Art Industry News: Clement Greenberg and Irving Blum Have a Duet in Gus Van Sant’s New Musical About Andy Warhol + Other Stories

Plus, Gillian Wearing's statue of Diane Arbus pops up in Central Park, and Interpol says art crime flourished during 2020.

Jerry Hall, Andy Warhol, Debbie Harry, Truman Capote, and Paloma Picasso at Studio 54 in New York City, circa the 1970s. Photo: 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 Thursday, October 21.


Art Crime Flourished During the Pandemic – Interpol has reported that art crime flourished in 2020, with 72 member countries seizing a total of 854,742 objects—more than half of them in Europe. It also noted that there were notable increases in illegal excavations in Africa, Asia, the Americas, and the South Pacific. On the other hand, thanks likely to lockdown, museum thefts declined. (The Art Newspaper)

Australian Government Unveils a Plan to Support Aboriginal Art – Australia’s National Indigenous Visual Arts Action Plan will receive $27 million a year in funding (up from $22 million) to improve internet connections in remote Indigenous communities designed to help members use digital labeling and connect with the art market. But some say the new plan still doesn’t address foreign dealers coming in and effectively indenturing artists by forcing them into sheds to paint in order to pay off debts. (Guardian)

Gus Van Sant Made a Musical About Andy Warhol – The director of My Private Idaho and Good Will Hunting has created his first work of theater—and it’s a musical about Andy Warhol. Running as part of Portugal’s Biennial of Contemporary Arts ahead of a European tour, the production has been met with mixed reviews (and had to change its name from Andy to Trouble after the Warhol Foundation complained). Still, it sounds undeniably novel: There’s a duet between critic Clement Greenberg and art dealer Irving Blum about the merits of Abstract Expressionism and Pop art, while Warhol sings to Jasper Johns: “You paint Americana/I’ll paint queer arcana.” (Art Review)

Artists Reflect on the Influence of Bob Thompson – The painter, who died at 28 in 1966, casts a long shadow and has a major following among artists. Alex Katz’s foundation was a major lender for a retrospective of his work on view until January 9 at the Colby College Museum of Art in Waterville, Maine. Artists Peter Doig, Rashid Johnson, and Henry Taylor are also fans. “He raises the bar for me,” Taylor said. (New York Times)


UK Festival of Creativity Names Projects – The program Unboxed: Creativity in the U.K.—perhaps better known by its nickname, the “festival of Brexit”—has chosen 10 projects from nearly 300 submissions that illustrate ingenuity in art and science. The government-backed, £120 million event, which kicks off in March, will include a scale model of the solar system and “Dreammachine,” a light and sound environment that creates imagery behind closed eyes. (Guardian)

France Returns Marble Angels to Italy – A U.K. art collector handed over a pair of stolen winged angels to Italy’s carabinieri art police two decades after he unwittingly bought them from a Neapolitan antiques shop. When he recently tried to resell them, the police found that they matched those stolen in 1989 from the St. Sebastian church in Guardia Sanframondi in Naples. (AP News)

Lucien Smith Joins NFT Management Firm – The artist Lucien Smith is joining Lobus, an equity management firm focused on artists and collectors, as director of its new Cultural Innovation Lab. In his new role, Smith will work to sell artists on blockchain technology as a progressive way to manage their assets and careers. (ARTnews)


Statue of Photographer Diane Arbus Goes Up in Central Park – The artist Gillian Wearing has teamed up with the Public Art Fund to install a temporary bronze statue of the legendary photographer Diane Arbus in Manhattan’s Central Park. The unveiling of the statue, which depicts Arbus with her twin lens camera standing among passerby (and, notably, not on a plinth), coincides with Wearing’s solo exhibition at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, which opens November 5. (FAD Magazine)


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