Art Industry News: As Edgy Artists Enter the Notre Dame Spire Competition, Conservatives Get Nervous + Other Stories
Plus, Mary Boone's goodbye press tour continues and Phillips looks to break Mark Bradford's auction record again.
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 Friday, April 19.
Notre Dame Rooster Found Among Debris – The copper rooster that sat atop the spire of Notre Dame has been found—”battered,” but not destroyed, according to the French Culture Ministry—in the debris of the devastating fire. The statue contains three holy relics: relics of Saint Denis and Saint Genevieve, patron saints of Paris, and a supposed tiny piece of the Crown of Thorns acquired by the church in 1239. Experts have yet to confirm the status of the relics. (AFP)
EU Considers Tighter Ivory Regulation – A report on the ivory trade ordered by the European Commission may be the first step to passing stricter regulations on the market. The 62-page document, which surveys the period between 2012 and 2016, found that an average of 7,500 objects with ivory elements traded hands in the EU each year, and that more than 1,600 illegally traded works were seized in 2016. Conservationist groups are now calling for a total ban, while dealers and others in the trade are pushing for softer measures. (The Art Newspaper)
Will the New Notre Dame Spire Be Too Modern? – It didn’t take long for eyebrows to raise after French Prime Minister Édouard Philippe announced an open competition to reconstruct—and perhaps redesign—the destroyed spire at Notre Dame. Among those entering the competition are Belgian artist Wim Delvoye, who emphasized that the new structure could perhaps be “adapted to contemporary techniques and interpretations.” That suggestion was not welcomed by French traditionalists, some of whom are demanding that architect Eugène Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc’s 19th-century version be recreated in full. (The Art Newspaper, France 24)
Mary Boone’s Goodbye Tour Continues – Before she ships off to prison next month, Mary Boone has given a sendoff interview to Town and Country. She notes that her descent into tax evasion was subtle: “I think that that’s how it happens,” she says, “unless you’re blatantly cheating.” Still, she cannot hide a hint of bitterness about her 30-month sentence. “Al Taubman got a year and a day for a $100 million crime,” she says of the former Sotheby’s chairman convicted of price fixing. (Town and Country)
Phillips Wants to Break Its Own Bradford Record – Last spring, Phillips made headlines when Mark Bradford’s painting Helter Skelter I (2007) sold for $12 million at its contemporary art sale in London—a record price for the artist at auction. (It was sold by tennis great John McEnroe.) Next month, the auction house will try to break that record again, offering a companion painting, Helter Skelter II (2007), at its evening sale in New York on May 16 with an $8 million–12 million estimate and a third-party guarantee. (Art Market Monitor)
Galleries Go Head-to-Head in Court, Again – A years-long court battle is being rekindled in New York, where the French-based Galerie Enrico Navarra has filed a lawsuit demanding $18 million from the veteran Marlborough Gallery for poaching the now deceased Chinese artist Chu Teh-Chun and allegedly interfering with its existing contract. This is the latest development in the saga after a 2018 appeals court ruled that there was sufficient evidence for Navarra to pursue its claim. (Courthouse News)
What Will an Art Collector Do With the Chrysler Building? – Aby Rosen’s company purchased the 1930 New York landmark last month for $151 million—a discount of around 80 percent from the previous sale. He now plans to bring back the building’s Cloud Club, a former speakeasy during prohibition, and expand and improve the restaurants, salons, and shops on the arcade level. “Aby’s genius is that he can pick these amazing, iconic buildings that were falling apart and he brings them back to their original state,” his friend and fellow art collector Alberto Mugrabi says. “He sees these buildings like works of art.” (Bloomberg)
COMINGS & GOINGS
Major Japanese Art Collection Goes to Three Museums – Seattle-based collectors Mary and Cheney Cowles are donating their heavyweight collection of Japanese art to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Portland Art Museum in Oregon, and the Freer Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. The collection, which features more than 550 paintings, ceramics, and other pieces from the 8th century to the present, will be doled out to the institutions over the next five years. (ARTnews)
The Biennale de Lyon Releases Artist List – More than 50 artists including Nina Chanel Abney, Shana Moulton, and Thao-nguyen Phan are participating in the 15th edition of the France-based biennial, which runs from September 18 to January 5, 2020 at its new location, the Anciennes usines Fagor-Brandt. The biennial’s title, “Where the Waters Mix,” references a 1968 Raymond Carver poem. The exhibition will focus on the relationship between humans and their environments. (ARTnews)
Academy Museum Adds New Public Engagement Chief – The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in Los Angeles has named Amy Homma as its first director of education and public engagement. Homma previously served as acting deputy director of the Smithsonian’s Arts and Industries Building in Washington, DC. The museum, which is due to open later this year, also announced it will use a grant from the George Lucas Family Foundation to provide free admission to visitors 17 and younger. (Press release)
FOR ART’S SAKE
Canadian Museums Launch an Initiative to Serve Indigenous Groups – A new program launched by the Canadian Museums Association is dedicating $1 million to reconciliation efforts and collaborations with indigenous communities. The initiative comes in the wake of increased efforts across Canada to improve relations with First Nations groups after a particularly damning report in 2015 highlighted the widespread institutional harm they have suffered. The program will include workshops, seminars, online-learning courses, and more. (TAN)
Obama Gets an Art Show in Chicago – An exhibition at the Rebuild Foundation’s Stony Island Arts Bank, which Theaster Gates purchased from the city of Chicago in 2015, is presenting an exhibition of Rob Pruitt’s “Obama Paintings.” The artist painted one picture of the president each day during his first term in office. The Obama Foundation plans to contribute programming to the exhibition. (ARTnews)
Tenement Museum Workers Vote to Unionize – The education, retail, and visitor services staff at New York’s Tenement Museum has become the latest group of museum workers to form a union. In a vote held Monday, the employees voted in favor by a 96 percent margin. The workers have complained of low wages and unstable working conditions—an ironic situation, they note, for an institution founded to celebrate the struggles of impoverished immigrant families. (Hyperallergic)
How Gay Liberation Changed Art – A new exhibition at NYU’s Grey Art Gallery and the Leslie-Lohman Museum in New York, “Art After Stonewall: 1969–1989,” traces the blurring of gender norms and representations of sexual identity that spread throughout the elite contemporary art world following the Stonewall protests. The curators argue that work by David Hockney, Alice Neel, Andy Warhol, and Louise Bourgeois would not have been possible without the advocates’ efforts. (Bloomberg)
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