Art Industry News: Rapper and Voracious Collector Westside Gunn Has an Entire Penthouse ‘Just for His Art’ + Other Stories

Plus, the South Korean president's son got a federal artist relief grant and the head of the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts steps down.

Rapper Westside Gunn arriving to the Palm Angels Fashion Show in New York City. (Photo by Gilbert Carrasquillo/GC 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, December 22.


Gallery Asks Collectors to Give Their Discounts to Artists – The Los Angeles gallery Commonwealth & Council has launched an innovative initiative to help get their artists through lockdown and beyond. The gallery is asking its patrons to consider contributing all or part of their typical discounts to the Council Fund, which helps support artists’ financial needs that are often beyond the scope of a traditional gallery, such as health insurance and the development of non-commercial projects. (The Art Newspaper)

South Korean President’s Son Under Fire for Arts Relief – Moon Joon-yong, the son of South Korean president Moon Jae-in, is under fire for receiving 14 million won ($12,600) as part of a relief package for artists. The money was distributed by the Seoul Foundation for Arts and Culture as part of a 656 million won ($593,000) fund given to 46 artists, with amounts ranging from 6 million to 14 million won. Moon Joon-yong responded that part of his application included a plan to distribute money to art groups, adding: “Even before I became the son of the president, my works were already acknowledged by people in the field.” (Korea Herald)

Inside Rapper Westside Gunn’s Collection – While the rapper and entrepreneur says his childhood didn’t offer many opportunities to develop his interest in art, his star turn on Eminem’s latest record has enabled him to start building a collection. “You come to my place, I literally just got a penthouse just for my art,” he says, noting he has assembled between 50 and 100 works. Each of the albums released by his label, Griselda Records, features an artist-designed album cover, including Virgil Abloh’s twist on Caravaggio and a painting of Elizabeth Taylor with a third eye. (Business Insider)

European Auction Houses Actually Didn’t Have a Terrible Year – European auction houses are pleasantly surprised at how easily customers have adapted to the new world of online art-buying. The website for Vienna’s Dorotheum welcomed one million visitors in June, with seven-figure works finding buyers. Like their larger, international peers, these auction houses have found a happy medium combining phone bidding with live auctioneers and up to five cameras in a room, which is meant to “create a certain tension,” says Ketterer Kunst’s Peter Wehrle. “It worked.” (TAN)


A New Record for Társila do Amaral in Brazil – A painting by the Brazilian modernist fetched a record 57.5 million reais ($11.2 million) at a São Paulo auction last week, becoming not only the most expensive work ever to sell by the artist, but among the priciest works by a Latin American artist to sell at auction. A Caipirinha (1923) came to the block by court order from the collection of banker Salim Taufic Schahin, who is the subject of a lawsuit over unpaid debts to 12 creditors. (ARTnews)

Should Art Dealers Have Beards? – A study in the Journal of Business Research finds that consumers are more likely to trust a salesman with a beard than a clean-shaven employee, a mustachioed worker, or someone with a five o’clock shadow. Using data gathered from Facebook Ad Manager, researchers found that “facial hair on male sales workers increased perceptions of expertise and trustworthiness… which increased the likelihood of a sale.” (Daily Mail)


Women’s Museum Closes Through March – Citing lockdown measures in Washington, DC, and broader public-health concerns, the National Museum of Women in the Arts will be closed from December 24 through March 21, 2021. The museum says it will “continue to reassess its plans as needed.” (Instagram)

Danish Art School Chief Resigns – Kirsten Langkilde, the rector of the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, has stepped down following controversy over a performance by an academy employee who dumped a bust of King Frederick V into a canal. After the postdoctoral researcher behind the act, Katrine Dirckinck-Holmfeld, was fired, an open letter calling for her reinstatement did little to appease the wider media landscape, and Langkilde defended the decision. Now, the Danish culture ministry has said the academy needs “new powers.” Jes Gjørup was named acting rector. (TAN)


How’s the Shutdown for LA’s Most Devoted Museumgoer? – The Los Angeles Times checks in with 81-year-old Ben Barcelona, described as “LA’s most devoted museum fan.” Since his retirement at 73, Barcelona has visited art spaces every day on a set schedule for eight years straight. Now, unable to visit gallery spaces, he has embraced the art of the everyday on long walks. Plus, curators are sending him books about shows they think he’ll like. “They’re all very good to me,” he says. (Los Angeles Times)

Karl Lagerfeld’s Jewels Are Heading to Auction – Christie’s will sell more than 100 Chanel jewels created during Lagerfeld’s tenure as creative director next month. The trove comes from Upper East Side fixture Susan Gutfreund, whose late husband was the CEO of erstwhile Salomon Brothers. Many of the objects are prototypes, one-of-a-kind, or have never been shown publicly before. (Town & Country)

Oversized faux pearl and resin earrings by Karl Lagerfeld’s Chanel. ©2020, Photograph by Visko Hatfield

Oversized faux pearl and resin earrings by Karl Lagerfeld’s Chanel. © 2020, Photograph by Visko Hatfield.

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