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  • May 03, 2024

Weekly News Roundup: May 3, 2024

Portrait of WANG TUO. Courtesy the artist and Blindspot Gallery, Hong Kong.

Wang Tuo Wins K21 Global Art Award 

The Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfale’s K21 Global Art Award 2024 was awarded to multimedia artist Wang Tuo, Hong Kong’s Blindspot Gallery announced on April 30. Wang’s multichannel video installation The Second Interrogation (2023) will be purchased by the Düsseldorf-based institution and be on view at its K21 museum from May 24. Established in 2023 in collaboration with Friends of Kunstsammlung, the annual award is designed to acknowledge international emerging and midcareer artists under the age of 45. Tuo was chosen by jury of five museum directors and curators, including Doryun Chong, deputy director and chief curator of Hong Kong’s M+, who also nominated Wang; Koyo Kouoh of Capetown’s Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa; Sharjah Art Foundation’s Omar Kholeif; New York’s Museum of Modern Art’s Oluremi C. Onabanjo; and Jochen Volz of the Pinacoteca de São Paulo. In January, Wang was awarded the M+ Sigg Prize.

Installation view of HUMA BHABHA’s "Before The End," 2024, at Brooklyn Bridge Park in New York City. Photo by Nicholas Knight. Courtesy Public Art Fund, New York.

Brooklyn Bridge Park Hosts Monumental Huma Bhabha Sculptures

Beginning on April 30, New York’s nonprofit Public Art Fund presents “Before The End” in Brooklyn Bridge Park, a public commission of Pakistani-American artist Huma Bhabha’s work. The installation features four of Bhabha’s new large-scale bronze sculptures that draw connections between art, science fiction, horror, and mythology. The artist cast carved cork and skull fragments to aesthetically recall ancient effigies in tombstones—and, set in the verdant park near the American landmark, The Statue of Liberty and the skyscrapers of New York City, the works invite visitors to contemplate the gigantic totemic forms. “Before The End” is curated by Public Art Fund’s executive and artistic director Nicholas Baume with support from assistant curator Jenée-Daria Strand, and will be on view until March 9, 2025.

DONNA HAYASHI-SMITH at Jefferson Auditorium in the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in Washington, DC on May 17, 2016. Photo by Steve Thompson. Courtesy Flickr.

White House Appoints First Asian-American Curator

On May 2, the White House announced the appointment of Donna Hayashi-Smith as its new curator, the first Asian-American to hold the role. Originally from Wahiawa, Hawai‘i, Hayashi-Smith received a Smithsonian Institution minority fellowship from the National Museum of American History in 1990. She moved to Washington, DC, to begin her career in curation and museum management, joining the White House’s Executive Residence Office of the Curator as administrative and collections assistant in 1995. She has served as the manager and registrar under five administrations, and her most recent position was associate curator of the White House collections. In 2022, Hayashi-Smith led the curator’s office through the process of American Alliance of Museums reaccreditation, helping to ensure that the official office of the US President continues to be nationally recognized as an accredited museum. 

Representatives of the Okinawa Prefectural Government and Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs at the Okinawa Prefectural Museum and Art Museum in Naha on April 30. Courtesy US Department of State.

The United States Repatriates Looted Okinawan Artifacts 

More than 20 artifacts from the 18th and 19th century were officially repatriated to Okinawa, Japan, after being missing for nearly 80 years. Looted in the aftermath of the Battle of Okinawa in 1945, the repatriated scrolls, royal portraits, pottery and ceramics, and hand-drawn map were recovered by an anonymous Massachusetts-based family while sifting through their deceased father’s personal effects. Among the historical items was “an unsigned, typewritten letter” detailing its illegal provenance. The family verified the relics through the National Stolen Art File online archive, finding that they had been inputted into the database roughly two decades ago. The case was handled by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Boston division, and the artifacts were returned during a ceremony at Naha’s Okinawa Prefectural Museum and Art Museum on April 30.

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