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New York Dealer Claims He Discovered Stash of De Koonings Worth Millions In Storage Locker

In further news: photojournalism has its #MeToo moment; Nan Goldin stages anti-opioid protest at Harvard; Man Booker longlist announced

Willem de Kooning in 1978. Courtesy: Getty Images; photograph: Bernard Gotfryd

Willem de Kooning in 1978. Courtesy: Getty Images; photograph: Bernard Gotfryd

Willem de Kooning in 1978. Courtesy: Getty Images; photograph: Bernard Gotfryd

New York gallerist David Killen claims to have found six Willem de Kooning paintings in a ‘junk-filled’ storage locker that he bought for USD$15,000. Killen purchased the contents of the locker last year – the stash of 200 artworks came from the studio of late art conservator Orrin Riley and his partner Susanne Schnitzler. Although the paintings are not signed, De Kooning expert Lawrence Castagna has confirmed that the works, which could fetch between USD$30,000 and tens of millions of dollars, are by the abstract expressionist. A painting believed to be by Swiss-German modernist Paul Klee was also found in the locker. An auction of the paintings will take place in October. ‘I’m ready for membership in the million-dollar club,’ Killen said.

The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts has sent a letter to the University of Kansas, urging them to restore a censored artwork. A paint-spattered American flag by German artist Josephine Meckseper was removed by the university following complaints by Republican politicians – it was the final instalment in public art nonprofit Creative Time’s series of protest banners ‘Pledges of Allegiance’. In the letter, Joel Wachs, president of the Warhol Foundation, writes: ‘It is crucial that the work be seen as the artist intended and not be censored as a result of political pressure.’

A third of performing arts students have experienced sexual harassment, a new UK study finds. Dignity in Study, a survey carried out by the Musicians’ Union, Equity and the Incorporated Society of Musicians has found that of 600 drama, music and dance students, more than half (51%) have experienced sexual harassment, bullying or inappropriate behaviour and 73% of the victims were female. Of those who had experienced such an incident, 27% had experienced sexual harassment and 42% said the perpetrator had been a member of staff. The report comes after new guidelines issued by the Standing Conference of University Drama Departments were recently drawn up to prevent sexual harassment in higher-education drama departments.

Nan Goldin and her anti-opioid group P.A.I.N. have staged a protest at Harvard Art Museums in Cambridge, Massachusetts, targeting the particular members of the Sackler family who own the Oxycontin-manufacturers Purdue Pharma. The photographer and activist group held the ‘Shame on Sackler’ protest in partnership with Harvard University medical students last Friday, condemning the pharmaceutical company whose controversial painkiller has been linked to opioid overdose deaths in the US. The activists reportedly handed out pamphlets, dropped empty pill bottles onto the atrium floor and performed a ‘die-in’. This is the latest in a series of protests staged by Goldin who in March of this year, held a similar protest in the Met’s Sacker Wing.

Photojournalism is having its #MeToo movement after an in-depth Columbia Journalism Review investigation revealed the troubling extent of harassment and inappropriate behaviour in the profession. The damning report is based on interviews with more than 50 photojournalists who describe incidents with editors and colleagues ranging from assault to unwanted advances. The report finds that one crucial factor that has contributed to the flourishing of harassment in the industry is the frequent use of freelance labour and the unequal power imbalance this encourages. Women of colour are also vulnerable targets because they may have more to lose by speaking out ‘as an already marginalized population’, and are less likely to be included in ‘whisper networks’ female professionals use to warn each other about potential perpetrators. Read the report over here.

Minneapolis’s Walker Art Center has formed an Indigenous Public Art Selection Committee, following a controversial sculpture by Sam Durant which the Walker hosted last year. The committee, made up of Native curators and art professionals, will be responsible for selecting a new public artwork commission by a Native artist for the art centre’s sculpture garden in 2020. Last year, Durant’s sculpture Scaffold, which drew on the historic hanging of 38 Dakota men in 1868, received a public backlash from local Native American communities. The artist and the museum later dismantled the work.

A new campaign, ‘Hundred Heroines’, is celebrating women in photography. The project, which will ask the general public to nominate modern day photography heroines, has been initiated by The Royal Photographic Society and will champion women in photography to time with the centenary celebrations of the women’s suffrage movement. The aim of the campaign is to increase awareness and visibility of women in a field that is still heavily dominated by men and comes after criticism of photography festival Les Rencontres d’Arles 2018’s male-heavy programme. Nominations will open throughout the summer, closing 30 September, with an exhibition in 2019.

And finally, the 2018 Man Booker longlist has been announced. The authors in the running for this year’s GBP£50,00 prize will be adjudicated by a panel including philosopher Kwame Anthony Appiah, feminist writer and critic Jacqueline Rose, and artist and graphic novelist Leanne Shapton. Chosen from 171 submissions, the 13 long-listed books are by Belinda Bauer, Anna Burns, Nick Drnaso, Esi Edugyan, Guy Gunaratne, Daisy Johnson, Rachel Kushner, Sophie Mackintosh, Michael Ondaatje, Richard Powers, Robin Robertson, Sally Rooney and Donal Ryan. Nick Drnaso’s Sabrina marks the first time a graphic novel has been in the running for the celebrated book prize.

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