This week’s art stories, in short.
- After months of negotiation, 89% of workers at the Philadelphia Museum of Arts voted “yes” to unionizing. The move grants widespread union coverage across departments; any museum employee who works more than four hours a week is eligible to join. The news follows an announcement earlier this week that 85 staff members will be laid off. [Artnet News + The Philadelphia Inquirer]
WE WON! With 89% voting YES, the @philamuseum staff has chosen to form a union with @PHLafscmeDC47. Across all departments, WE ARE UNITED. #WalltoWall #UnionYes #UnionStrong pic.twitter.com/HZLnVelinj
— Philadelphia Museum of Art Union (@PMA_Union) August 6, 2020
- The long-awaited monument of three suffragists is finally getting ready to make its big debut Aug. 26 in Central Park. Dubbed the Women’s Rights Pioneers Monument, the 14-foot-tall bronze statue depicts Susan B. Anthony, Sojourner Truth and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, making it the first figural sculpture of nonfictional women to be installed within the park. The monument’s ascent to the podium has not been direct. The process has swept up criticism along the way (originally, the statue only depicted two white women, with other suffragists placed on a scroll that cascaded down from the women’s hands). The statue was created by sculptor Meredith Bergmann. [The New York Times]
- Ready or not, a new algorithm has hit the art world. This week, Phillips auction house debuted Articker, a platform that tracks an artist’s market value in real-time based on data culled from media coverage. [Artnet News]
- Two explosions in Beirut killed at least 154 people and injured more than 5,000 in the neighborhood at the time of the blasts. Among the buildings devastated by the explosions are many major art galleries and museums. [ARTnews]
- The Metropolitan Museum of Art further reduced staff Wednesday. A memo sent to employees indicated that 79 workers were laid off, 181 furloughed and 93 opted to voluntarily retire. Since the start of the health crisis, the museum has cut its staff by 20 percent. Earlier this week, the MMA Collective Action Working Group (made up of current and former Met employees) released an open letter to the institution that demanded transparency around layoffs. In a bit of good news, the museum also announced interns will be paid, thanks to a $5 million gift from philanthropist Adrienne Arsht. [Hyperallergic]
- Vanity Fair revealed that writer Ta-Nehisi Coates will guest-edit the magazine’s September issue. The edition will focus on “art, activism and power in 21st-century America.” Coates’ vision will fall on many aspects of the production process, from editorial curation to art direction. [Vanity Fair]
- The Guardian announced its Not the Booker prize longlist, and the question is: Have you voted for your favorite book? The 210 novels will be whittled down to just three for the award’s shortlist, based on submissions from readers like you. The nominations are open until Aug. 16, so get reviewing! [The Guardian]
Top Image: The Philadelphia Museum of Art. Photo: Creative Commons.