Arthur Jafa and Lithuanian Pavilion Awarded Golden Lions at 58th Venice Biennale

In further news: Giudecca Art District opens in Venice; gallery sued over fake Bonnard; Decolonize This Place activist arrested

BY Frieze News Desk in Critic's Guides | 14 MAY 19

Arthur Jafa, 2019. Courtesy: Venice Biennale

The jury for the 58th Venice Biennale has presented its Golden Lion awards to artist Arthur Jafa, recognized as best participant for the film The White Album, and the Lithuanian Pavilion, which won best international pavilion for the indoor beach opera-performance Sun & Sea (Marina) by the artists Lina Lapelyte, Vaiva Grainyte and Rugile Barzdziukaite, curated by Lucia Pietroiusti. The Silver Lion for promising young participant went to the artist Haris Epaminonda for her video Chimera (2019) and special mentions were given to the artists Teresa Margolles and Otobong Nkanga as well as the Belgian Pavilion by artists Jos de Gruyter & Harald Thys. The jury previously announced that the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement had been awarded to the artist Jimmie Durham. Follow all our coverage of the 58th Venice Biennale here.

A new Venice art district opened on the former industrial island of Giudecca, south of the central islands, on Thursday 9 May. Named Giudecca Art District (GAD), as reported by Artnet News, the area opened during the preview week of the Venice Biennale. Launched by curators Valentina Gioia Levy and Pier Paolo Scelsi, GAD is staging shows around the island grouped under the title ‘Take Care of Your Garden. Cultivating a New Humanism.’ Works by artists including Yoko Ono, Kendell Geers and Jelili Atiku are featured.

An activist associated with the group Decolonize This Place has been arrested. According to Artnews, activist Yates McKee was arrested by undercover New York Police Department officers at a subway station, en route to a protest at the Whitney Museum. He has been accused of defacing a subway car, following a protest in which members of the group boarded the subway with banners to publicize their campaign. A report by the police department claims McKee was ‘observed putting multiple graffiti stickers on a northbound C train without permission or authority to do so.’ Decolonize This Place are currently staging ‘Nine Weeks of Art and Action’, targeting the Whitney Museum’s Vice Chair, Warren B. Kanders, who owns Safariland, a ‘law enforcement products company’ which manufactures tear gas canisters that were used against asylum seekers along the US-Mexico border.

New York gallery Wildenstein & Co is being sued by a collector for allegedly selling a fake Pierre Bonnard painting in 1985. According to documents made public on 8 May, the plaintiff is seeking USD$275,000, the amount paid for the work, as well as USD$50,000 to cover authentication costs. The Art Newspaper reports that court papers detail the purchase of Bonnard’s Still Life with Basket of Fruit around 21 June 1985 from Wildenstein & Co. The New York gallery provided documentation stating the work’s authenticity, as well as a history purportedly proving the work’s provenance. However, the work was not listed in Bonnard’s catalogue raisonné, published in 1974. In 2018, ahead of an auction sale, the work was sent to Guy-Patrice Dauberville, a leading figure on Bonnard’s work, who issued a letter stating that the painting was not authentic. Lawyers representing the gallery said that the work, ‘consigned to Wildenstein & Co. for sale by a prominent collector in 1984, has an impeccable provenance, which was well-known at the time. The allegations in the Complaint are baseless, and Wildenstein will respond to them in court.’

Abstract painter Thomas Nozkowski has died aged 75. Known for his subtle paintings which explored perception, the artist was included in more than 300 museum and gallery exhibitions across the world, including 70 solo shows. Nozkowski’s gallery, Pace, confirmed the news. Arne and Marc Glimcher, the chairman and the president and CEO of Pace issued a statement, which said: ‘Tom was a great, innovative painter and a wonderful friend. He leaves a space that cannot easily be filled; but what an incredible gift he has been to all of us. He added brilliance to every life he touched, and his work changed the way we all see the world.’