Photographer David Goldblatt, Chronicler of Apartheid in South Africa, has Died at 87
In other news: gallerist arrested in Purdue Pharma demo; artists protest Trump’s child separation policy with ‘We make kids disappear’ billboard
The South African photographer David Goldblatt has passed away at the age of 87. The news was confirmed by Goodman Gallery. ‘He was an incredibly important voice during the apartheid years documenting history, politics and how they affected society,’ Goodman Gallery owner Liza Essers said. ‘We all see him as a father – his trust and photography will continue supporting young people. He continued even in the last weeks of his life supporting young photographers.’ Goodman Gallery, with locations in Johannesburg and Cape Town, will continue to represent the photographer’s legacy and estate. Goldbatt, born in Randfontein in 1930, was best known as a chronicler of life in Apartheid-era South Africa. His many prestigious awards include the Henri Cartier-Bresson Award for photography in 2009. Don’t miss Osei Bonsu writing on the photographer’s work, assessing ‘what it means to stand still and bear witness.’
A gallerist has been arrested after refusing to remove a giant spoon sculpture placed outside pharmaceutical company Purdue Pharma’s headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut. Fernando Luis Alvarez, who runs Alvarez Gallery in Stamford, was led away in handcuffs after refusing to remove the protest piece from Purdue Pharma’s driveway. The artwork, made by Boston-based sculptor Domenic Esposito, will appear in an exhibition titled ‘Opioid: Express Yourself’ at the gallery. The steel spoon took six weeks to make – the idea came from the artist’s personal experience: a relative of Esposito began using the painkiller OxyContin, manufactured by Purdue Pharma, which led him to heroin. In a statement on Friday, a Purdue Pharma spokesperson commented, ‘We share the protesters’s concern about the opioid crisis and respect their right to peacefully express themselves.’
San Francisco artist collective Indecline have protested Donald Trump’s child separation policy with a ‘We make kids disappear’ guerrilla art billboard. The Bay Area artists turned a 1-800-GOT-JUNK advert which featured an image of a shocked child into a piece that read, ‘We make kids disappear’. The billboard was located along Interstate 80 leading to the Bay Bridge and San Francisco – it has since been removed. Speaking to the Washington Post, the collective said that the vandalized billboard was a response to the US President’s ‘willingness to inflict immense trauma on young children and their families under his banner of xenophobia’.
Creative Scotland must address its ‘strategic failings’, a Holyrood inquiry has concluded. The findings of the Scottish parliamentary investigation comes after widespread criticism of arts funding body Creative Scotland’s decision to cut funding for several organizations earlier this year. A 12-page letter from the culture committee singles out Creative Scotland’s handling of the regular funding decision-making process as ‘well below the standard that is expected from a non-departmental public body.’ The letter also says that ‘Creative Scotland should have made a decision about touring companies’ eligibility for regular funding before applications were opened and communicated its decision clearly to the sector.’ The funding body also held an emergency meeting in February to reconsider some applications, without telling the wider sector – a decision that has ‘undermined the sector’s confidence in Creative Scotland’s decision-making and underlying strategic approach to funding’, the committee say. Organizations that lost regular funding this year include Glasgow’s Transmission Gallery – the celebrated gallery said that the funding body was withdrawing support from outfits that maintained a principled stance against professionalization.
In appointments news: Architect and curator Eva Franch I Gilabert has been appointed the permanent director of the Architectural Association school in London. Currently chief curator and executive director of Storefront for Art and Architecture in New York, she will be the youngest and first woman ever to hold the post; meanwhile Deputy Director and Chief Curator Jennifer Chi has left the Brooklyn Museum – her tenure began only last November.
The world’s ‘largest interactive digital art museum’ has opened in Tokyo. The MORI Building DIGITAL ART MUSEUM: team Lab Borderless opened in Tokyo’s Odaiba district, and combines science, art, technology, design and natural world simulations generated by 520 computers and 470 projectors. Within 9,940 square metres of space, there are 50 interactive displays and visitors are encouraged to engage with the works. The museum is a partnership between developer Mori Building and art collective teamLab which is made up of engineers, computers animators, artists and architects who refer to themselves ‘ultra-technologists.’
A Saudi prince has donated USD$9 Million to the Berlin Museum of Islamic Art. Alwaleed Philanthropies, Alwaleed Bin Talal’s Riyadh-based charitable foundation, has gifted the museum – housed in Berlin’s Pergamon Museum – a multi-million dollar donation to be distributed over the next 10 years. The money will help support exhibition and educational programming, the funding of a permanent display of Islamic art following the Pergamon’s extensive renovation project in 2026 and also, the institution’s Multaka programme, which trains Syrian and Iraqi refugees to be museum guides.
And finally, a pharmaceutical company is funding a three-year ‘beauty restoration’ project at the State Hermitage museum in St Petersburg. Hungarian firm Gedeon Richter, makers of gynaecological products, has signed a letter of intent to support the museum in restoring works of art that relate to the concept of female beauty. The first piece of funding will go towards the restoration of the marble ‘Gatchina Venus’, a Roman copy of an original Greek sculpture, from the third or second century BCE.