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Pyotr Pavlensky has been sentenced for his Paris fire ‘performance’

Plus: El Museo del Barrio cancels plans to honour German princess | New Museum workers start process of unionising | and recommended reading

11 January 2019

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

Pyotr Pavlensky has been sentenced for his Paris fire ‘performance’ | The Russian performance artist Pyotr Pavlensky was sentenced to three years in prison after a French court found him guilty of setting fire to a Bank of France building at Paris’s Bastille in 2017. Of the three years handed down, two were suspended and the remaining year has already been served during Pavlensky’s pre-trial detention, so he will not serve any jail time. During the trial Pavlensky declared that he was dedicating the trial to the Marquis de Sade.

El Museo del Barrio cancels plans to honour German socialite | Harlem’s El Museo del Barrio announced yesterday that it had cancelled plans to honour the German socialite Gloria von Thurn und Taxis at a gala in May. The decision to include her among the museum’s honorees was criticised by Latinx members of the art world, who find her links with Trump campaign chief executive Steve Bannon and controversial comments she made about the African AIDS crisis in 2001 at odds with the institution’s values and origins. In a statement announcing the decision the museum declared its commitment to the ‘principles of inclusion, civil rights and diversity’.

New Museum workers start to unionise | Workers at New York’s New Museum have started the process of unionising under the name NewMuU-UAW Local 2110. Stating their intentions in a press release yesterday, the workers involved hope ‘to effectively advocate for changes in staff conditions’ and bring greater inclusivity to the museum’s ‘working conditions, hiring practices, wages and benefits’. The release also claimed that consulting firm Adams Nash Haskell & Sheridan are working with the New Museum on a ‘harsh anti-union campaign’.

Recommended reading | In The New Yorker, Jake Halpern profiles Vjeran Tomic or ‘spiderman’, notorious for his 104m art heist at Paris’s Musee d’art Moderne in 2010. Nadja Sayej speaks to Kehinde Wiley about portraying black subjects for the Guardian. Krithika Varagur interviews Singaporean artist Seelan Palay, who was arrested and imprisoned for a peaceful performance, about his experiences for the Los Angeles Review of Books.

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