Industry news and events – 13 December 2019 13.12.19

Written by 

Rebecca Salter President of the Royal Academy of Arts Getty Images Tristan FewingsRebecca Salter was elected president of the Royal Academy of Arts. Image via Getty Images/Tristan Fewings

Get a bitesize overview of the week’s headlines and events with Icon’s round-up


The General Election on Thursday resulted in a larger than expected win for the Conservatives, with voters giving Boris Johnson at least 364 seats in parliament. In the aftermath, several architects expressed their dismay, with a pre-election poll showing more of the profession had planned to vote Labour than Tory. RIBA issed a statement saying that the election would be remembered as 'the Brexit election', and called for greater clarity on plans for trade deals that protect access to 'talent, goods and services' as well as action on housing, fire regulation and climate change.


The Royal Academy of Arts elected a new president – picking the first woman in its 251-year history. Artist Rebecca Salter became an academician in 2014 in printmaking and served in the role of keeper. Find out more about the historic election and what industry reaction was in our story.

1024px Royal Academy 2010The Royal Academy exterior. Photo by Tony Hisgett, CC by 2.0


A story that started at Art Basel with a banana taped to a wall keeps on making new headlines. The banana, duct-taped to a wall at the Perrotin gallery in Miami, was an artwork by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan that the gallery founder said was 'a symbol of global trade' and about 'how objects move through the world.' Titled Comedian, the piece sold for $120,000 earlier in December, but became the subject of additional controversy when performance artist David Datuna ate it. Now, the artwork has prompted a protest by janitorial workers in Miami, who marched with bananas taped to their fronts to protest low wages and the undervaluing of their work – comparing their own compensation to the cost of the artwork.


In lighter news, a pair of religious ministers have used the festive season to hold up the nativity story as a shining example of a reuse and recycle ethos. Father Willie Boyd, a Catholic priest, and Reverend Neil Urquhart, a Church of Scotland minister, have made a rap video (not their first) to promote awareness of climate change and the reuse of resources. The pair told The Tablet that flooding and Blue Planet were among the inspirations for their climate crisis song, and pointed out that 'Jesus' first bed was a recycled animal feeder.'


Untitled 2018 c Suzie and LeoUntitled 2018 © by Suzie and Leo

Adorned: The Fashionable Show, Foam, Amsterdam

Fashion photography is evolving away from the highly retouched images of excess. Instead, young photographers and art directors challenge entrenched notions of beauty, glamour and style while highlighting issues such as including, diversity, gender and everyday life.

Leonor Antunes, MASP, São Paulo

Used to absorbing influences from important female designers, architects and artists such as Alison Smithson, Nanna Ditzel and Lucia Noguiera, Leonor Antunes has created two new site-specific installation in Lina Bo Bardi’s brutalist Museum of Art in São Paulo and the elegant Casa de Vidro.

Installation view of Amalgam at the Palais de Tokyo3 Installation view of Amalgam at the Palais de Tokyo, Paris, 20 February-12 May 2019 © Theaster Gates and courtesy of the artist. Photo: Chris Strong

Theaster Gates: Amalgam, Tate Liverpool

The first showing in the UK of US artist Theaster Gates, the exhibition will explore issues of race, territory and inequality. Featuring sculpture, installation, film and dance, Gates’ work is influenced by his studies in urban planning and his work in regeneration.

Leave a comment

Click to show