Art Industry News: A Helsinki Art Museum Cut Ties With Zionist Arms Heir Poju Zabludowicz Amid an Artists’ Boycott + Other Stories

Plus, New York City repatriated antiquities to Yemen, and eight Basquiat paintings will come back together in Basel.

Poju Zabludowicz and Anita Zabludowicz. Courtesy photographer Paul Bruinooge © Patrick McMullan.

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 Monday, May 1.


New York City D.A. Returns Antiquities to Yemen – The antiquities, valued together at $725,000, will be returned to Yemen after being recovered as part of an investigation into Manhattan collector Shelby White’s antiquities. The authorities seized a total of 89 antiquities valued at nearly $69 million. The three repatriated pieces will go on view at the Smithsonian Institution until Yemeni authorities can bring them back them home. (Press release)

Eight Basquiats Will Come Back Together in Basel – Eight large-scale paintings commissioned by Emilio Mazzoli in 1982, and made in Modena, Italy, are being reunited for the Fondation Beyeler’s upcoming show. Basquiat hated the experience of making the work, in an environment he described as a “sick factory.” They have not been together since they were made. The insurance value of the group of eight paintings totals $800 million. (The Art Newspaper)

Months-Long Boycott of a Major Finnish Museum Ends – A boycott of Helsinki’s Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma has ended after the institution said it would cut ties with arms dealer heir and collector Chaim “Poju” Zabludowicz. The museum also committed to updated guidelines for ethical fundraising. The Finnish National Gallery and the three museums it manages, including Kiasma, say they will be more selective about what organizations and individuals can donate in the future. (ARTnews)

Racist Monument in Virginia Is Being Removed – Authorities have initiated the process of preparing to remove and relocate Arlington Cemetery’s Confederate Memorial, which has been heavily criticized for depicting Black people as “loyal slaves.” The descendants of the sculptor, Moses Ezekiel, also supported its removal, saying the work “glorifies the fight to own human beings, and, in its portrayal of African Americans, implies their collusion.” (Hyperallergic)


Carnegie Museum to Mount Joan Brown Survey – The first retrospective in more than 20 years of the Bay Area artist is headed to the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania-based museum starting on May 27. Organized by the San Francisco Museum of Art, the show includes some 44 objects including paintings and sculptures that trace the artist’s life through her early death at 52. (Press release)

Esther McGowan Joins Aperture – McGowan is leaving her post as executive director of Visual AIDS to join the photography organization as director of development. Over the course of her tenure, McGowan helped raise awareness about HIV+ women. (ARTnews)

Isamu Noguchi Awardees Named – Artists Theaster Gates and Edmund de Waal, plus novelist and T Magazine editor Hanya Yanagihara were named as recipients of the annual award, which celebrates its 10th anniversrary this year. The award will be presented on September 12 at the Long Island City museum. (Press release)


Hank Willis Thomas Sculpture Lands at O’Hare – A new collaborative sculpture by Hank Willis Thomas and Coby Kennedy went up inside Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. Titled REACH, the work features two 31-feet-long outstretched arms emerge from a wall above the North Escalator Hall in the building. (Twitter)  

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