Art Industry News: Is Anna Wintour’s Met Gala Falling Out of Fashion? + Other Stories

Plus, the EU clamps down on the antiquities trade and Art Basel plans a global 50th birthday bash.

Anna Wintour and her daughter Bee Shaffer arrive at the 2018 Met Gala. Photo by Angela Weiss AFP/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 Thursday, April 11.


The EU Steps Up the Fight Against Illicit Trade – The European Union will tighten its rules for importing cultural heritage from outside Europe. Beginning in fall 2020, importers will need a special license for artifacts that are more than 250 years old. Records of proof of title and provenance will also be kept on a new database. The first Europe-wide regulation, it is aimed at combating the trade in smuggled cultural heritage and cutting off a source of funding for terrorist groups in the Middle East. (The Art Newspaper)

Coco Fusco Is Denied Entry to Cuba – Ahead of the Havana Biennial, the artist Coco Fusco was turned away by Cuban customs officials when she landed at José Martí Airport. Authorities declined to offer an explanation, but she speculates that she was denied entry because of her opposition to Decree 349, the Cuban government’s clampdown on artistic freedom. In a statement, Fusco said the Cuban government “is counting on favorable coverage [of the biennial] from visitors who know little, and who will stay on the tour buses, and remain inside their art corrals.” (ARTnews)

Is the Fashion Industry Freezing Out the Met Gala? – A table at the Met Gala costs up to $390,000, but in the age of Instagram and influencers, the event could be losing its appeal for fashion brands. This year, some big fashion names, including Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein, have opted out of paying for a table. A Vogue spokeswoman says that this year’s fundraiser for the museum’s Costume Institute is sold out, adding that the list of designers who book gala tables changes every year. Vogue’s Anna Wintour remains in charge of the “Oscars of the East Coast” and its powerful guest list. (Women’s Wear Daily)

FBI Returns Human Remains and Artifacts Found on a Collector’s Farm – The FBI was shocked and surprised by the quantity of Native American human remains hoarded by the late Don Miller, an amateur ethnographer and missionary. He assembled a 40,000-strong collection of ancient artifacts and remains, a third of which are Native American. The crime squad is now working on the sensitive task of restituting the Native American remains, which is even more challenging than returning artifacts from across the world. Miller’s private museum (if you can call it that) on his Indiana farm included Italian mosaics, pre-Columbian art, and artifacts from Canada, Russia, China, and New Guinea. (TAN)


Art Basel Plans Global 50th Birthday Bash – Veteran curator Kasper König is co-organizing a series of artistic interventions in Basel, Hong Kong, and Miami Beach to mark Art Basel’s 50th birthday in 2020. The theme will be, appropriately, the art fair. König will take the lead on the Basel presentation; he will work with Christina Li in Hong Kong and LAXART’s Hamza Walker in Miami Beach. Participating artists will be announced this fall. (Press release)

Signers of the Declaration of Independence For Sale – The autographs of all but one of the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence are going on sale as individual lots at auctioneers University Archives. Georgia’s representative to the Continental Congress, Button Gwinnett, is missing, however. (He was killed in a duel the year after he signed the declaration.) (Press release)

Phillips to Sell Hip-Hop Pioneer’s Basquiats – Jean-Michel Basquiat’s friend Matt Dike, who served briefly as the artist’s assistant before going on to become a top DJ and hip-hop producer, is selling six works by the artist at Phillips in New York on May 15 and 16. Two paintings, which include a self-portrait, and four works on paper have a combined upper estimate of $12 million. They will go on view in Los Angeles ahead of the sale from April 11 to 16. (Art Market Monitor)


French Sculptor Claude Lalanne Has Died – The 93-year-old sculptor died yesterday after a stroke. Lalanne was part of the sculpture duo Les Lalanne with her late husband, François-Xavier Lalanne. Their surreal yet functional sculptures were a favorite of Yves Saint Laurent. (AFP)

Courtney J. Martin Will Lead the Yale Center for British Art – The Dia Art Foundation’s deputy director and chief curator has been named the next director of the university museum in New Haven, Connecticut. Martin will succeed Amy Meyers, who retires in June after nearly 20 years at the helm. (ARTnews)

The Guggenheim Foundation Names 2019 Fellows – Mark Dion and Elena del Rivero are among the Guggenheim Foundation’s 25 fine art fellows from the US and Canada this year. The foundation awards grants of varying amounts to leaders in the sciences and humanities for a six- to 12-month period. (Press release)

Louis Grachos Is Named Director of Palm Springs Art Museum – Grachos, a veteran of SITE Santa Fe and the Albright-Knox, has been appointed as the new executive director of the museum in Southern California. He will step down as director of Contemporary Austin to take up the new role in June. (Press release)


Anne Imhof’s Sex Heads to Chicago – The German artist’s captivating performance, which debuted at Tate Modern in March, is heading to the Art Institute of Chicago. The four hour-long work opens to the public on May 30 and will run over three days, through June 1. (Press release)

Mistrial in the Case of the Damaged a Terracotta Warrior – A judge has declared a mistrial in the case against the partygoer who decided to take a piece of a $4.5 million cultural artifact home with him from Philadelphia’s Franklin Institute. After jurors could not reach a verdict, the 25-year-old Michael Rohana’s lawyers argued he wasn’t charged under the right law. Federal prosecutors will decide if they will retry the case before May. (Fox News)

See Hope Gangloff’s Portrait of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Director – The National Portrait Gallery commissioned a portrait of the aquarium’s executive director and ocean conservationist Julie Packard. The brightly colored marine-themed work by Hope Gangloff is the 17th portrait ever commissioned by the gallery, and will go on view on April 23 during the Smithsonian’s Earth Week. (Press release)

Hope Gangloff, Julie Packard (2019). National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution.
Gift of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Board of Trustees. ©Hope Gangloff. Photo by Mark Gulezian / Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery.

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