Art Industry News: A California Court Revives a Lawsuit Over a ‘Sexist’ Marilyn Monroe Statue + Other Stories

Plus, a trove of vintage Apple products heads to auction, and Russia's culture minister is hit with new sanctions.

People visit and photograph the Forever Marilyn statue of actress Marilyn Monroe in Palm Springs, California, on August 4, 2012. Photo: Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images.

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, February 28.


U.S. Imposes Sanctions on Russian Culture Minister – Olga Lyubimova, the top cultural official in Vladimir Putin’s government, is among the new names added to the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s sanctions list, which was updated on February 24. Lyubimova, a vocal supporter of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, was already sanctioned by the European Union late last year.  (The Art Newspaper)

Anwar Sadat’s Grandson Blasts Auction of Former President’s Passport – Karim Sadat, the grandson of the former Egyptian president Anwar Sadat, complained to the Egyptian government officials about the sale of the former leader’s diplomatic passport through the Texas-based Heritage Auctions. Karim, who called the sale “an insult,” also requested an investigation into how the passport ended up in the hands of a private buyer, as the rest of the late Sadat’s possessions are held in local institutions. (National News/Globe Echo)

Controversial Marilyn Monroe Sculpture Returns to Court – A California court of appeals has reinstated a lawsuit filed by a group of Palm Springs residents against the city over artist Seward Johnson’s “sexist” 26-foot-tall Forever Marilyn (2011) sculpture. The residents seek to relocate the work, which allows passersby ‘disrespectful’ views of the actress’s underwear from below. It was installed in 2021. (TAN)

Extent of Cultural Damage in Turkey and Syria Revealed – The devastating earthquakes that claimed more than 46,000 lives also destroyed a number of heritage structures and archeological and religious sites that were still active places of worship. These include the bastions of the Gaziantep Castle, which has been described by experts as an “1,800-year-old landmark” that is “fundamental to understanding the region.” (TAN)


Perelman Performing Arts Center Announces Opening – After nearly 20 years, the arts center named for the billionaire mega-collector is finally nearing completion, and is set to open in September. Located at the World Trade Center site in Lower Manhattan, the $500 million complex will serve as a venue for film, theater, dance, music, and media, with a restaurant led by chef Marcus Samuelsson. (Press release)

Trove of Early Apple Products to Hit the Block – Following the bombshell-sales of unopened iPhones and Steve Jobs’s old Birkenstocks, Julien’s Auctions is hoping to cash in big. The auction company is hosting a sale of the archive of Swiss Apple collector Hanspeter Luzi, which includes more than 500 products designed between 1977 and 2008. (Apple Insider)

‘All the Beauty and the Bloodshed’ Comes to HBO Max – The searing documentary, which tracks artist Nan Goldin’s fight against the opioid-manufacturing Sackler family will premiere on the streaming service March 16. The Golden Lion-winning film directed by Laura Poitras is also in the running for the Academy Award for best feature documentary. (Instagram)

Estate of Overlooked Surrealist Gets Gallery Representation – New York gallery Hollis Taggart will represent the estate of the late artist Ralph Iwamoto, beginning with a show slated to run from March 23 to April 15. The Hawaiian-born artist studied at the Artist Students League and enjoyed early success with shows at the Rugina Gallery and the Whitney Museum of American Art. He also served as a security guard at MoMA alongside Dan Flavin, Sol LeWitt, and Robert Ryman. (The Art Newspaper)


Robert Rauschenberg Open for Select Tours – The artist’s late-1960s New York home, which was an orphanage in the 19th century, has been renovated and transformed into an archive displaying the artist’s work and offering a glimpse into his life. The house is now open to academics and professionals by appointment. (Hyperallergic)

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