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Briefing

Celebrated sociologist Zygmunt Bauman passes away; artists, curators and critics set to strike in protest against Trump inauguration

Sociologist Zygmunt Bauman (1925-2017) attending the European Culture Congress, 2011,  Wroclaw, Poland. Photograph: M. Oliva Soto

Sociologist Zygmunt Bauman (1925-2017) attending the European Culture Congress, 2011,  Wroclaw, Poland. Photograph: M. Oliva Soto

  • Zygmunt Bauman, one of the most prominent European sociologists of recent generations, has passed away at the age of 91. Bauman’s extensive catalogue of writing explores concepts such as the fluidity of identity in the modern world, the Holocaust, contemporary consumerism and globalization, and is collected within over 50 books and hundreds of essays. Throughout his life, Bauman was presented with numerous awards, including the European Amalfi Prize for Sociology (1992), the Theodor W. Adorno Award (1998), and the Prince of Asturias Award (2010). Bauman was born in Poznań, Poland, in 1925, and died on 9 January at his home in Leeds, UK.
     
  • A host of international artists, curators and critics are calling on workers operating within the cultural sector to down tools on 20 January as part of #J20 Art Strike, an organized protest against the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump. An official statement, which was circulated at the end of last week, reads: ‘This call concerns more than the art field. It is made in solidarity with the nation-wide demand that on January 20 and beyond, business should not proceed as usual in any realm.’ #J20 is undersigned by an extensive group of artists including Barbara Kruger, Walid Raad, Joan Jonas, and Julie Mehretu, as well as a number of leading critics and writers such as Hilton Als, Negar Azimi, and Chris Kraus.
     
  • The students, staff and alumni of London’s Central Saint Martins have established a temporary art school within Tate Modern’s new wing, the Switch House, in an attempt to draw attention to the funding cuts that are ‘currently threatening arts education’, and to remind the public ‘what resistance we can offer’. As Gareth Harris at The Art Newspaper reports, the project, which will feature workshops, lectures and open classes, is part of a longer campaign calling for the government to include art and other creative subjects in the English Baccalaureate (EBacc).
     
  • New York organisation the College Art Association has announced the recipients and finalists of its 2017 Awards for Distinction, which recognise outstanding achievements in the fields of art, art history, fiction, curating and criticism. This year’s list includes Kerry James Marshall (Artist Award for Distinguished Body of Work), Faith Ringgold (Distinguished Artist Award for Lifetime Achievement), and a number of writers and editors including Ruth Fine, Laura U. Marks, and Kishwar Rizvi.
     
  • Laurie Anderson and Lawrence Weiner are amongst the recipients of the 2017 Wolf Prize, an annual award first established in Israel to recognise exceptional work across the fields of chemistry, mathematics, physics, medicine and the arts. The prizes – five grants of USD$100,000, which this year will be will be divided between eight recipients – will be presented in June by Israeli President Reuven Rivlin.
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