London art teacher wins $1 million award

Plus: Shenzhen Biennale fires curator over sexual misconduct allegations | Gallerist donates James Joyce holdings to Morgan Library | Sotheby’s to bring first Old Master painting to Middle East | Kairos prize awarded to Frankfurt director | and recommended reading

19 March 2018

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

London art teacher wins $1m award | An art and textiles teacher working in a secondary school in north-west London has been awarded the $1m Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize 2018. Andria Zafirakou, who teaches at the Alperton Community School, is the first UK recipient of the award, which was established by education charity the Varkey Foundation in 2015 and is offered under the patronage of Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum to honour a teacher who has made ‘an outstanding contribution to the profession’.

Shenzhen Biennale fires curator over sexual misconduct allegations | The Shenzhen Biennale last week announced the dismissal of Gary Xu, one of three curators of the biennial’s inaugural edition, in light of allegations of harassment and abuse against Xu which recently began circulating online. According to ArtForum, in a (now-deleted) post on social media, writer and professor Wang Ao accused Xu, who is currently a professor at the Sichuan Fine Art Institutes, of repeated sexual misconduct with his students over a period of 20 years. Xu denies the allegations.

Gallerist donates James Joyce holdings to Morgan Library | New York art dealer and gallerist Sean Kelly and his wife Mary Kelly have donated their extensive collection of work by James Joyce to the Morgan Library & Museum in New York. With nearly 400 works in total, the collection includes signed first editions and a fragment of the Ulysses manuscript. The Morgan is now planning a a major exhibition on Joyce, scheduled for 2022 – to coincide with the centenary of the publication of Ulysses.

Sotheby’s to bring first Old Master painting to Middle East | A display at Sotheby’s Dubai gallery this week will include the first Old Master painting ever exhibited by the auction house in the Middle East. The work, a 1620s portrait by Peter Paul Rubens, is heading to auction at Sotheby’s London in July. In the Art Newspaper’s report, its suggested that the work’s appearance is a response to the growing interest in Old Masters among collectors in the Gulf, as reflect in the Louvre Abu Dhabi’s purchase of Leonardo’s Salvator Mundi last November.

Kairos prize awarded to Frankfurt director | The €75,000 Kairos Prize, which recognises European artists and academics who have made major contributions to the arts, has been awarded to Jan Kerchow, director of the Historisches Museum in Frankfurt, reports ArtForum. The prize board have praised the ‘community building’ ethos of Kerchow’s projects.

Recommended reading | In The New York Review of Books, Jason Farrago thinks about the flags of Jasper Johns, whose catalogue raisonné was recently published. In 4columns, Johanna Fateman reviews Zoe Leonard’s retrospective at the Whitney Museum, admiring the ‘confidently loose grip’ of the artist on her works. And in The Guardian, Charlotte Higgins talks to artist Sonia Boyce about the recent furore over the temporary removal of Hylas and the Nymphs (1896) at Manchester Art Gallery (on the work’s much earlier reception history, see Peter Trippi’s essay for Apollo).