Headlines: Sims, Koons, Stolen Jade
1) Statue of J. Marion Sims Removed from Central Park
The statue of J. Marion Sims, the “father of gynecology” has been removed from its perch in New York’s Central Park. Sims, who did make some pioneering discoveries in his field, came about those discovers through wildly unethical means: by performing medical experiments on enslaved black women in the 19th century. Members of the public, particularly those that live in the largely non-white neighborhoods near the statue, have been clamouring for the removal of the statue for years. New York’s Public Design Commission unanimously agreed with a suggestion from the mayor’s office that the statue be relocated, and it was removed late Monday. For now, it will be housed in Brooklyn, atop Sims’ grave -- a different sculpture is slated to eventually take the place of Sims’ figure.
2) Artists Rise Against CB1 Los Angeles
Nine artists have signed an open letter to the owners of the Los Angeles gallery CB1, claiming that they haven’t been paid for works sold by the gallery -- or have experienced significant duress in the payment process. According to the letter, owners Clyde Beswick and Jason Chang have a significant track record of outright failing to pay artists (even when faced with lawsuits by the artists), promising payment and never following through, and even selling works without the artists’ knowledge. The signing artists say that they are still affected by the gallery’s malpractices, and some are still awaiting payment from dealings as far back as 2012.
3) Collector Suing Koons for Missing Sculptures
In a somewhat similar vein, a collector is suing the Gagosian Gallery and the studio of Jeff Koons for reportedly failing to deliver three sculptures. ArtNews reports that the collector -- MoMA trustee Steven Tananbaum -- paid over $13 million to eventually take possession of three as-yet-unrealized sculptures by Koons. The agreement between Koons, Gagosian and Tananbaum was finalized in September of 2014, with the artist and his representatives claiming that the sculptures should be delivered somewhere around December of 2015. According to the almost poetically phrase 53-page complaint filed by Tananbaum’s lawyer, the completion date of the sculptures was repeatedly pushed back in email correspondence, first from December 2015 to September 2016, then to June 2018, and most recently to August 2019.
4) Thieves Target Museum of East Asian Art
Several centuries-old Chinese artefacts, made from jade, gold, and other precious materials, were reportedly stolen from the Museum of East Asian Art in Bath, U.K. on Tuesday. Several witnesses reported seeing four men smash a window on the first floor of the museum and enter just after 1 a.m. Authorities arrived on the scene shortly after the perpetrators fled in a dark-colored SUV. The objects that were stolen include several jade carvings dating back as far as the 13th century -- though museum employees have said that the thieves took “many more” objects than the current police report covers. The museum is remaining closed for a few weeks so that experts can take stock, but a representative stated that they hoped to reopen on May 5th.