Art Industry News: France Launches a Contest to Design a Cutting-Edge New Spire for Notre Dame + Other Stories

Plus, a work at the Whitney Biennial revisits the Central Park Five and Phillips sells a sculpture designed by AI.

The spire of Notre Dame cathedral, designed by architect Eugène Viollet-le-Duc in the 19th century, collapsed when the cathedral caught fire in April 2019. Photo by Geoffroy Van der Hasselt/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 18.


Whitney Biennial Work Revisits the Central Park Five – The artist Alexandra Bell’s new work critiques the sensational coverage of the 1989 rape of Trisha Meili, who was attacked while running in Central Park. Five teenagers of color were wrongly convicted of the crime. Called No Humans Involved—After Sylvia Wynter, Bell’s politically-charged work zeroes in on New York City tabloids’ damaging coverage of the case. “I really want people to look at it and question the role that the Daily News played in the way we viewed these particular people,” Bell said. The new body of work will be shown at the upcoming Whitney Biennial. (New Yorker)

World Cup Pussy Riot Protester Arrested – A member of Pussy Riot who took part in a protest-performance during the 2018 World Cup final was arrested in Moscow along with two colleagues. Veronika Nikulshina, who is also known as Nika, was detained while on her way to an awards ceremony at the Bolshoi Theatre, where she and her compatriots were nominated for an experimental theater show. No reason was given for the arrests other than a “document check”; the three were released later the same day, but missed the ceremony. (Dazed)

France Announces Contest to Design Notre Dame’s Spire – France’s Prime Minister Édouard Philippe has announced the launch of an international architectural competition to redesign the spire of Notre Dame Cathedral. He said the competition would give the medieval building “a spire suited to the techniques and challenges of our time.” The fire that engulfed the roof of the nave also destroyed the spire designed by the 19th-century architect Eugène Viollet-le-Duc. (Guardian)

Stolen Van Gogh Paintings Go on Show – Two paintings by the Dutch artist are back on display at the Van Gogh Museum 17 years after they were stolen. The convicted thief, Octave Durham, said it took less than three minutes to escape with Van Gogh’s View of the Sea at Scheveningen and Congregation (1882) and Leaving the Reformed Church in Nuenen (1884–85). Italian police recovered the canvases in 2016. A mafia boss, Raffaele Imperiale, bought the paintings for around $394,000 in 2003. They were found in his mother’s home. (Guardian)


Phillips Is Selling an AI-Generated Sculpture – The auction house is selling a sculpture created using an algorithm in an online auction that closes later today. The work, which carries an estimate of $3,000 to $5,000, currently stands at $3,200. New York-based artist Brian Snell cast the semi-abstract figure from resin mixed with the ground-up remains of the computer he used to create a working model. That’s one way to ensure your sculpture is one-of-a-kind. (The Verge)

Should Dealers Share an Old Master’s Price Histories? – An American investor is suing Richard Green gallery in London’s High Court over two Old Master paintings he bought at TEFAF Maastricht for a combined €5 million ($5.6 million)—but later discovered had been marked up significantly from the prices they fetched at auction. Gray Klesch claims he would not have bought the works if their recent price history had been disclosed. (Someone get this man a subscription to the artnet Price Database!) The gallery says both are “museum quality.” (The Art Newspaper)

Lubov Gallery Is on the Move – The New York project space Lubov is leaving Tribeca for Chinatown—and expanding to Zurich. The Swiss space will be led by Olga Generalova, the director and gallery manager of Galerie Maria Bernheim. (ARTnews)

Richard Gray Gallery Names New Director – Anastasia Karpova Tinari, who most recently worked as director of Rhona Hoffman Gallery in Chicago, will lead Richard Gray’s space in the Windy City. Following Gray’s death last year, the gallery is operated by his son, Paul, and dealer Valerie Carberry. (Art Daily)


A Swiss Farmer Won That Picasso Competition – One lucky Swiss farmer was able to hang a Picasso in his barn for a day thanks to Swisscom and Fondation Beyeler’s initiative #myprivatepicasso. The painting arrived in a frame that could sense humidity changes and movement to keep the work secure. (TAN)

Pollock-Krasner Foundation Names Grantees – The New York-based foundation has selected 111 artists and 13 nonprofit organizations for its latest round of grants. Each artist grant ranges from $25,000 to $30,000 and will be put toward artists’ residency attendance, exhibition production, and other activities. Mel Chin, Chris Drury, and Luciana Lamothe are among this year’s winners. (ARTnews)

Long List Revealed for Sobey Art Award – Some 25 young artists have been named to the long list for Canada’s prestigious art award, the nation’s equivalent to the Turner Prize. Last year’s winner was Paris-based conceptual artist Kapwani Kiwanga. The prize offers $100,000 to the winner and $25,000 to each of the four shortlisted artists, who will be announced on June 12. (Press release)


The Latest Rocker-Turned-Artist Is the Bassist of Korn – Ten characters painted in mixed media, called Izms, are the newest creative output of Korn’s bassist Reginald Quincy “Fieldy” Arvizu. These zany paintings are available on eBay for the next six days, priced between $300 and $800. (Revolver)

Lightning Strikes the Acropolis, Injuring Tourists – Two tourists and two Greeks suffered minor injuries when a bolt of lightning hit a lightning rod near the small Erechtheion temple on the Acropolis in Athens on Wednesday. As a precautionary measure and since the power was cut off, the historic site was closed for the rest of the day. (Art Daily)

Adorn Your Feet With Famous Artists – A new line, Chatty Feet, reinterprets towering art historical figures as socks with names like “Vincent Van Toe” and “Yayoi Toesama.” We admit that we may like the names of the socks even more than the socks themselves. (Website)

“Frida Callus.” Courtesy Chatty Feet.

“Leonardo Toe Vinci.” Courtesy Chatty Feet.

“Sole-Adore Dali.” Courtesy Chatty Feet

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