Santiago Sierra Ignites Furor, Newfields Plans Post-Controversy Course, and More: Morning Links from March 22, 2021

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The Headlines

FOR AN UPCOMING ARTS FESTIVAL IN AUSTRALIA, ARTIST SANTIAGO SIERRA is planning to show a British flag soaked in blood donated by First Nations peoples, the Art Newspaper reports. Sierra, whose past provocations have included paying people modest sums of money to tattoo them, said in a statement that the piece is an “acknowledgement of the pain and destruction colonialism has caused First Nations peoples, devastating entire cultures, and civilizations.” The proposal has been met with criticism. “We already gave enough blood,” Brigg, a musician of Indigenous Australian descent, wrote, according to NMENala Mansell, of the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre, told ABC that, while she believed the work could raise awareness of the massacres of Aboriginal peoples by the British Empire, “I just think there might be other ways of signifying the blood that was spilt without having to ask Aboriginal people to do so.”

NEWFIELDS, THE HOME OF THE INDIANAPOLIS MUSEUM OF ART, has detailed an inclusion plan, following criticism of a job listing last month that mentioned attracting a more diverse visitors while maintaining its “traditional, core, white art audience.” (Its director, Charles Venableresigned amid  the controversy.) Newfields said that it will earmark $20 million of its endowment for acquiring work by a diverse array of artists, undertake anti-racist training, and hire a diversity executive. Curator Kelli Morgan, who quit last year, alleging that the museum was a discriminatory workplace, told the Indianapolis Star  that she was skeptical that the board would follow through with potentially challenging reforms. “This current leadership and board structure, I can’t trust you to do that,” she said. Curators Mali Jeffers and Alan Bacon, who pulled their planned show about a Black Lives Matter mural in the city after the job listing came to light, said in a statement quoted by WISHTV , “Change requires time, collaboration, and intentionality. We are encouraged by the commitment and look forward to seeing how it unfolds for 46208,” the zip code that includes the museum, “for creatives, for broader Indianapolis, and for the Black community, specifically.”

The Digest

The famed jewelry designer Elsa Peretti has died at 80. Peretti named Alexander Calder and Henry Moore as inspirations, and in some years her creations accounted for more than 10 percent of sales at Tiffany & Company, with whom she began working in 1974. [The New York Times]

Mexican painter and graphic Vicente Rojo has died, aged 89. An abstractionist who created a number of public artworks, he was the founding art director of the publisher Ediciones Era. The Museo de Arte Moderno in Mexico City is preparing an exhibition of his work. [The Art Newspaper]

Architect Hugh Newell Jacobsen, who handled the preservation design of the Smithsonian’s Arts and Industries Building in Washington, D.C., undertook projects for Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and arts patron Rachel (Bunny) Mellon, and conceived an expansion of the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art at the University of Oklahoma, has died. He was 91. [The New York Times]

Two more bridges in London have been lit up as part of Leo Villareal’s Illuminated River project, bringing the grand total to nine. The piece has been billed as the longest artwork in the world. [Ocula]

Director dream hampton joined the board of the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit. [Observer]

JR just does not rest! The street artist has unveiled his latest grand public artwork, on the side of the Palazzo Strozzi in Florence, Italy, where museums are currently closed amid a coronavirus spike. [AFP/Yahoo! News]

Paintings that Vincent van Gogh gave to his youngest sister, Willemien, were sold years after his death to help pay for her mental-health treatment. “Who would have thought that Vincent would contribute to Wil’s upkeep in this way?” his eldest sister, Anna, wrote in a letter. [The Guardian]

The Kicker

AFTER SITTING DORMANT FOR AROUND 6,000 YEARS, a volcano in Iceland erupted last week, and Björk is pumped, as Page Six noticed. The singer wrote in an Instagram post: “YESSS !! , eruption !! we in iceland are sooo excited !!! we still got it !!!” It turns out that the artist’s 2015 video “Black Lake,” which appeared in her retrospective that same year at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, was filmed where the lava has been flowing. “sense of relief when nature expresses herself !!!” she added in her post. “enjoy , warmthness.” [PageSix]

Thank you for reading. We’ll see you tomorrow.

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