Art Industry News: Jerry Saltz Says the Whitney Biennial Is the Best One in Years, But Has Two Major Flaws + Other Stories

Plus, LAXART will open its first-ever permanent space in Los Angeles, and Masterpiece London chair Philip Hewat-Jaboor dies in Jersey.

Jerry Saltz. (Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images for Playboy)
Jerry Saltz. (Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images for Playboy)

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 this Tuesday, April 5.


Critics Slam Grammy’s Description of Virgil Abloh  – Critics took aim at the Grammy Awards, which took place this weekend, for describing the late Virgil Abloh as a “hip hop fashion designer” in a screened tribute. Abloh, who died last fall, was known for his contributions to art, architecture, industrial design, and fashion. (Complex)

Sheikh Loses Appeal Over Fake Antiquities Claims – Qatari Sheikh Hamad Bin Abdullah al-Thani lost a legal appeal in which he alleged that the New York- and Geneva-based Phoenix Ancient Art sold him two fake statues for a combined $5.2 million. One of the objects is a $3 million bust of Alexander the Great as Herakles, which the gallery said was dated between the 3rd and 1st centuries B.C.E.; the other is a statuette of the goddess Nike that the Sheikh bought for $2.2 million. (The Art Newspaper)

Jerry Saltz Liked the Whitney Biennial Well Enough – Overall, the art critic thought the show was the best Whitney Biennial in some time. But he noted that some of the work felt “dated” and moaned about the “long wall labels projecting meanings that are not actually in the work. This art is predicated on the idea that if the cause or subject matter of a work of art is good, then the work itself is good. If you don’t like the art, you’re seen as hostile to the cause.” He also notes what he says are two glaring omissions: the video of George Floyd’s murder, which influenced so much of the work in the show; and works by young figurative painters like Salman Toor, Amy Sherald, and Jordan Casteel. (New York)

Chairman of Masterpiece London Fair Philip Hewat-Jaboor Has Died – The chairman of Masterpiece London, who was also an art consultant and collector, died at his home in Jersey on March 31 after a brief, sudden illness. The fair organizer began his career at Sotheby’s in 1972, where he was a specialist in 19th-century furniture and artworks. (TAN)


LAXART to Open First Permanent Space – The nonprofit LAXART will establish its first permanent home in fall 2022 in the Melrose Hills area of Los Angeles. “This is more than just a new building,” board member and artist Glenn Ligon said in a statement. “It is a blank canvas that will allow us to give artists the freedom to experiment with new formats and develop innovative public programs.” (Press release)

Eight Men Charged With Stealing Banksy’s Bataclan Memorial – A French court has ordered a criminal trial for eight men charged with stealing a door from the Bataclan Theater in Paris that had allegedly been decorated by Banksy as a memorial to the victims of the 2015 terrorist attacks. Three have been charged with aggravated theft and five for transporting or receiving the work, which was recovered in a farmhouse in Italy. The trial date has yet to be set. (Le Figaro)

TEFAF Announces Participants – TEFAF Maaastricht 2022 will take place June 25 through June 30, with 242 exhibiting dealers from 20 countries. Nearly 220 will return from previous years, including Axel Vervoodt and Ben Brown. Newcomers include Bartha Contemporary from London and Galerie Nicolas Bourriaud from Paris. (Press release)


Barbara Kruger on Her LACMA Retrospective – On the occasion of her show, Kruger explained in an interview how early experiences working for magazines influenced her work. Her art is about “erasing and re-creating,” the artist said. “We live in such a remix culture. What digital culture has done is so extraordinary in so many liberatory and mesmeratory ways—and so many punishing and brutal and shaming ways.” (LA Times)


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