Art Industry News: Why Max Hollein Is a Smart Financial Bet for the Met + More Must-Read Stories

Plus, the Berkshire Museum confirms which paintings are headed to auction and Christie's nabs a $70 million Malevich for next month's sale.

Max Hollein, the new director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. (Photo by Hannelore Foerster/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 Wednesday, April 11.


Is Pleasure From Art Any Different From Drugs? – Scientists are at odds over the question of whether the pleasure we experience looking at art is any different from the feeling we get from baser joys, such as sex, social media, drugs, or sugar. The neuroscientist Julia Christensen argues that “high-level” pleasures like art and dance can be an antidote to other cravings. But many psychologists strongly disagree. (New York Times)

VR Arrives in Massachusetts With a Bang – If you want to experience VR inside a museum, consider planning a trip to Massachusetts. Jon Rafman has created a site-specific work for the city’s Institute of Contemporary Art—and it’s super scary. View of Harbor evokes a tsunami smashing into the gallery and drowning the viewer. Meanwhile, at Mass MoCA, Laurie Anderson places viewers in an airplane that disintegrates in midair. (WBUR)

What Its New Director Means for the Met – Andrea Scott breaks down the sterling qualifications of the Met’s new hire. While serving as director of the Städel Museum in Frankfurt, Max Hollein raised more than 85 percent of its budget with private donations, atypical for a European institution. The seasoned fundraiser also once proposed partnering with a drug store chain to sell hundred-euro prints of works from the museum’s collection. (New Yorker)

Banksy Will Bring Haight Street Rat to Canada – The British street artist will bring his 12-foot-tall rat to the Liquid Art Festival in June in the city of Hamilton, Ontario. The work originally popped up in San Francisco in 2010. It depicts a rat with a red marker and a line of paint that ends in the words, “This is where I draw the line.” (CBC)


Christie’s Brings Home the Bacon (and Malevich) Francis Bacon’s Study for Portrait (1977) will be sold at Christie’s New York next month by the artist’s friend and Monte Carlo gambling buddy Magnus Konow. The portrait of Bacon’s late lover George Dyer has an upper estimate of $30 million. But it could be eclipsed in the May sale by Kazimir Malevich’s Suprematist Composition (1916), which has a $70 million estimate. (ARTnews, Art Market Monitor)

Berkshire Finalizes Sotheby’s Sale List – After a legal marathon, 13 works from the Berkshire Museum will be sold at Sotheby’s New York across five sales next month as part of the museum’s bid to raise $55 million. Top lots include works by Norman Rockwell (which carries an estimate of $10 million), Alexander Calder ($3 million), and Francis Picabia ($1.2 million). (ARTnews)

Sotheby’s Photo Auction Tops $5 Million – Sotheby’s photography auction in New York fetched $5.1 million on Tuesday. William Henry Fox Talbot’s The Pencil of Nature (1844–46) sold for $275,000, an auction record for the medium’s pioneer. Meanwhile, Richard Avedon’s Dovima With Elephants (1955) was the sale’s top lot at $375,000. (Press release)

Two Dinosaurs For Sale in Paris – The Paris auction house Binoche et Giquello is selling not one, but two dinosaurs this week. To snap up a “small” Allosaurus, measuring just under 13 feet, or a 39-foot-long Diplodocus, expect to pay north of $600,000 each, because competition Chinese buyers is heating up. (Art Daily)​


National Gallery of Australia Names New Director – Nick Mitzevich, the former director of the Art Gallery of South Australia, has been tapped to take over the country’s national gallery on July 2, the day after its current director, Gerard Vaughan, retires. (Artforum)

Toledo Museum Makes Three Appointments – The institution in Ohio has promoted two staffers and added a new member to its senior team. Adam Levine has been named deputy director; Lynn Miller has been appointed associate director; and Kristina Crystal fills the new position of chief revenue officer. (Artforum)

After an Outcry, Art Library in Austin Will Stay Put – Thousands of books, journals, and other materials will remain on campus at the University of Texas at Austin after students and researchers launched a successful campaign protesting their removal. The uproar began last summer after they discovered that around 75,000 items from the Fine Arts Library had already been relocated off-site. (Hyperallergic)

The Glass House Gets a New Ceiling – Philip Johnson’s Modernist home at in New Canaan, Connecticut is due to reopen in May with a newly restored roof. It has been closed since last December while its outdated and damaged ceiling was replaced. (Curbed)


The Danish Queen Finalizes Her Artistic Burial Place – Talk about planning ahead. Though Queen Margrethe is still alive, she is in the midst of putting the finishing touches on her burial site at eastern Denmark’s Roskilde Cathedral. Since the mid-2000s, the Queen has worked with the Danish artist and sculptor Bjørn Nørgaard on the project, which centers around a glass sarcophagus. (The Local)

Munich’s Neue Pinakothek Museum Needs a New Roof – The preeminent art collection in the German city is in dire need of an upgrade. The museum, which is home to around 400 19th-century works, has a leaky roof and lacks a permanent fire protection plan. In the annual report published last Tuesday, the collection’s director says the interim fire plan will be extended to the end of 2018, but after that, renovations and temporary closure seem imminent. (Monopol)

Game of Thrones Star Revisits the Frick – The New Yorker tours the Frick Collection with actor Diana Rigg, the Game of Thrones star who is now back on Broadway to play professor Henry Higgins’s mother in My Fair Lady. The Frick has a special place in the star’s heart—she first visited when she toured New York with the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1964. Pausing at the museum’s marble staircase, she confessed, “I’d quite like to make an entrance down that.” (New Yorker)​

Jane Goodall and Gentleman Chimp Reconnect in Chicago – A sculpture by Chicago-based artist Marla Friedman has been unveiled at the city’s Field Museum in the presence of Jane Goodall, the British primatologist. Titled Red Palm Nut, the bronze depicts the moment when, in 1960, a young Goodall connected with the wild chimpanzee David Greybeard. She offered him a nut, which he did not accept, but instead held her hand in friendship. (Press release)

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