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  • Jun 07, 2024

Weekly News Roundup: June 7, 2024

Installation view of "Gabrielle Chanel: Fashion Manifesto" at the Victoria and Albert Museum South Kensington in London, 2023. Courtesy The Victoria and Albert Museum.

Chanel and the Power Station of Art Partnership

On May 27, French luxury brand Chanel and Shanghai’s Power Station of Art (PSA) signed a new collaborative agreement, celebrating the 60th anniversary of China and France’s diplomatic relations, as well as the Year of Cultural Tourism, a 2019 cultural initiative. While Chanel and PSA have partnered since 2021, in this new endeavor Chanel will fund renovations for PSA’s 930-square-meter third floor, which will be renamed Espace Gabrielle Chanel after the fashion house’s founder. The space will include the first public library dedicated to contemporary art in mainland China, an archive of Chinese contemporary art, the “Power Station of Design” exhibition space, a small theater, and a riverside terrace. The collaboration will also bring a traveling retrospective, “Gabrielle Chanel. Fashion Manifesto,” to PSA from July 12 to November 24, 2024. Unlike in previous iterations, the exhibition in Shanghai will include a section that explores Chanel’s connections to China and Chinese culture.

Aerial view of the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. Courtesy Wikicommons.

Possible Arson at the Israel Museum

A fire broke out in western Jerusalem on June 2, causing damage to part of the Israel Museum’s roof and an evacuation of the entire institution. During the incident, fire and rescue services were able to contain and fully extinguish the flames by 4:00pm that day by using eight firefighting planes. Authorities investigating the incident are now considering arson as a possible cause, although no suspects have been revealed. The Israel Museum stated that only minimal damage was sustained to the Ruth Youth Wing’s roof, and fortunately no staff were injured. Additionally, the museum’s 500,000 artworks and artifacts remain intact. The institution was open to visitors the following day, on June 3, as per usual.

Portrait of SHAHIDUL ALAM. Photo by Christopher Michel. Courtesy Wikicommons.

 Shahidul Alam Returns Doctorate in Protest 

Renowned Bangladeshi curator, activist, and photographer Shahidul Alam has returned his honorary doctorate from the University of the Arts London (UAL) in solidarity with pro-Palestinian student protests across UAL, Central Saint Martins, and the Goldsmiths Centre for Contemporary Arts. The escalating demonstrations, which have occupied areas within the universities for several weeks, take aim at UAL’s stance on Israel’s war in Gaza. Demands include calls for the university to “declare and divest” from interests that are “complicit in the genocide of Palestinian people,” and for the immediate resignation of UAL president and vice chancellor James Purnell. A former parliament member known to hold controversial opinions, Purnell supports the security barrier between the Israeli- and Palestinian-controlled portions of the West Bank that is often called the “Wall of Apartheid” by Palestinians. Alam has stated that he hopes his fellow peers take a stance against injustices, despite the risks it may bring to their careers.   

Entrance of Christie’s New York at Rockefeller Center. Photo by Ajay Suresh.

Christie's Hit With Class Action Lawsuit 

Christie’s is facing a lawsuit spearheaded by lead plaintiff Efstathios Maroulis, a Texas-based man whose connection to the case has not been confirmed. The legal action comes in the wake of an attack by the hacker group RansomHub, which on May 9 took Christie’s website offline, compromised the “sensitive personal information” of over 500,000 clients, and subsequently claimed that it planned to sell the data. The lawsuit was lodged on June 3, accusing Christie’s of negligence, breach of implied contract, unjust enrichment, and violation of the New York Deceptive Trade Practices Act. The legal filing states that the auction house failed to “properly secure and safeguard sensitive information of its customers,” as personal data had been shared “on the mutual understanding that the defendant would protect it against disclosure.” In email communications with clients, Christie’s maintained that only identification details had been stolen and that their financial information had not been exposed. The Office of the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data has also reported that the Christie’s breach impacted approximately 8,400 Hong Kong clients.

Installation view of Esther Schipper booth at Frieze Seoul 2023. Photo by Lets Studio. Courtesy Lets Studio and Frieze.

Frieze Seoul x Kiaf SEOUL 2024

Frieze Seoul and Kiaf SEOUL are scheduled to make their third joint appearance at the COEX Convention and Exhibition Center this September. The third edition of Frieze Seoul is set to showcase over 110 galleries from 30 countries, presenting a core contingent of exhibitors from across the Asia region, including Kukje Gallery from Seoul, Hong Kong’s Kiang Malingue, and the Tokyo-based Taka Ishii Gallery. The fair reveals an expanded curatorial program, introducing Frieze Live for performance-based art; Frieze Masters for historical art from Asia and beyond; and a special commission from the second Frieze Seoul Artist Award and Focus Asia, to celebrate emerging talents from the region. The 23rd edition of Kiaf SEOUL organized by the Galleries Association of Korea will welcome 207 galleries from 21 countries. The special exhibition “Kiaf onSITE” will showcase installations, performances, and multimedia projects by Seoul-based media artist Yang Min-ha, multidisciplinary artist Choi Won-jung, the art collective Jin & Park, Seoul and Berlin-based artist Kat Austen, and Brooklyn-based director, producer, and artist Winslow Porter, among others. Both fairs will open on September 4, with Frieze concluding on September 7 and Kiaf on September 8.

Exterior of the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea in Seoul. Courtesy Wikicommons. 

MMCA Seoul Clashes With Kim Ku-lim 

Korea’s National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MMCA) and avant-garde artist Kim Ku-lim were unable to reach an agreement regarding the publication of an exhibition catalog for Kim’s retrospective, held at the museum's Seoul location from August 2023 to February 2024. A local report surfaced on June 5 claiming that Kim initiated a lawsuit against MMCA director Kim Sung-hee, alleging copyright infringement and defamation. The MMCA, however, stated that it has not yet been informed of the lawsuit. In a press conference held in March, Kim drew attention to issues he had identified within the catalog, such as artwork images that had been altered in color. Kim also voiced his frustration with the MMCA’s failure to provide a mock-up of the catalog for approval. The MMCA firmly denied Kim’s claims and suspended plans to release a second edition of the catalog with his requested edits, citing “a demand for unprecedented special privilege” that exceeds the museum’s publication policy. 

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