Art Industry News: Ai Weiwei Sounds Pretty Happy With His Life on a Farm in Portugal + Other Stories

Plus, Italy plans a high speed train from Rome to Pompeii and photographer Kwame Brathwaite has died.

Ai Weiwei in Porto, Portugal. Photo: Horacio Villalobos Corbis/Corbis via 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 Tuesday, April 4. 


Italy Plans Train Between Rome and Pompeii – Aimed at increasing tourism to Italy’s heritage sites, the new high-speed connection will cost an estimated €35 million ($38 million). A new train station and transport hub is set to open next to the Pompeii archeological site by the beginning of 2024, which will be a new stop on the existing high-speed line connecting Rome to Naples and Salerno. (The Art Newspaper) 

Photographer Kwame Brathwaite Dies at 85 – The influential American photographer and activist has died, aged 85. Brathwaite will be remembered for his elegant portraits centering Black and African beauty in the 1960s and beyond. (ARTnews)

Ai Weiwei Sounds Pretty Happy With His Life on a Farm in Portugal – The Chinese artist is settling into life outside of Lisbon where he has set up a new studio. The work-live residence consists of a farmhouse and a purpose-built jointed timber structure, the latter a replica of the studio he had in Shanghai. It was demolished by the Chinese authorities before his arrest in 2011. Ai’s 13-year-old son is still based in the U.K., attending school in Cambridge, but there is a grand piano in Ai’s Lisbon work-live space for him when he visits. (Guardian)

Galleria Borghese Reunites Renaissance Frieze – Five panels of the 16th century Aeneas Frieze by court painter Dosso Dossi have been reunited at an exhibition in Rome. There are seven known panels of the 10 total in existence, though some were deemed too fragile to travel.  (TAN) 


Harry Potter Wands & Other Movie Props to Hit the Block – Julien’s Auctions and Turner Classic Movies are staging an auction featuring “over 100 years of pop culture history” including the largest collection of wands from the Harry Potter franchise. The top lot of the sale is the bespoke white suit John Travolta wore starring as Tony Manero in Saturday Night Fever, which is estimated to sell for between $100,000 and $200,000. (Fox)

Antiquities Sleuth Named Head of Harvard Law Review – Law student Apsara Iyer, part of the Manhattan D.A.’s antiquities trafficking unit, has been named president of the esteemed publication. (TAN)

New York’s Weed Museum Set to Open – The House of Cannabis, or THC NYC, is set to open this Friday in Manhattan’s Soho neighborhood, conveniently situated less than a ten minute walk from the Museum of Ice Cream. Installations include a Disorientation Room filled with funhouse mirrors and a film displaying the history of cannabis culture; The Joint, an art show; and The Forum, a collaboration with the Drug Policy Alliance that tells the story of individuals affected by the War on Drugs. (Time Out) 

Inaugural Frieze Artadia Prize Winner Announced – The New York-based artist Jessica Vaughn is the inaugural recipient of the new prize, designed to provide resources for an artist to realize a major work at Frieze New York this May. Selected by jurors Sohrab Mohebbi, director of SculptureCenter and Franklin Sirmans, director of the Perez Art Museum, Vaughn’s work, titled The Internet of Things, is a project commenting on late-stage capitalism featuring a mass mailing service. (Press release) 


See a Surreal Swimming Pool Installation in Hong Kong – Artist Chan Wai-lap has created an immersive outdoor installation for the Hong Kong Museum of Art. Titled Some of us are looking at the stars, the immersive work lets visitors step inside the artist’s version of a public swimming pool outside the museum. (Press release

Chan Wai-lap, <i> Some of us are looking at the stars</i> (2023). Courtesy of HKMoA.

Chan Wai-lap, Some of us are looking at the stars (2023). Courtesy of HKMoA.


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