– Bobbies Bring Down Voina Protest: British police put a stop to a protest in support of the Russian anarchist art collective Voina in London on Sunday after activists hung a banner with the image of the group's imprisoned leader, Oleg Vorotnikov, from London's Tower Bridge. The action was part of "Cultural Hijack," a "survey of provocative interventions" organized by the Architectural Association School of Architecture, which also pays homage to the likes of Allan Kaprow, Tatzu Nishi, Krzysztof Wodiczko, and the Clandestine Insurgent Revel Clown Army. After their initial hanging was halted, the group strung up the banner from the facade of the Architectural Association. [Moscow Times, CulturalHijack]
– Punks Protest Met's Punk Show: On Friday a group of a dozen protesters lead by photographer and writer Gerry Visco gathered outside the Metropolitan Museum to call out its new exhibition of punk fashion, "Punk: Chaos to Couture," for its lack of punk authenticity. "We're not mad, we're disappointed," Visco said. "They did not fulfill the concept of punk. They should have gone a little further." [DNAinfo] Watch video of Met's punk show here.
– Hirst Blew Turner Prize on Bar Tab: The morning after he received his £20,000 Turner Prize check from Brian Eno in 1995, Damien Hirst couldn't find the money, and eventually realized that he had spent the whole thing on celebratory drinks at London's Groucho Club, the artist revealed in a recent BBC 4 interview. "Being Damien Hirst was difficult," Hirst said. "I saw myself recently getting the Turner Prize and I was out of my mind drunk, slurring my words… It makes me cringe." [Independent]
– Dasha and Bloomberg Launch Art-Tech To-Do: Last week New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg and Russian art patron Dasha Zhukova — in the presence of Leonardo DiCaprio, Anna Paquin, and 100 other artists, collectors, and collectors — launched Circle, a new art and technology conference to be held on New Holland, the island owned by Zhukova's partner Roman Abramovic in St. Petersburg. "I think St. Petersburg is an incredibly important city in many respects, obviously," Zhukova said, "but it hasn't necessarily crossed the bridge to the now. In many ways, it's asleep, and it needs an infusion of young energy. I hope that by bringing this initiative there we can help stir something up." Circle will launch in July 2014. [HuffPost]
– Auctions Flooded With Freshly Looted Egyptian Antiquities: This month's auctions in London have been plagued by last-minute withdrawals of antiquities that have recently been smuggled out of Egypt. The hot artifacts include six pieces stolen from Thebes that were withdrawn from Christie's May 2 sale, while Egyptian authorities claimed Bonhams's May 1 sale included 200 stolen items — though that number was reduced to 17 upon closer inspection. A man was arrested in London on May 3 in connection with the objects that were offered at Christie's; according to the Metropolitan Police's art unit, he was detained "on suspicion of handling stolen goods, tax and fraud offenses." [FT]
– Money Launderers Using Art: Thanks to the art market's unique combination of anonymity and a general lack of transparency, it has proven an increasingly popular channel for drug dealers, smugglers, weapons traffickers, and other international criminals to launder money. "You can have a transaction where the seller is listed as ‘private collection’ and the buyer is listed as ‘private collection,’ " said Sharon Cohen Levin, the United States attorney’s office in Manhattan chief of asset forfeiture. "In any other business, no one would be able to get away with this." [NYT]
– Boosted Banksy Back to Auction: "Slave Labour," a mural by the British street artist Banksy that disappeared from north London in February only to turn up at auction in Miami before being pulled from the sale at the last second, is among the offerings in the Sincura Group's June 2 sale in Covent Gardens, prompting protests from locals who want the work returned to the public. "The 'Slave Labour' Banksy belongs to the people of Haringey, not to a wealthy private client," said local Trades Union Congress secretary Keith Flett. "We want the sale stopped and the Banksy back where it belongs in London N22." [Guardian]
– El Museo's Board President Departs: The president of the board of El Museo del Barrio, Yaz Hernández, will step down from her position on June 30; the institution's former director, Margarita Aguilar, named Hernández in a recent discrimination claim stemming from her firing in February. "I deeply believe in El Museo’s mission to honor Latino, Caribbean and Latin American cultures and believe the institution has a bright future," Hernández said. "Because of my other board commitments, I will be stepping down as president of El Museo’s board when my term expires in June. However, I will remain actively involved, and my husband, Valentín Hernández, has been proposed to join the board because of my family’s deeply held commitment to the success of the institution." [NYT]
– Museums Loosen No Photo Laws: More and more major museums are adjusting their photography policies due to the overwhelming ubiquity of camera phones in their galleries, with institutions including the Metropolitan Museum, the National Gallery of Art, the Getty Museum, the Art Institute of Chicago, and others letting visitors take photos in parts or all of their permanent collection galleries. Others like the Whitney or MoMA PS1 remain staunch in their old-fashioned photography bans, however. "You are fighting an uphill battle if you restrict," says Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History director Nina Simon. "Even in the most locked-down spaces, people will still take pictures and you’ll still find a million of these images online. So why not support it in an open way that’s constructive and embraces the public?" [ARTnews]
– Cranston Claims NADA Award: Artist Meg Cranston was selected as the winner of the Artadia NADA New York Fair Award for her painting "Emerald City" in Fitzroy Gallery and Newman Popiashvili's joint booth at last week's NADA New York fair. The award comes with an unrestricted $4,000 cash prize. Cranston was selected by a two-person jury consisting of Participant Inc. founder and director Lia Gangitano and 2013 Carnegie International co-curator Daniel Byers. [Press Release]
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Activists preparing to drop a banner on London's Tower Bridge
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