Our daily round-up of news from the art world
NEA receives $2m boost in funding | US cultural organisations have expressed relief after congressional leaders reached an agreement that will increase funding to the National Endowment for the Arts by $2m, reports the LA Times. The announcement has come as a surprise to many, after President Donald Trump’s threats to cut government funding to the NEA. ‘This agreement is a good agreement for the American people and takes the threat of a government shutdown off the table,’ said New York senator Chuck Schumer. Trump told Bloomberg News that he was ‘very happy with it’.
Orlan and Kader Attia speak out against Marine Le Pen | Artists Orlan and Kader Attia have denounced far right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen’s bid for the Elysée Palace, reports the Art Newspaper. Ahead of a rally organised by Culture against the Front National at the Philharmonie de Paris this evening, Orlan urged French citizens to vote for centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron, stating that Le Pen would seek to crush freedom of expression. Attia likened Le Pen’s attitude to culture to that of radical Islamists. His La Colonie space in Paris is hosting a reading of 100 anti-racist poems tonight.
Cornelia Parker named official artist of 2017 general election | Cornelia Parker has been named as the official artist of the 2017 general election, receiving a commission fee of £17,000 and travel expenses to create a work of art that will be added to the parliamentary art collection. Parker is the fifth artist to receive the commission, which was inaugurated in 2001.
Vito Acconci (1940–2017) | Artist Vito Acconci has died in New York at the age of 77. Described by the New York Times as a ‘father of performance and video art’, Acconci came to prominence in the early 1970s with a series of often provocative performance pieces, notably 1972’s Seed Bed. Towards the end of that decade, he reinvented himself as a designer of unorthodox structures, including an artificial island in Austria. He held academic positions at institutions including Yale and the Pratt Institute, and in 1980 was celebrated with a retrospective at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago.
Recommended reading | In the New Yorker, Rich Benjamin discusses what he perceives as a populist bias against the NEA (see above) and rejects the idea that it is an ‘elitist’ body. In the New York Times, meanwhile, Scott Reyburn visits several private galleries mounting politically charged exhibitions, and wonders whether there is a secure market for socially engaged art. Elsewhere, Kenny Schachter’s latest column for ArtNet News sees the dealer travelling to Sicily and Brussels, where a collector calls him ‘the Michael Jackson of the art world’.