Art Industry News: A Former Top Trump Cabinet Official Dropped $14 Million on a Major Magritte at Christie’s + Other Stories

Plus, the Art Institute of Chicago names Denise Gardner its new board chair and Kanye’s Nikes could fetch $1 million at Sotheby's.

Former U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross speaking at the SelectUSA 2018 Investment Summit June 22, 2018 in National Harbor, Maryland. (Photo by Win McNamee/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 Wednesday, April 14.


Art Institute of Chicago Names Board Chair – Art collector and marketing executive Denise Gardner will become the chair of the Art Institute of Chicago in November. A 15-year veteran of the board, she is believed to be the country’s first Black woman to hold the role of chair at a major museum. Gardner, who was the lead individual sponsor of the museum’s Charles White retrospective in 2018 and owns work by artists including Carrie Mae Weems and Amy Sherald, was first introduced to the Art Institute as a volunteer almost 27 years ago by Jetta Jones, the museum’s first Black female trustee. (New York Times)

UNESCO Issues Recommendations for Hard-Hit Museum Sector – A new report by UNESCO aims to calculate the impact of shutdowns on the museum sector and estimates that institutions have suffered funding cutbacks of around 50 percent. It states that museums’ roles as community hubs and their digital development must be prioritized, and that states should further help museums to ensure their futures. (The Art Newspaper)

Wilbur Ross Bought That $14 Million Magritte – The former secretary of commerce for the Trump Administration has been revealed as the buyer of René Magritte’s 1959 painting Le mois des vendanges at Christie’s Surrealist sale in London a few weeks ago. He is purported to own around 35 works by the Belgian surrealist and nabbed his latest acquisition for £10 million with fees. (The Canvas)

Frank Gehry’s Not Ready to Retire Anytime Soon – The 92-year-old Pritzker Prize-winning architect has no intention of slowing down. His building for Swiss art patron Maja Hoffmann’s $175 million arts complex Luma Arles is scheduled to open in late June. But the dearest project to his heart is yet to come: a pair of towers in his hometown of Toronto, Canada that will be his tallest project to date. The design is currently being reviewed by the city. (NYT)


Seurats in Private Hands for Nearly 100 Years Come to Market – Two studies by French pointillist painter Georges Seurat will be sold at Christie’s next month during its New York 20th century art evening sale on May 11. The two works, Paysage et personnages (La jupe rose) and Le Saint-Cyrien, both from 1884, were in a private collection for almost a century and are expected to fetch $10 million to $15 million cumulatively. (Art Market Monitor)

Artnet Auctions Holds Inaugural Art of the Americas Sale – The first in a series of sales delving into the rich history of art from across the American continents presented in partnership with Raphael Castoriano and Solita Cohen generated almost $1 million. Notable results included Manolo Valdés’s Doble Imagen sculpture, which realized $288,000, and Mickalene Thomas’s Afro Goddess, Looking Forward, which made $31,200 after 24 bids, more than twice its high estimate. (Press release)


Canada’s Arts Umbrella Opens $27 Million Education Center – The $27 million, 50,000-square-foot Arts Umbrella in Vancouver is now Canada’s largest cultural hub for young people. Located in the revamped former site of Emily Carr University, it includes 10 art and design studios, media labs, six dance rehearsal spaces, a 132-seat theater, and a public exhibition gallery. (TAN)

Eco-Minded U.K. Art Shipper Explains Why It Won’t Be Offsetting – Queen’s, the U.K.-based art logistics company, joined the Gallery Climate Coalition in January and has since been conducting an internal analysis of its carbon footprint. The company says reducing its carbon footprint is much more crucial to sustainability than simply buying carbon offsets. It promises to move to 100 percent recyclable packaging by 2025 and slash its carbon emissions by 50 percent over the next 10 years in line with the Paris Agreement instead. (Press release)


Kanye’s Nikes Could Fetch $1 Million at Sotheby’s – The auction house plans to sell the Air Yeezy sneakers that Kanye West wore during his 2008 performances of “Hey Mama” and “Stronger” at the Grammys. The shoes—the most valuable pair of sneakers to appear at Sotheby’s—are expected to fetch more than $1 million. (Hypebeast)

Brazil’s New Christ Statue Will Be Taller Than Rio’s Iconic Work – A new statue of Jesus Christ is under construction in Encantado, Brazil, and it is set to trump the famous statue of the same subject overlooking Rio de Janeiro. Sculptor Genésio Gomes Moura and his son Markus Moura are designing the new Christ the Protector statue, which will measure 141 feet high (43 meters). (Designboom)

The Christ the Protector statue under construction in Encantado will be larger than Rio de Janeiro’s Christ the Redeemer and the third-largest in the world. (Photo by SILVIO AVILA / AFP)

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