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Art News Daily

Rebecca Salter elected first female president of RA

Plus: Painting discovered in gallery wall could be stolen Klimt | Deborah Cullen-Morales steps down as director of Bronx Museum | An unconventional portrayal of Zapata sparks protests in Mexico | and May Stevens (1924–2019)

11 December 2019

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

Rebecca Salter elected first female president of RA | Rebecca Salter has been elected as the 27th president of the Royal Academy of Arts in London, succeeding Christopher Le Brun, who was elected in 2011. She will be the first woman to serve as president of the RA, and her appointment has been officially approved by the Queen. Salter, who has been keeper at the Royal Academy since 2017, first became a Royal Academician in 2014 in the category of printmaker.

Painting discovered in gallery wall could be stolen Klimt | A painting discovered hidden in an outside wall of Ricci Oddi gallery in Piacenza, Emilia Romagna could be a missing work by Gustav Klimt worth £50m, it has been reported. Portrait of a Lady (1917) was stolen from the gallery in 1997, but a painting resembling the work was discovered this week by workers clearing ivy from the wall in question, which revealed a small compartment, inside which was the plastic-wrapped canvas.

Deborah Cullen-Morales steps down as director of Bronx Museum | Deborah Cullen-Morales has stepped down as senior director of the Bronx Museum of Arts, after 18 months in the role. The museum appointed Cullen-Morales in June 2018 after the death of its former director of 11 years, Holly Block, in October 2017. She had previously directed Columbia University’s Wallach Art Gallery. The museum’s deputy director Klaudio Rodriguez has stepped in as interim director. 

An unconventional portrayal of Zapata sparks protests in Mexico | Protests erupted outside the Palace of Fine Arts in Mexico City yesterday in response to an unconventional portrait of Emiliano Zapata, a leader of the Mexican Revolution. The 2014 painting by Fabián Cháirez is included in an exhibition commemorating 100 years since Zapata’s death, and depicts him mostly naked, except for high heels and a hat, riding an explicitly aroused horse. The protestors’ chants included demands to ‘burn it’, as well as homophobic abuse. A counter-protest formed in support of the LGBT community.

May Stevens (1924–2019) | The artist, activist and writer May Stevens has died at the age of 95. Stevens was raised in Massachusetts but later moved to New York, where she became actively involved in the Civil Rights Movement. Her large-scale paintings address societal issues and she is best known for the series ‘Big Daddy’ (1967–76),  which depicted a bigoted white male persona in scenes that critique racist and patriarchal power structures. From 1961, Stevens took a teaching position at the School of Visual Arts in New York and in 1976 she co-founded the magazine Heresies: A Feminist Publication on Art and Politics.