BY Frieze News Desk in News | 26 NOV 19

Breastfeeding Mothers Protest at Mexico City’s Museum of Modern Art

In further news: staff at LA MoCA take steps to unionize; Hetain Patel wins Film London Jarman Award

BY Frieze News Desk in News | 26 NOV 19

Mothers at the 7th Mexican Breastfeeding Festival, Mexico City, 2018. Courtesy: AFP/Pedro Pardo/Getty Images

Several women in Mexico City protested at arts institutions across the capital over the weekend to draw attention to rising levels of violence. Protesters painted a barricade around the city’s Angel of Independence monument, and hung knitted purple and pink hearts, according to the Associated Press – the protective wall was installed earlier this year after feminist protesters graffitied the monument to condemn violence against women. On Sunday, women entered the Museum of Modern Art, and breastfed their babies – in protest against the arts institution’s expulsion last week of a woman who was breastfeeding inside the museum (citing a museum rule against drinking inside the galleries). One protester Xemina Rueda said: ‘This shame we feel is the thought that breasts are for something sexual and not something as natural as feeding’. Museum director Natalia Pollak later clarified that the museum now has a policy of allowing breastfeeding inside the building.

More than 120 employees at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles are taking steps to unionize. They join a nation-wide push to form unions at arts institutions, including recently at the Guggenheim and the New Museum, in an effort to secure better working conditions. On 22 November, more than 50 workers from different departments at the museum, presented a statement of intent to the museum’s senior management, citing wages, working conditions and a ‘lack of transparency’ as reasons for the shift to a union. Gallery attendant and organizing committee member Christine Samples told the Los Angeles Times: ‘We know that forming a union is the best way to protect not only our well-being, but to advocate for the people who work here for years to come.’ The museum said in a statement: ‘While we respect the right of employees to decide whether or not they wish to be represented by a union, we do not believe that this union is in the best interest of our employees or the museum’.

Hetain Patel is the recipient of the 2019 Film London Jarman Award. The artist was presented with the GBP£10,000 award at a ceremony at the Barbican Centre in London. Patel’s practice cuts across performance, photography and film, exploring marginalized identities. His 2015 work The Jump recreates a childhood memory of leaping off a family sofa dressed as Spiderman. Chief Executive of Film London Adrian Wootton commented: ‘By seamlessly combining artists’ and mainstream filmmaking through technology, subject and popular-culture, Hetain reflects an exciting moment in artists’ moving image and its potential to showcase diverse themes and reach new audiences’. The shortlist this year included Cécile B Evans, Beatrice Gibson, Mikhail Karikis, Imran Perretta and Rehana Zaman.

And in further news: Hauser & Wirth have postponed an Annie Leibovitz exhibition in Hong Kong as protests continue to roil across the city; María Berrío is now represented by Victoria Miro; Nairy Baghramian and Maria Hassabi have won Performa’s Malcolm McLaren Award.