1) Met Museum Postpones Expansion in Favor of Repairs
The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s plans to celebrate its 150th anniversary with a new wing have been delayed due to financial issues. While the hope was to have the $600 million new wing open in 2020, officials announced on Wednesday that the Met must instead devote the necessary time and money to repairing the skylights and roof above the rooms housing European paintings. According to Met director Thomas P. Campbell, the museum needs to focus on urgent projects first before attempting to raise funds for the extension.
Women Who Draw, a website devoted to showcasing the art of women and LGBTQ+ artists, is gaining steam as a way for marginalized artists to increase their visibility, and for curators and collectors to find artists that get less coverage in popular media. The website had its soft launch in December 2016, during which it crashed after receiving over 6 million views in the space of a few days. After receiving so many art submissions that it had to shut down temporarily, the art website opened again on Monday, boasting artworks from 700 individual illustrators.
3) Lucas Finds a Home for Museum of Narrative Art
George Lucas, the filmmaker best known for being the creator of Star Wars, has selected a mansion in Los Angeles to be the new home of his sizeable art collection. The collection reportedly includes fine art as well as pop culture tidbits like Mad Magazine covers and movie props. Lucas and his wife are set to pay $1 billion in total expenses for the endowment and the development of a museum space and park land. When finished, the space will be called the Museum of Narrative Art and will be open to the public.
4) + 5) Artists Protest Trump's Imminent Inauguration
As the inauguration of President Trump draws nearer, many artists and cultural workers are ramping up their efforts at protest. One atrtist, Luis Camnitzer, is proposing that Trump’s border wall be turned into a project by Christo. Via a petition on Change.org, Camintzer claims that having Christo create an orange ribbon to run the entire length of the proposed wall would “transform a racist project into a public art event.”
Others in the arts and culture industry have proposed a massive “art strike.” According to the petition, which has thus far been signed by over 130 artists, critics and curators, the strike would see institutions like museums and businesses closing up shop on January 20th, the day that Trump is set to take office. Organizers claim that the strike would be an act of protest against governmental threats to the wellbeing of arts and culture in the United States. Some, like the Guardian’s Jonathan Jones, believe that the effort would be futile, and serves only to display the level of privilege held by the art elite.