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Open letter calls for MoMA trustee Larry Fink to divest from private prisons

11 October 2019

Open letter calls for MoMA and trustee Larry Fink to divest from private prisons | An open letter signed by more than 200 artists, academics, and curators criticises the Museum of Modern Art’s ‘connections to mass incarceration, global dispossession and climate change’ was published on Thursday on the website of New Sanctuary Coalition, an immigrant rights group. The letter specifically calls for museum board member Larry Fink, the CEO of investment firm BlackRock, to divest from private prisons. Signatories include artists Andrea Fraser, Hito Steyerl, and Tania Bruguera and the art historians Claire Bishop and Hal Foster.

Gladiator fresco uncovered in Pompeii | A fresco depicting two gladiators at the end of a battle – one holding a sword and the other wounded and without his shield – has been discovered in Pompeii, Italian Culture Minister Dario Franceschini announced today. The fresco was found in what would have been a basement; the space possibly served as a shop. ‘The discovery of this fresco shows that Pompeii is an inexhaustible mine for research and knowledge for archaeologists,’ Franceschini said.

 Nan Goldin and PAIN protest at Purdue Pharma bankruptcy hearings | Artist Nan Goldin and activists from Prescription Addiction Intervention Now (PAIN) and Truth Pharm protested outside a courthouse in White Plains, New York on Thursday while lawyers for Purdue Pharma, the manufacturer of  Oxycontin, negotiated the company’s bankruptcy inside. Purdue Pharma and members of the Sackler family are in the process of settling thousands of lawsuits brought by municipal and state governments; the Sacklers named in the lawsuit have agreed to pay some $3 billion over the course of several years and relinquish control of the company. ‘Artists need to step up and put their bodies on the line,’ Goldin told The Art Newspaper. ‘It’s not going to hurt their careers. And in this day and age, a career is not as important as fighting these systems.’

 Recommended reading | Critics respond to the reopening of the Museum of Modern Art in New York following a $450 million renovation and a rehang of the work inside. In ARTnews, Andrew Russeth reports that it is ‘Sumptuous, luxurious, and wisely conceived’. The New York Times art critic Holland Cotter writes of the rehang: ‘On the evidence of what I see in the reopened museum, a bunch of very smart curators are putting their heads together to work from inside to begin to turn a big white ship in another direction.’ Michael Kimmelman, a Times’ architecture critic, compares the new lobby to an Apple store.