Rolling news: 13–19 January 2020

Michael Rakowitz pauses own video at MoMA PS1 in protest, Britney Spears denies news of an exhibition...

Britney Spears. Photo: instagram.com/galerie_sympa

In a show of solidarity with the activists protesting MoMA’s board members, artist Michael Rakowitz paused a video of his that was being shown as part of the Theater of Operations: The Gulf Wars 1991-2011 exhibition at MoMA PS, New York. The Iraqi-American artist initially requested that RETURN (2004-) be altered in November 2019, when the exhibition opened. The controversy surrounds the position of MoMA's board of Larry Fink and Leon Black, and their investment in companies linked to private prisons and defence contractors. After the museum failed to institute his request, Rakowitz personally visited the exhibition to alter the work, posting a statement beside it to the effect that the video should only be unpaused when the two board members had divested their stakes or been removed from MoMA's board. Nonetheless, soon after Rakowitz left the museum resumed the video. The statement was removed the next day. 

The New Museum's 'cultural incubator' NEW INC has announced a new partnership with Onassis USA, an affiliate of the Onassis Foundation. The Onassis, NEW INC eXtended Reality Studio—ONX Studio will be a subsidised workspace and presentation gallery, for artists, filmmakers, and designers working in 'mixed reality'. It will be headed by NEW INC’s director Stephanie Pereira, its cofounder Karen Wong, Onassis USA director Vallejo Gantner, and the Onassis Foundation’s Head of Digital and Innovation, Prodromos Tsiavos. The opening is scheduled for late spring 2020 on a two-year pilot program.

Fourteen artists have donated artworks to The Whitechapel Gallery, London to support their education and community programmes. The works, from artists such as Alvaro Barrington, Laure Prouvost, and William Kentridge, will be auctioned during a gala dinner on 21 January 2020, as part of the gallery’s Art Icon award.

Britney Spears’ team has denied claims by Galerie Sympa in France, who had announced that the singer would be hosting her first solo exhibition with them. The gallery had also claimed that they would be representing Britney, but her team said this was also false. The show Sometimes you just gotta play!!!!!, which was named after a caption Britney used on an Instagram video post from 2017 depicting the singer painting, was scheduled to open on 18 January. 

The art fair franchise and magazine Frieze has appointed Simon Fox as its new chief executive, marking a step back for its co-founders Amanda Sharp and Matthew Slotover. Fox was previously chief executive of the publisher responsible for the British tabloid newspapers Daily Mirror and Daily Express.