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The week in art news – Marian Goodman closes London gallery

Plus: Baltimore Museum of Art board chair defends deaccessioning sales | Lost Jacob Lawrence painting found after six decades | Stéphane Aquin appointed director of Montreal Museum of Fine Art | Deana Lawson wins 2020 Hugo Boss Prize

23 October 2020

The London outpost of Marian Goodman Gallery is to close at the end of 2020. The announcement mentions ‘dramatic changes’ in the art world in recent years as well as the coronavirus crisis, with Brexit introducing particular uncertainty to the market in London. The space in Golden Square first opened in 2014 with an exhibition of work by Gerhard Richter. It will close with a Robert Smithson show, while the New York and Paris galleries will continue as before. A small London team will continue to put on exhibitions and artist projects in the city, beginning in autumn 2021, although no details are available yet.

The chair of the board of trustees of the Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) has defended the sale of paintings by Clyfford Still, Brice Marden and Andy Warhol. In an open letter Clair Zamoiski Segal writes, ‘I have grown increasingly troubled by the suggestion that the BMA’s leadership has been derelict in its duty as stewards of the museum and its responsibility to the community.’ Segal’s statement comes after an initial group of 23 former trustees and donors wrote to Maryland’s attorney general and secretary of state on 14 October asking for an investigation into the private sale of the Warhol and the auction of the Still and Marden paintings at Sotheby’s on 28 October. Signatories to this first letter now number more than 180 and include Arnold Lehman, a former director of the BMA, and the art historian Michael Fried. The BMA maintains the sale of the works is to establish a $65m ‘Endowment for the Future’ that will go towards the care of the collection, advance pay equity among its staff and fund access and diversity programmes – and observes current deaccessioning guidelines.

A lost panel from Jacob Lawrence’s Struggle series has been found after being missing for 60 years. A visitor to the exhibition ‘Jacob: Lawrence: The American Struggle’, currently at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, thought that the missing panel (one of five that have been lost) might have been hanging for years in the home of her neighbours and encouraged them to contact the museum. The neighbours, who wish to remain anonymous, contacted the Met and, after being authenticated, the painting – which depicts Shays’ Rebellion – is now part of the exhibition.

Stéphane Aquin has been appointed director of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA). Currently chief curator at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C., Aquin is a Montreal native who has had two spells at the MMFA, most recently as curator of contemporary art from 1998 to 2015. His appointment comes after a turbulent few months at the institution in which the former director, Nathalie Bondil, was sacked; more than 100 current and former staff signed an open letter supporting her dismissal; the government of Quebec published the heavily redacted results of its inquiry into the sacking; the chair of the museum’s board of trustees resigned; and Bondil announced she is suing the MMFA for $2 million (CAD). Aquin will take up his new post in November.