Art Industry News: A Fossil Fuel Company Is Sponsoring the New ‘Energy Revolution Gallery’ at London’s Science Museum + Other Stories

Plus, Martha Stewart is getting into the NFT game and Turkey recalls 10 envoys over the international call to release an arts patron.

Protesters and scientists gathered both inside and outside the Science Museum to demonstrate against oil giant Shell's sponsorship of the Our Future Planet climate change exhibition in 2019. (Photo by Vuk Valcic/SOPA Images/LightRocket 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 Wednesday, October 20.


Victims of Mass Oil Poisoning Occupy Prado Museum – Victims who suffered from an outbreak of illness caused by adulterated cooking oil in 1981 staged a protest at the Prado Museum in Madrid on Tuesday. Six protesters occupied the gallery that houses Diego Velázquez’s Las Meninas and threatened to kill themselves if their demands for a meeting with the prime minister and coverage of their medical expenses were not met. The protesters eventually left; two of them were reportedly detained by the police. (Washington Post)

Chinese Scientist Wants to Conserve What May Be the World’s Oldest Art – A scientist from Guangdong, the southern part of China, has called for the conservation of fossils of handprints and footprints discovered in Quesang on the Tibetan Plateau as they could be the world’s oldest prehistoric artworks. Other experts remain skeptical about the claim, suggesting that the patterns may not actually qualify as “art.” (TIME)

The Science Museum’s Newest Sponsor Is Coal Company – The Science Museum in the U.K. has come under fire for taking sponsorship money from a subsidiary of the Adani Group, a conglomerate with a major stake in coal, to fund its Energy Revolution Gallery. (Adani’s green energy arm is the official partner of the space, which is slated to open in 2023.) The museum has been heavily criticized in the past for accepting funding from oil and gas giants. The museum’s former director, climate science professor Chris Rapley, quit its advisory board on October 2 over the row. (Guardian)

Turkey Recalls 10 Envoys Over Call to Release Arts Patron – Turkey’s Foreign Ministry has summoned the ambassadors of the United States, France, Germany, Canada, Finland, Denmark, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, and Sweden to protest the countries’ call to release Osman Kavala, a civil activist and founder of the arts nonprofit Anadolu Kültür. Kavala, 64, has been kept behind bars for four years despite the European Court of Human Rights ruling in favor of his release in December 2019. (France 24)


Martha Stewart Is Doing NFTs Now – The 80-year-old lifestyle guru is getting into the NFT craze with the debut of a line of Halloween-themed digital collectibles featuring images carved into pumpkins on her e-commerce website. Maybe she got some advice from her friend and fellow NFT operator Snoop Dogg. (Wall Street Journal)

Studio Museum Names Artists in Residence – Video artist Cameron Granger, painter Jacob Mason-Macklin, and Qualeasha Wood, who is known for making tapestries, have been selected to take part in the renowned artist-in-residence program at the Studio Museum in Harlem in 2021–22. All three are under the age of 30. (ARTnews)

MCA Denver Stages Virtual NFT Show Backed by Sotheby’s – The Museum of Contemporary Art Denver is presenting a free-of-charge, four-part virtual series focusing on NFTs, the history of blockchain technology, and the future of digital art. The program’s lead sponsor is Sotheby’s, which has been actively cultivating the market for NFT art. (Artfix Daily)

L.S. Lowry’s Painting of an Auction Room Could Fetch $2 Million – A 1958 painting depicting a packed auction salesroom by the Lancashire-born artist L.S. Lowry is up for sale at Sotheby’s next month. The work, a rare example of an interior by the artist, is expected to fetch as much as $2 million. (Guardian)


Is Dua Lipa an Art Collector? – There’s a special siren that goes off in the offices of art-media outlets around the globe when a celebrity posts a picture of themselves in front of a work of art. This time around, it was English singer-songwriter Dua Lipa, who offered her 73.8 million Instagram followers peek at her art collection as she posed at home in front of a Muppets-inspired assemblage by the Los Angeles art collaborative FriendsWithYou. (Cultured)


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