Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian has passed away at the age of 97. The news of the pioneering Iranian artist’s death in her Tehran home, due to natural causes, was confirmed by the Iranian Students’ News Agency. Born in Qazvin, Iran, in 1922, Farmanfarmaian later moved to study at New York’s Parsons School for Design, and befriended artists including Andy Warhol, Willem de Kooning and Jackson Pollock. She became well known for her large-scale mirrored mosaic sculptures, which she described as ‘geometric families’, taking inspiration from Persian tiling practices. They were included in her 2015 Guggenheim retrospective ‘Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian: Infinite Possibility’, the first time an Iranian artist held a solo show at the museum. Paying tribute to Farmanfarmaian on Instagram, the curator Hans Ulrich Obrist wrote: ‘The many stages of her life correspond to the many dimensions, aspects, and inventions of her work – from her mirror mosaics to her geometric rugs, from her daily practice of drawing flowers to her architectural-scale installations.’
The Guggenheim Museum’s survey of the Swedish mystic and painter, ‘Hilma af Klint: Paintings for the Future’ has hit a new audience record – with 600,000 visitors, it is the most-visited exhibition in the Guggenheim’s six-decade-long history. Don’t miss Anya Ventura writing in frieze on the spiritualism behind Europe’s first abstract artist: ‘Why does af Klint speak to us in the present? Perhaps because she represents values – female, spiritual, ecological, collectivist – eroded by the rise of industrial modernity, values we desperately need to reclaim.’
Environmental activists from the group Extinction Rebellion have staged a ‘die-in’ protest at London’s Natural History Museum. Following large-scale protests across the capital, organized by the group, with major roads blocked, around 100 activists held a lie-down protest at the museum on Monday 22 April, in order to raise awareness of the ‘sixth mass extinction’ threatened by climate change. Don’t miss Mel Evans writing on the the art of environmental protest, and the challenge ‘not merely to make art about the political, or even within the social, but to make art that can radically alter the social and political possibilities presented to us.’
In further announcements: London’s Art Night has revealed further details for its fourth edition, due to take place on 22 June 2019, including the UK premiere of Marina Abramovic’s Rising (2018); Kayne Griffin Corcoran represents Anthony Hernandez; and David Zwirner Gallery will represent the family of Paul Klee – the first time they have worked with a commercial gallery.