Art Industry News: International Museums Acquire Landmark Works From the Souls Grown Deep Foundation + Other Stories

Plus, an Yves Klein work that may fetch $18 million heads to auction, and the Museum of the American Revolution gets a $50 million donation.

Fourth-generation Gee’s Bend quilter and Souls Grown Deep board member Mary Margaret Pettway. Photo courtesy of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Photo by Juan Arce, 2019.

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, April 20.


Climate Experts Demand British Museum End BP Sponsorship Deal – A group of scientists, archaeologists, and others organized by the activist group Culture Unstained are calling on the museum’s board of trustees to cut ties with petroleum giant BP. The group, which includes Sir Robert Watson, the former chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, says the trustees “have the capacity to reject a proposed partnership with BP because it would not conflict with their fiduciary responsibilities.” Other UK museums have already cut ties with BP, including the National Portrait Gallery in February. (Guardian)

Tretyakov Gallery in Russia Closes Exhibition Following Complaints – Russia’s Tretyakov Gallery abruptly shut down an exhibition by artist Grisha Bruskin less than one month after its opening due to complaints from “indignant citizens,” according to a report. The museum says the show, which included works from the 2017 Russian pavilion at the Venice Biennale, was closed due to technical difficulties. (The Moscow Times)

Russia Injects $12 Million Into Arts Programming – The funds are designated to support cultural projects, collectives, and figures that have become targets of sanctions, according to Sergei Kirienko, Vladimir Putin’s deputy chief of staff and a key player in Russian cultural policy. Many international organizations have severed ties with Russian artists and cultural organizations following the country’s invasion of Ukraine. (The Art Newspaper)

Souls Grown Deep Places Artworks in International Museum Collections – Tate Modern in London, Melbourne’s National Gallery of Victoria, and the Pinault Collection in Paris and Venice have acquired works from the collection of Souls Grown Deep Foundation, which oversees the legacies of a number of Black Southern artists from the U.S. It is the first time works from the foundation have been placed in institutions outside the country. (ARTnews)


Works by Contemporary African Artists Venture Into Space – Reproductions of images by Jean-David Nkot, Michel Ekeba, and Géraldine Tobé will don the cap of the Ariane 5 launcher, which will bring Africa’s first weather satellite into orbit. The project is a collaborative effort organized by the African Space Art Project, which was conceived by the French endowment fund ADD, the European satellite agency Eumetsat, and Arianespace. (Le Monde)

Museum of the American Revolution Gets $50 Million Donation – The Philadelphia museum has nearly doubled its endowment thanks to a gift from the estate of founding chairman H.F. Lenfest. The gift coincides with the fifth anniversary of the museum’s opening and the 247th anniversary of the so-called “shot heard ‘round the world” that began the revolution in Concord, Massachusetts. The museum holds what is believed to be the only wartime depiction of George Washington’s tent. (New York Times)

Yves Klein Work to Headline Phillips May Auction – A 1961 blue relief by Yves Klein is estimated to fetch $14 million to $18 million at Phillips’s contemporary art evening sale in May. Titled Relief Éponge Bleu Sans Titre (RE 49), the work comes from the “Relief éponges” series and is dedicated to the artist’s friend, photographer Charles Wilp, a student of Man Ray. (Press release)

Bloomberg Connects Is Your Go-To Venice Biennale App – Information about the so-called art-world Olympics is available through Bloomberg Connects, a Bloomberg Philanthropies project. The app, available to download for free, features a guide to some 200 artists featured in the main exhibition, “The Milk of Dreams,” information about some 80 national pavilions, and maps. (Press release)


Drift’s Dazzling Drone Performance Concludes First Preview Day of Venice Biennale – Audiences at the Venice Biennale were treated to the duo Drift’s magnificent performance Social Sacrifice, in which a herd of drones danced through the air along a soundscape designed by Don Diablo. Commissioned by Aorist, the performance is hosted by TBA21-Academy’s Ocean Space. (Instagram)


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