Today’s Google Doodle has devoted its banner to a celebration of the Museo Nacional del Prado in Madrid, in honour of its 200th anniversary. Creator Nate Swinehart wanted the Doodle to ‘both honour the museum but also make it feel accessible and fun to the viewers’. The art museum, which first opened its doors in 1819 on this day, houses an extensive collection of European art. It is currently marking its bicentenary with exhibitions of the female Renaissance artists Sofonisba Anguissola, a painter in the court of Philip II of Spain, and Lavinia Fontana, widely regarded as the first female professional artist, as a corrective to centuries of male-dominated art history. Don’t miss George Upton writing on how Anguissola explored the narrative potential of portraiture, ‘pushing the limits of the genre she was restricted to, prohibited as a woman from studying the nude figures necessary to depict history and religious paintings.’
The Baltimore Museum of Art has pledged to only acquire works of art by women for its permanent collection next year. The museum’s ‘2020 Vision’ is intended as a canon-shifting push to ‘truly be radical and emphasize to the arts communities that we are taking this initiative quite seriously’, says chief curator Asma Naeem. The museum is set to feature a year of exhibitions and programmes dedicated to female artists. Don’t miss the Baltimore’s director Christopher Bedford writing on why correcting the art historical canon is so urgent for museums to remain relevant.
The artist Nan Goldin has led a ‘die-in’ protest at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, over its Sackler courtyard – activists arrived at the V&A on Saturday, chanting ‘Sackler money, blood money’. Goldin’s action is part of her campaign to break the art world’s reliance on philanthropy from the Sackler family members who own the controversial painkiller OxyContin, linked to the US opioid crisis. Calling on the museum to drop the Sackler name, Goldin told the Observer: ‘[V&A Director] Tristram Hunt needs to be re-educated about the fact this is not history […] These deaths are happening now. And when it comes to the money donated, the V&A did not need this fancy, chic courtyard. It should concentrate on the exhibits and art inside the museum and stop this expansion.’ Earlier this year, Hunt defended the V&A’s acceptance of funds from members of the Sackler family. ‘Like many other cultural institutions, we receive very generous support from the Sackler family and we’re grateful for that,’ he told BBC Radio 4.
In further news: Sepake Angiama has been appointed the new artistic director at Iniva; White Cube now represents Kaari Upson; Sean Kelly Gallery represents Wu Chi-Tsung; the Hugo Boss Prize shortlist for 2020 is out – the artists are Nairy Baghramian, Kevin Beasley, Deana Lawson, Elias Sime, Cecilia Vicuña, and Adrián Villar Rojas; and Stephanie Comilang has won the 2019 Sobey Art Award.