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Artists call for cultural strike in protest at Trump inauguration

9 January 2017

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

Cultural figures plan ‘art strike’ ahead of Trump inauguration | Artists and prominent culture sector figures in the United States have called for a strike on 20 January in protest at the inauguration of Donald Trump as President. A document entitled ‘J20 Art Strike Letter’ has been published for circulation, signed by figures including Richard Serra, Barbara Kruger, and Cindy Sherman and is is addressed to museums, galleries, studios, art schools, and other cultural institutions. The text describes the planned strike as ‘not an end in itself, but rather an intervention that will ramify into the future’ in order to ‘motivate [cultural activities] anew’. While the action has been endorsed by several leading critics, some have voiced doubts. In the Guardian, Jonathan Jones describes it as a ‘futile’ gesture that smacks of ‘radical grandstanding’.

Franciscans to open new museum in Jerusalem | The Franciscan monastic order has announced that it is to open a museum in the Jerusalem headquarters of its Custody of the Holy Land branch. According to The Art Newspaper, the Terra Sancta Museum, as it will be known, will display some of the hundreds of rarely seen objects drawn from the Franciscans’ collections in Jerusalem. The project is budgeted at €4.5 million and is expected to open in 2019.

Jonathan Laib leaves Christie’s for David Zwirner | Jonathan Laib, a former senior vice president and senior specialist at Christie’s, has left the auction house to take up a position as director at New York’s David Zwirner gallery. According to Art News, Laib decided it ‘made more sense’ to work with a gallery as he was increasingly focusing on private sales in his former role. He will be dealing personally with the estate of Ruth Asawa, which Zwirner today announced it will be representing.

Recommended reading | The uncertainty ushered in by the choices of the electorate in Britain, the United States, and Italy have prompted much speculation as to the immediate future of the art market. The Art Newspaper’s Georgina Adam says that making predictions for the year ahead is ‘one of the most challenging tasks [she has] ever undertaken’, but offers her ‘tentative’ evaluation of likely scenarios. In the LRB, meanwhile, former National Gallery director Nicholas Penny reviews James Stourton’s new biography of Kenneth Clark and praises the author’s ‘open mind and generous intelligence’. Elsewhere, Observer critic Laura Cumming visits Hull as it kicks off its year as European City of Culture, and is perplexed by a local mystery: did Rembrandt, as several sources claim, spend several years living in Humberside?