Art Industry News: Forensic Architecture Claims a Miami Museum Censored Its Probe Into a Migrant Detention Center + Other Stories
Plus, Desert X postpones its 2021 biennial and art shippers report a rocky rollout of the new Brexit procedures.
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 Tuesday, January 12.
El Anatsui Gets the New Yorker Profile Treatment – The 76-year-old Ghanaian sculptor, who is based in Nigeria, has become known around the world for transforming facades with his intricate yet grandiose woven metal fabrics made from bottle caps. Among the many worthwhile nuggets in this story: El Anatsui’s role in pushing his prices to an international standard at a time when the global market demanded a discount on the work of African art. “I want to be the piranha that everybody thinks pushed the market to that level,” his dealer Jack Shainman said, but “truth be told, El tells me what the price will be.” (New Yorker)
Desert X Postpones 2021 Edition – The outdoor biennial Desert X in the Coachella Valley, California, will be postponed until lockdown restrictions in the state have been lifted. The third edition of the show was set to open on February 6. The full lineup of participants has not yet been revealed (although one work was relocated due to local opposition). A new opening date will be announced “as soon as we believe we can safely do so,” says the biennial’s founder Susan Davis. (The Art Newspaper)
The Story Behind Forensic Architecture’s Miami Show – The New York Times has the story behind the dissolution of a highly anticipated exhibition of the work of Forensic Architecture, the London-based research group known for using renderings to investigate potential human rights violations. For its show at the Museum of Art and Design at Miami Dade College in Florida, the group planned to probe a nearby facility that had been used by the US government to hold unaccompanied migrant children. At the last minute, the plans were scaled back, documents suggest, because officials were concerned about the appearance that they were sponsoring an investigation, and the show’s curator was informed her contract would not be renewed. (New York Times)
Contrary to Popular Opinion, Yellowstone Was Not Untouched by Humans – The popular narrative that Yellowstone, America’s first national park, was a gem of wilderness untouched by humans conveniently fails to acknowledge the Indigenous people who lived there, notes a group of archeologists who are uncovering historic campgrounds all over the park. The US Cavalry patrolled the park for 32 years to try to clear Native Americans from their traditional hunting grounds, and the history of Yellowstone has subsequently been rewritten to present the landscape as an uninhabited forest. (Smithsonian)
Art Shippers Report Rocky Rollout of Brexit Terms – Art shippers say they are facing onerous paperwork, additional costs, and delays in transporting work to European countries from the UK since the nation officially separated from the EU on January 1. Some customs officials appear not to have been trained on the new procedures, which is causing widespread confusion. (TAN)
Roberts Projects Now Represents Brenna Youngblood – Los Angeles-based artist Brenna Youngblood, known for her semi-abstract assemblages, has joined the roster at Roberts Projects in LA. Her debut solo exhibition will be on view from March 6 to April 17. (Press release)
Art Miami Cancels February and March Fairs – The art-fair organizer is calling off the 2021 edition of Art Wynwood, due to take place from February 11 to 15, and the Palm Beach Modern + Contemporary Fair, scheduled for March 18 to 21. The fairs will return to their regularly scheduled dates in 2022. (Press release)
COMINGS & GOINGS
Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco Hires African Art Curator – The California institution has hired Natasha Becker as its inaugural curator of African art. The South African-born expert, who most recently served as curator-in-residence at Faction Art Projects in Harlem, began her new role on December 1. (Culture Type)
New School Gets $5.5 Million Grant – The New School in New York City has received two grants worth a combined $5.5 million from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The money will fund the school’s efforts to increase demographic and intellectual diversity among its faculty and the Vera List Center for Art and Politics, a hub for politically engaged art. (Press release)
FOR ART’S SAKE
Ohio Arts Council Member Resigns Over Capitol Comments – A board member of the Ohio Arts Council, Susan Allan Block, has resigned after posting incendiary comments on Twitter last week. Block referred to incoming US vice president Kamala Harris as a “whore” and called for “no peace” in the wake of the mob that entered the US Capitol last week. (Hyperallergic)
Dr. Martens Teams Up With Keith Haring Estate – The late American artist’s signature figures, from a barking dog to a genderless human form, will be reproduced on the British footwear brand’s classic 1460 and 1461 boots. Last year, the company released a similar collaboration with the Basquiat estate. (ARTnews)
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