campaigning against sexual harassment in the art world – is demanding that Tate sever all ties with Anthony d’Offay. The prominent art dealer and benefactor was accused of sexual misconduct by three women earlier this year. A former employee of d’Offay told the Observer newspaper that in one encounter, he ‘pulled me really tight and started kissing my neck.’ D’Offay denies the claims. The Tate and the National Galleries of Scotland promptly suspended ties with him. But now the We Are Not Surprised group is demanding that Tate ‘sever ties’ with d’Offay altogether, including removing his name from the Turbine Hall entrance. The 78-year-old dealer was also the donor behind the touring Artist Rooms initiative, and We Are Not Surprised are also asking for his name to be erased from that project. Responding to the demands, Tate has said that it is ‘unable to discuss this matter at the present time’.

Thirty-seven artists, curators and other art world professionals have published an article in Le Monde rallying behind Jeff Koons’s controversial sculpture Bouquet of Tulips (2016). The sculpture is intended as a monument to the terror attacks in Paris in 2015, but its production and installation costs as well as intended location have caused controversy. Signatories of the new op-ed, which calls the artwork a ‘message of hope’, include former culture minister Fleur Pellerin and Galerie Lelong president Jean Frémon. Paris, a city of ‘hospitality and openness’, they write, ‘must accept this gesture’. The piece follows an open letter published by artists last month in Libération which called the work inappropriate and financially reckless, stating: ‘We appreciate gifts, but free, unconditional, and without ulterior motives’.

Renovation plans for Moscow’s New Tretyakov Gallery, by Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA), led by Rem Koolhaas, have been unveiled. The redesign splits the building into four main sections for exhibitions, festivals, education and storage. Koolhaas commented: ‘Our proposal is a reconsideration of the New Tretyakov, focusing on improving its spatial infractructure and the elimination of dysfunctional parts’. The New Tretyakov is Russia’s largest museum building, housing a significant collection of suprematist, constructivist and socialist realist artworks.

Tania Bruguera will undertake the next Hyundai Commission at Tate Modern's Turbine Hall. Bruguera’s work will open in October 2018. The Cuban artist and activist, known for her engagement with socio-political ideas, has featured work in the Turbine Hall space before. In 2008, her performance work Tatlin’s Whisper #5 included mounted police officers confronting visitors with crowd control tactics, and is now part of the Tate’s collection. Tate Modern’s director Frances Morris commented: ‘Tania Bruguera is well known for the highly original and compelling way in which she addresses major political concerns of our time, not only within debates about art and art history, but also in the hope of effecting real change in the world around us.’ Bruguera was among respondents to our survey last year, asking how important art is as a form of protest. ‘Feeling good is not enough: create a political moment,’ she said.

In donations news: Los Angeles’s Hammer Museum has received the largest gift in its history, with a USD$30 million donation from philanthropists Lynda and Stewart Resnick going towards the museum’s expansion plans; and the Miami-based collector Ella Fontanals-Cisneros has anounced plans to gift Latin American artworks to the Spanish state and will also establish a Contemporary Art Collection of the Americas in Madrid’s Tabacalera building, to showcase the works.

In gallery news: Pace Gallery and Art Agency Partners (a Sotheby’s division) will represent the estate of Vito AcconciDavid Zwirner has named Harry Scrymgeour as the third director for its London space; Edinburgh’s Ingleby Gallery will relocate to a new space, the former Meeting House of the Glasite Church which dates back to the early 19th century; New York’s P.P.O.W. now represents painter Joe Houston; and Experimenter is opening a second space in Kolkata later this month.

The writer and translator Anya Berger has passed away – Tom Overton profiled her extraordinary life and work for frieze last year: ‘In different countries, under different names, she shaped the horizons of the English-speaking left on issues of race, gender and class, and it’s time this was recognized.’

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