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The week in art news – Ukraine calls for cultural boycott of Russia

9 December 2022

The Ukrainian culture minister has called for a boycott of Russian cultural productions. Writing in the Guardian on Wednesday (7 December), Oleksandr Tkachenko argued that the Kremlin is ‘trying to destroy our culture and memory’ by razing libraries and erasing the word ‘Ukraine’, while using great works of Russian culture to justify its invasion. As a result, Tkachenko asks for performances of Russian composers such as Tchaikovsky to be ‘paused’, and for the focus to be turned instead to works of Ukrainian music, literature and art, until the invasion ceases.

It has been revealed that a number of looted antiquities returned to Turkey and Italy in recent months were seized by authorities from the home of the philanthropist Shelby White in New York. White, a trustee of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, has come under scrutiny for her collection of ancient art before; in 2008, she handed over 10 artefacts to Italian authorities and two to Greece. Search warrants issued by the Manhattan District Attorney’s office, and seen by the Art Newspaper, list the possession of works that constitute evidence of the criminal possession of stolen property.

The Penske Media Corporation has purchased Artforum. Penske Media, a conglomerate that owns a host of publications including Rolling Stone and Variety, bought ArtNews and Art in America in 2018; it now owns the three most influential art publications in the United States.

Gerhard Richter has signed exclusively to David Zwirner, after more than three decades of representation by Marian Goodman Gallery. The German painter, who is now 90, said in a statement: ‘I have known David since his childhood as I had already in the 1960s worked closely with his father, Rudolf Zwirner. I feel this represents a beautiful continuity across generations.’

In recent appointments – Caro Howell has been appointed the new director-general of the Imperial War Museums. Howell, who is currently director of the Foundling Museum in London, takes over from Diane Lees.  Jonathan Binstock is the new director of the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C.; a specialist in modern and contemporary art, Binstock has been director of the Memorial Art Gallery at the University of Rochester since 2014. The next president of the American Museum of Natural History, replacing Ellen V. Futter who has held the role for 30 years, is Sean M. Decatur, a biophysical chemist who is currently president of Kenyon College. In the commercial sector, Samanthe Rubell is the new president of Pace gallery (while Marc Glimcher remains as CEO), and Bart Drenth is the new global managing director of TEFAF, with oversight of events both in Maastricht and New York. Meanwhile, Patti Wong is retiring as international chairman of Sotheby’s after three decades with the auction house.