Art Industry News: The United States Has Officially Rejoined UNESCO After Trump’s 2019 Withdrawal + Other Stories

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NEED-TO-READ 

Belarusian Artist and Political Prisoner Dies in Custody – Ales Pushkin died on Tuesday, July 11, after being transferred from a prison facility to a hospital. The reasons around the 57-year-old dissident artist’s hospitalization in intensive care and death are unclear, and he had no prior health issues, according to human rights groups and his wife. The acclaimed artist staged anti-government and anti-Lukashenko performances and was very active in the protests that swept the country in 2020 and 2021. He was arrested and jailed in March 2021 for a painting he made depicting depicting anti-Soviet Belarusian activist and poet Yevgeniy Zhihar. ()

Repercussions Intensify Amid Artist Activist Protests – Around this time last year, climate activists stepped up the frequency of their vandalist attacks on museums in the hope of raising awareness about the climate crisis. Since then, institutions have had to step up security and put objects behind protective glass for fear of damages. Museums are, in some cases, pressing charges against the activists. (New York Times)

The U.S. Rejoins UNESCO – On Sunday, July 9, the Secretary of State of the United States of America signed the United States’ Document of Acceptance to the UNESCO Constitution. The return of the nation to UNESCO comes after former president Donald Trump had withdrawn during his tenure. “This is a historic moment,” said UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay. “If we want to meet the challenges of our century, there can only be a collective response.” ()

OpenSea Impersonator Indicted by DOJ – Soufiane Oulahya faces fraud charges related to an alleged scheme to impersonate the NFT sales platform OpenSea. The U.S. Department of Justice alleges that Oulahya created a copycat website in September 2021 and paid for ads so that his fraudulent site would pop up first in searches. One unnamed individual lost approximately $450,000 worth of Ethereum and NFTs after they logged in. (ARTnews)

MOVERS & SHAKERS 

Museum to Open in U.S.’s First Bank – The Philadelphia-based First Bank of the United States, built in 1797 to house Alexander Hamilton’s new banking system will get a new life as a museum dedicated to the history of the American economy. The Independence National Historic Park building has not been publicly accessible for 50 years, but hopes to reopen by 2026 to coincide with the 250th Anniversary of the United States. (WHYY) 

Wales to Disperse Contemporary Art Collection Across Country – The Welsh Government has announced a new plan to disperse objects from the permanent contemporary collection to galleries across the country, in order to help engage the community. An “anchor gallery” will be constructed to house works, and a digital platform with some 25,000 digitized images has been created. (Museums Association)

Front International Triennial Names Curator – New York-based artist Asad Raza and curator Magdalena Moskalewicz will helm the next edition of the Cleveland-based triennial in 2025. Raza’s work was recently on view at the Portikus in Frankfurt, and participated in the 2022 edition of FRONT, as well as the 2017 edition of the Whitney Biennial. (ARTnews)

FOR ART’S SAKE

Damien Hirst Adorns Tiffany’s Façade in Tokyo – A new flagship in Ginza has a massive facade of cherry blossoms by the English artist. The design begins at street level with a convenient Tiffany’s blue backdrop before bursting with pinks as the eye moves upwards. It was made with 292 aluminum honeycomb and glass panels. ()

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