in News | 14 NOV 17

Marina Abramović won’t be returning funds raised for cancelled performance space

In other headlines: Journalists interrogated while covering Louvre Abu Dhabi; Laura Owens’s Whitney show hit by anti-gentrification activists

in News | 14 NOV 17

Marina Abramović with MAI model. Courtesy: the artist and OMA

Marina Abramović raised USD$2.2 million, including USD$661,452 through a Kickstarter campaign and the rest from private donations for a new performance centre in Hudson, New York, to be designed by Rem Koolhaas. The building plans were cancelled last month, and now it looks like the 4,765 Kickstarter supporters won’t be getting their donations back. The institute put the money towards employing Koolhaas to develop building schematics as well as other ongoing operations: ‘The funds were raised not for the renovation itself but specifically for the schematics and the feasibility study’, a spokesperson for the institute told the New York Post. Promised rewards for donations, which ranged from an artist's hug for USD$1 all the way to a night of ‘spirit cooking’ with Abramović for USD$10,000, were met according to Kickstarter, except for a few when donors failed to reply in time. 

A pair of Swiss journalists have been arrested and questioned while reporting on the opening of the new Louvre Abu Dhabi. Serge Enderlin and Jon Bjorgvinsson – accredited journalists for Swiss public broadcaster RTS, who had filmed the opening ceremony of the museum and interviewed architect Jean Nouvel earlier in the week – were detained on 9 November while filming migrant workers in the town of Mussafah, on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi. They were later separated, blindfolded, had their equipment confiscated and each interrogated for 50 hours in total, according to a statement from RTS. The labour conditions surrounding the building of the museum, as well as similar projects in Abu Dhabi, have come under criticism over the years – one construction worker on the Louvre Abu Dhabi project died onsite in 2015. The journalists were released on Saturday evening.

The Laura Owens survey at New York's Whitney Museum has been hit by anti-gentrification protesters from the group Boyle Heights Alliance Against Artwashing and Displacement – members of the group were present at the opening reception, accusing the artist and her dealer Gavin Brown of being part of a wave of gallery gentrification in Los Angeles’s Boyle Heights neighbourhood. The protesters’s demands included that the artist leave her studio and nonprofit arts space 356 Mission Road (founded by Owens, Brown and Wendy Yao), chanting: ‘Leave our hoods and do what’s right: Give your keys to Boyle Heights!’ Earlier this year nonprofit space PSSST closed in Boyle Heights, citing harassment from anti-gentrification activists.

The New Museum has announced the artist list for its 2018 Triennial (now in its fourth edition), which runs from 13 February to 27 May 2018. Titled ‘Songs for Sabotage’, curated by Gary Carrion-Murayari and Alex Gartenfeld, the exhibition focuses in structures hooked to histories of colonialism, instutionalized racism, and obstructions to collectivity. The show seeks ‘a call for action, an active engagement, and an interference in political and social structures.' Artists include Daniela Ortiz, Song Ta and Shen Xin. Find the full list over here

A group of British academics have written an open letter to The Times to protest the reproduction fees charged by institutions such as the Tate and the British Museum, for including images of historic artworks in academic publications. The letter called it a ‘tax on scholarship’. Signatories include Martin Kemp, David Solkin, Simon Schama and the editors of The Burlington Magazine. ‘Fees charged for academic use pose a serious threat to art history’, they wrote, urging the UK's national museums to provude open access to images of publicly owned, out of copyright artworks.

And finally, in a mysterious twist, photographs of Carolee Schneeman taken by Alex V. Sobolewski (part of the current show ‘Carolee Schneeman: Kinetic Painting’ at MoMA PS1) which were stolen from the museum last month, have been mailed back in a FedEx package. The photographs were discovered missing on 30 October, but the museum received them back on 3 November. The New York Police Department have released images of a suspect mailing a box of photographs from a Brooklyn shipping store, but no arrest has been made so far.