This Week in Art: 5.23-5.29

Yinka Shonibare MBE. RA Family Album, 2016. Photo: Artlyst.

Yinka Shonibare MBE. RA Family Album, 2016. Photo: Artlyst.

This week our art world hero is William Kentridge, who used his exhibition at Martin-Gropius-Bau in Berlin as an opportunity to speak out against the refugee policies in Europe. The artist delivered a scathing indictment in the German publication Art Magazin: “For 300 years Europe took everything it could get from its colonies and is directly responsible for the structures of these countries…From the outside it looks like incredible greed and selfishness.”

  • Yinka Shonibare MBE unveiled a new mural commissioned by the Royal Academy in London in honor of the institution’s 250th anniversary. The 230-foot work features 160 black and white prints and photographs celebrating the Royal Academy’s history and leadership. (Learn the stories behind each photo on RA’s interactive webpage.)
  • Carrie Mae Weems gave the commencement speech at the School of Visual Arts’ graduation ceremony, acknowledging representative disparities in the arts but encouraging students nevertheless: “By understanding what it is you commit to and how you pursue the level and the depth of that commitment, responding to this great shift, I believe, will require extraordinary imagination…This is really an extraordinary time. It is your moment and you really must, you really must, seize it!”
  • In sillier art news, Laurie Anderson’s new documentary Heart of a Dog was screened for a dog audience, and Artnet published a quiz titled “Who Said This—Lady Gaga or Jeff Koons?”

Events & exhibitions


East coast

This is really an extraordinary time. It is your moment and you really must seize it!

West coast

  • SAN FRANCISCO — Ai Weiwei: Overrated is on view at Haines Gallery through July 2nd. [Read a review in SFGate.]
  • LOS ANGELES — One of James Turrell’s Perceptual Cells—freestanding enclosures that immerse one viewer at a time—is on view at LACMA for a year beginning this Sunday. Light Reignfall requires that viewers wears special headphones as they lie down on a narrow bed that slides into a spherical chamber filled with dancing, saturated light.

Around the world

It’s impossible to include all the incredible exhibitions and art events happening this week in a single post. If there’s something you feel should have been included in today’s roundup, leave a comment below!