Art Industry News: Did the Vatican Censor Its Art to Cover Up the Secret History of Female Priests?

Pope Francis holds a mass to give the sacred pallium to new metropolitan Archbishops

Pope Francis holds a mass to give the sacred pallium to new metropolitan Archbishops on June 29, 2019 at St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican. (Photo by Tiziana FABI / AFP) (Photo credit should read TIZIANA FABI/AFP/Getty Images)

Art Industry News is normally a daily digest of the most consequential developments coming out of the art world and art market. Here’s what you need to know this Monday, July 8.


Antony Gormley Joins Protest Over BP Sponsorship – The esteemed sculptor Sir Antony Gormley has joined the growing calls for London’s National Portrait Gallery to end its relationship with longtime sponsor BP. The oil company has supported the gallery’s prestigious annual portrait award for about three decades. In a letter sent last week, almost 80 artists—including five Turner Prize winners and 10 former competitors for the National Portrait Gallery’s BP Portrait Award—called on the institution to cut ties because of BP’s role in “furthering the climate crisis.” Gormley expanded on the letter speaking to BBC, saying, “Art is about giving a platform for sustainable futures…. [It is] very clear that this is not a part of BPs remit.” (BBC)

Op-Ed Calls Out the Enduring Whiteness of Mainstream Criticism – In the New York Times, Elizabeth Méndez Berry, a director at the Nathan Cummings Foundation, and Chi-hui Yang, a program officer at the Ford Foundation, argue that mainstream media remains largely segregated, note that critics with the biggest megaphones remain white men. That’s a problem when much of the most vital art is being made by artists of color, whose references might not always be immediately legible to white viewers. The stakes are high: “Whether we believe someone should be locked in a cage or not is shaped by the stories we absorb about one another, and whether they’re disrupted or not,” they write. (New York Times)

Did the Vatican Hide Depictions of Female Priests in Art? – Art historian Ally Kateusz presented a research paper in Rome last week arguing that the church buried evidence of Catholic iconography in which women were shown carrying out duties now only permitted for men in an effort to keep them from becoming priests. She tracked down several examples of early Christian artwork showing women as bishops and priests, although some academics disagree with her interpretation of the artifacts. (Daily Beast)




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