Rolling news: 9 December – 15 December

2020 biennial titles announced, Lawrence Abu Hamdan wins £42,000 prize and more

David Datuna eats artwork. Photo: instagram.com/david_datuna

Self-described artist David Datuna caused a stir when he ate Maurizio Cattelan’s most recent artwork at Art Basel Miami Beach. Comedian (2019) – a banana taped to the wall of Emmanuel Perrotin’s booth, reported to have sold for $120,000 – was already the subject of much discussion when it was unveiled last week. Datuna was escorted from the fair shortly after the stunt. The banana was replaced – Perrotin patiently having explained that the work consisted in the ‘idea’ rather than the actual fruit – but the work was, alas, taken down a day later amid concerns about crowd safety due to its popularity.

Co-winner of this year’s hotly-debated Turner Prize, artist Lawrence Abu Hamdan was also awarded the 2019 Edvard Munch Art Award, which seeks to promote to promote the development of significant international talents in visual arts. Hamdan won the £42,000 prize with a unanimous vote from the jury and will also receive a solo exhibition at Munchmuseet in Oslo. 

Almost two years ahead of the next Venice Biennale, the Icelandic Art Centre has chosen Sigurður Guðjónsson as the artist that will represent Iceland at the 59th edition of the biennial. Also on the biennial front, the Riga biennial has announced that curator Rebecca Lamarche-Vadel will curate the 2020 edition, which opens 16 May, under the title and suddenly it all blossoms, a line by Latvian poet Māra Zālīte. The exhibition will apparently 'reimagine ways of being human and explores other paths for making relationships.' Nina Beier, Pierre Huyghe, the Institute of the Cosmos (Anton Vidokle, Arseny Zhilyaev and Marina Simakova) and Paul B. Preciado will be among the contributors. Likewise FotoFest, Houston's photography biennial is being organised with the title African Cosmologies: Photography, Time, and the Other. Opening 8 March is curated by Mark Sealy, director of the London-based Autograph ABP. He says, 'The impact and the gravitational pull of the contemporary African photographic artist on the universe of photography has resulted in photography’s traditional epistemes—its deadly colonialities—being reluctantly dragged into processes of remaking, delinking, and rethinking the work of images in culture. The artists presented in African Cosmologies: Photography, Time, and Other are not simply reflective commentators, travellers, flaneurs, or self-appointed interpreters, rather they represent a commitment to human well-being and the production and sharing of new and old knowledges.'

After initially stating that employee efforts to unionise weren’t in the best interests of the museum or the employees, MOCA has decided to recognise its employee’s union. This removes the need for an election process, meaning the next step for the newly formed union will be to negotiate their contracts with the museum. 

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