This week’s rolling news roundup

21–27 January

View of the 2015 edition of SP Arte, in Oscar Niemeyer’s Ciccillo Matarazzo Pavilion, São Paulo

SP-Arte will be celebrating its 15th edition from 4–7 April. On Monday, the São Paulo art fair announced a preliminary list of exhibitors, as well as a Latin American focus in the Solo section, curated by Chilean curator Alexia Tala, in addition to its regular performance, historic and design sectors. Transatlantic, Art Brussels announces its 37th edition (25–28 April) with a list of 148 participating galleries, and the launch of a new Invited section supporting a younger generation of gallerists and art spaces, this year including the nomadic Ballon Rouge Collective, LambdaLambdaLambda, Prishtina, and Misako & Rosen, Tokyo, among others.

On Tuesday, Nicolas Bourriaud announced the title and theme for the 16th edition of the Istanbul Biennial, taking place 14 September – 10 November. Titled The Seventh Continent, in reference to the vortex of 7 tons of floating plastic waste in the North Pacific, this edition will ‘highlight today’s art as an enquiry about global life, a sum of studies about human effects upon the earth’, Bourriaud said in a statement, which, without a list of artists to go on, sounds like yet another depressed inquiry on the consequences of the Anthropocene. You can read the full statement here, though you might need a glossary to decipher it. 

Zoé Whitley has been appointed as the new senior director of The Hayward Gallery in London, following the departure of Vincent Honoré earlier this month. She will take up the position on 8 April. Whitley joins the institution from Tate Modern, where she has served as curator, international art since 2017, cocurating, among others, the critically acclaimed Soul of a Nation show. She was also selected to curate Cathy Wilkes’s presentation for the British Pavilion at this year’s Venice Biennale. 

Bulawayo Biennial in Zimbabwe has been postponed, following nationwide protests and political and economic unrest regarding a significant increase in fuel prices. The biennial, which was due to open in October this year and which was launched by artist and curator Sithabile Mlotshwa, has been pushed back to October 2020.

The pressure on US-based institutions over the ethics of sponsorship, patronage and board membership continues to grow. While the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York is currently reviewing its relationship with the Sackler family based on their alleged responsibility in the opioid crisis, the Whitney Museum is meanwhile bracing itself for further protests, co-ordinated by the activist group Decolonize This Place, contesting the presence on its board of Warren B. Kanders, CEO of a company that manufactures tear gas.

ArtReview was very sad to report the death of the great avant-garde filmmaker Jonas Mekas, one of the most influential figures in the history of underground cinema, who passed away this at the age of 96. Last year, ArtReview was lucky enough to meet up with the artist, who spoke about May 1968, its legacy and the importance of looking forward.

Meanwhile in Cardiff, Apichatpong Weerasethakul was announced as the winner of £40,000 Artes Mundi 8 prize. The Thai artist, best known for his feature-length films and a previous winner of the Palme d'Or, was selected from a shortlist also including Trevor Paglen, Bouchra Khalili, Otobong Nkanga and Anna Boghiguian.

Stay tuned for the daily rundown on the artworld’s latest gallery news: awards, appointments, artist representation, open calls and more...