Art Industry News: Agnes Gund Funds Criminal Justice Reform + More Must-Read Stories

Plus, Marina Abramović, Jeff Koons, and Olafur Eliasson premiere new VR artworks and a sculpture by Camille Claudel sets a world record.

Roy Lichtenstein's Masterpiece, (1962) on view at the Tate Modern in 2013. Photo by Dan Kitwood/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 this Monday, June 12.


Agnes Gund Uses $150 Million Lichtenstein Sale to Support Criminal Justice Reform – The MoMA president emerita used $100 million from the sale of the 1962 painting Masterpiece to start the Art for Justice Fund, “a movement to end mass incarceration.” She has called on her art-collecting peers to join her in using proceeds from art sales to champion social justice causes. (New York Times)

(Read our interview with Gund about using art to effect social change.)

Virtual Reality Art Platform Launches – Acute Art is a London-based production and distribution company that bills itself as the world’s first VR arts platform, launching this fall with immersive artworks by Marina Abramović, Jeff Koons, and Olafur Eliasson. (Dazed)

Kuala Lumpur Will Host Its First Biennale in November – The inaugural Kuala Lumpur Biennale International Arts Exhibition will be organized by the National Visual Arts Gallery of Malaysia around the theme of love and societal values. It will run from November 1 to March 31, 2018, featuring work by artists from across southeast Asia. (ArtAsiaPacific)

Why Tristram Hunt Ditched Politics for the V&A Museum – In February, Hunt resigned his position as a Labour Party MP to take on the directorship of the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. Now he reveals it was his involvement in a failed search for the perfect porcelain tiles that lured him into the art world. (The Times)


Thaddeus Ropac to Rep James Rosenquist’s Estate – Ropac and Rosenquist were friends before the Pop artist’s death on March 31, and now Ropac will take on worldwide representation of his estate. (Press release)

19th-Century European Art Is Falling Out of Favor – As top buyers gravitate toward contemporary, more traditional styles of painting are failing to reach top prices (or sell at all), leading one art adviser to conclude that 19th-century art is “just not sexy any more.” (New York Times)

Camille Claudel Breaks Record With $1.3 Million Sale – La Valse, an 18-inch sculpture, sold for €1.18 million at an auction in Montbazon, France yesterday, setting a world record for an artwork of its size. The buyer was the artist’s grand-niece, and the work will be housed in the new Camille Claudel Museum in Nogent-sur-Seine. (Le Monde)


Karen Bradley Remains UK Secretary of Culture, Media, and Sport – The Conservative Party politician has withstood the parliament shakeup following the UK’s general election last week. She will continue to be responsible for policy-making in, among other sectors, the country’s arts, culture, museum, and gallery sectors. (The Guardian)

Eugene Richards’s First Museum Retrospective Opens – Richards, the photographer who captured decades of harsh realities of racism, poverty, drug addiction, sickness, and the decline of rural life in America, gets his first museum retrospective. “The Run-On of Time,” opens at the Rochester, NY museum. (George Eastman Museum)


Billy Connolly “Overjoyed” by Murals Painted in His Honor – In Glasgow, three large murals have been painted to celebrate the comedian’s 75th birthday. The gesture had an unexpectedly emotional effect on the honoree, who said, “I thought I’d be all light-hearted on seeing them and jokey—but they’re so big—the effect on me is so profound.” (BBC)

Lawrence Weiner Thinks Art Should Fuck Up Our Whole Lives – In a video interview with Vice’s Creators conducted back in April, the conceptual artist said of making art, “you don’t want to fuck up someone’s day but the purpose of what you are doing is to fuck up their whole life.​” Now, the interview is available to read in its entirety. (Creators)


Lucio Fontana’s Fine di Dio
Tornabuoni Art

Art Basel Booth 526
June 15-18

Continuing its tradition of showcasing historically important postwar Italian art at Art Basel, Tornabuoni Art will this year dedicate its entire booth at the fair to the presentation of Lucio Fontana’s Fine di Dio (“End of God”) works from between 1963 and 1964, together with never-before-seen photographs, preparatory studies, and letters relating to their creation.


Lucio Fontana with his painting at Galerie Iris Clert in Paris, 1964.

Lucio Fontana with his painting at Galerie Iris Clert in Paris, 1964.

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