Art Industry News: Artist Specializing in ‘Modern Misconceptions of Reality’ Charged for Involvement in Capitol Riot + Other Stories

Plus, German museums and galleries will remain closed until at least mid-February and Pierre Le-Tan’s collection heads to Sotheby's Paris.

Left, Wrigley at the Capitol on January 6; Andrew Wrigley's drivers license picture. Courtesy of the US Justice Dept.

Art Industry News is a daily digest of the most consequential developments coming out of the art world and art market. Here’s what you need to know on this Wednesday, January 20.


Why Questioning the UK’s Public Monuments Is About Not Censorship – Writer Charlotte Higgins pens a retort to the government official who introduced legislation seeking to make it more difficult for authorities to bow to what he called “baying mobs” by removing monuments to controversial figures. Higgins writes: “In the UK, precisely one prominent public sculpture was toppled by a crowd of protestors during last summer’s Black Lives Matter protests,” a reference to the Bristol monument to the slave trader Edward Colston. “It had been the subject of unsatisfactory, unresolved community debate for decades.” (Guardian)

German Museums and Galleries Will Remain Closed Until Mid-February – After a long meeting with state heads from across Germany, chancellor Angela Merkel announced that the current lockdown would be extended until February 14 at the earliest. This means that museums and galleries, which have been under lock-and-key since the beginning of November and December respectively, will remain closed. (Deutsche Welle)

Pennsylvania Artist Charged After Posting Selfies at the Capitol – Artist Andrew Wrigley, whose practice is concerned with “modern misconceptions of reality,” has been charged with knowingly entering or remaining in a restricted building, violent entry, and disorderly conduct after videos online showed him entering the Capitol during the riot on January 6. The Pennsylvania artist had to turn over his passport and avoid travel to Washington ahead of the inauguration today. (The Art Newspaper)

Another MCA Chicago Leader Departs – On the heels of news that Naomi Beckwith would leave her post at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago to lead the curatorial team at the Guggenheim, another honcho at the museum, Michael Darling, is heading out to new pastures. Darling is joining a new startup called Museum Exchange, which aims to make it easier for collectors to donate art to North American museums. Darling says he wants to allow for a “changing of the guard” at the MCA. (Chicago Tribune)


Pierre Le-Tan’s Collection Heads to Sotheby’s Paris – The French illustrator’s astounding collection will be sold at Sotheby’s Paris online between March 9 and 17, with a live auction taking place on March 16. Alongside 40 drawings by Le-Tan himself will be works by Pablo Picasso and David Hockney. (WWD)

Nigerian Art Gallery Opens in LA – Rele Gallery from Lagos is opening a Los Angeles location on February 1. It will inaugurate its space in Beverly Grove with a show of work by three Nigerian artists, Marcellina Akpojotor, Tonia Nneji, and Chidinma Nnoli. (Hyperallergic)


Harry Brant, Son of Collector Peter, Dies at 24 – The young New York socialite died after an accidental overdose of prescription drugs, according to his family. The youngest son of collector Peter Brant and model Stephanie Seymour was entrenched in the art world, attending the events like the Met Gala at the young age of 16. (New York Times)

Museum Director Roger Mandle Dies – The former executive director and chief officer of museums at the Qatar Museums Authority has died from cancer at 79. He worked closely with Sheikha al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani and helped with steer the construction of the National Museum of Qatar. (NYT)


Lebanon Returns Stolen Artifacts – Lebanon has returned two 18th-century religious icons of Jesus and Mary to Greece after they were seized during a recent auction in the country. Before they were intercepted, the new owner planned to send the pieces to Germany for yet another “international auction.” Greece had put out a notice for their return, as the paintings are known to have been stolen from an exhibition in Athens in 2016. (Courthouse News)

Fred Tomaselli Creates a Celebratory Print for the Inauguration – The artist’s newest print from his ongoing New York Times series will celebrate today’s US presidential inauguration. A third of the proceeds from each print, Biden Beats Trump (November 8, 2020) (2021), will be donated to Fair Fight, a national voting rights organization based in Georgia. (Press release)

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