Art Industry News: David Bowie Takes Over New York’s Subway + More Must-Read Stories

Plus, masked thieves pilfer Chinese artifacts from a UK museum and Wall Street drives a market boom for black artists.

David Bowie installation at Broadway-Lafayette station, courtesy of Spotify.

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 19th.


Collector Tony Podesta’s Fall From Grace – The WSJ chronicles the downfall of the Washington lobbyist and top art collector whose firm shut down last year. Among the juicy details: $300,000 worth of art handling fees for Podesta’s collection were improperly reported as a business expense, and his secret art purchases partly spurred his divorce. (Wall Street Journal)

Chinese Vase Stolen From Bath Museum – Police are on the hunt for a gang of thieves who broke into the Museum of East Asian Art in Bath early Tuesday morning. They stole a number of important objects, including a jade monkey and a Chinese vase. Police say the burglary was so targeted and swift that the objects may have been “stolen to order.” (Guardian)

New York’s Subway Goes Big on Bowie – Rail Control to Major Tom! The Metropolitan Transit Authority has released a limited edition line of David Bowie-themed MetroCards to celebrate his exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum. Commuters at the SoHo station near Bowie’s longtime home can collect all five themed cards, each plastered with a different Bowie persona. They are available through Sunday. (Hyperallergic)

Who Is the Met’s New Director? – In Frankfurt, Max Hollein raised $69 million to expand the Städel Museum with savvy fundraising tactics (there was even a gimmick involving yellow boots). Thomas Krens’s former protégé at the Guggenheim has a track record of striking a balance between scholarship and showmanship. A lover of electronic music, he is also equally at home in an Old Master sculpture show as at Berlin’s Berghain nightclub. (New York Times)


Behind the Booming Demand for Black Artists – Top collectors and museums are scrambling to buy work by major African American artists, having seemingly realized all at once that these figures represented a gaping hole in their collections. As a result, auction prices have shot up anywhere from 662 percent (for Sam Gilliam) to 2,400 percent (for Barkley Hendricks) in recent years. (Bloomberg)

Dutch Museum Snaps Up an Early Van Gogh – Connaught Brown has sold a still life by the Dutch artist to the Noordbrabants Museum in the Netherlands. The London-based dealer showed Still Life with Bottles and a Cowrie Shell (1884) at the TEFAF Maastricht fair in March, where it was priced around $5 million. (Antiques Trade Gazette)

artnet Auctions Sets New Record for Sally Mann – Last week, artnet Auctions achieved a record for a small-format photograph by Sally Mann when the artist’s iconic Candy Cigarette (1989) sold for $132,000, nearly $50,000 higher than the previous record for the format that was set in 2016 (for the same photo). Interest in the artist is high at the moment due to her current survey at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC; another sale of her work is live on artnet Auctions until April 26th. (Press release)

Collector’s Flea-Market Finds Pay Off – For three decades, a retired painter in the public works department of Quincy, Massachusetts, has filled his parents’ house with paintings, many unsigned and bought cheaply for $25 to $100 at flea markets and auctions. Now, he is finally having his hoard valued. “We could be looking at a $1 million collection,” says appraiser Peter Smith. A portion will be sold this fall. (Boston Globe)


Copenhagen Contemporary Gets a New Head and Home – The new director of Copenhagen Contemporary is Marie Nipper, Tate Liverpool’s former interim artistic director. She will join the institution in a moment of transition: The art center is moving to its first permanent home this summer. It is due to reopen on June 28 in a 7,000-square-meter former welding hall in the Danish capital’s new cultural quarter. (Press release)

Venice Architecture Biennale Awards the Golden Lion – The British-born, New York-based architectural historian Kenneth Frampton has been awarded this year’s Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement by the Venice Architecture Biennale. Frampton has taught graduates at Columbia University since 1972 and is the author of the essential tome Modern Architecture: A Critical History. (NYT)

California College of the Arts Gets Two New Deans – The San Francisco institution, which is expanding its campus, has promoted Allison Smith to take on the role of dean of fine arts and Tina Takemoto as dean of humanities and sciences. They begin their new roles in August. (ARTnews)

Major Istanbul Art Center Reopens The Turkish nonprofit SALT Beyoğlu has reopened in its historic building in central Istanbul with a survey of Aydan Murtezaoğlu and Bülent Şangarof’s work. The important exhibition space was closed for two years after questions arose about its permits and a complaint was reportedly filed by the prime minster’s office. SALT’s Galata and Ankara spaces remained open during the closure. (Art Asia Pacific)


How Art Helps Leaders Do Their Jobs Better – A wave of successful training programs are bringing professionals, including FBI agents, police officers, and doctors, to museums to teach them to look more carefully at the world around them—and make smarter decisions in the process. (Harvard Business Review)

Charity Auction Will Benefit Harlem Community Center — Want to buy art for a good cause? The exhibition space Meislin Projects is holding an auction on April 26th of work by Leonardo Drew, Carrie Mae Weems, and others. The proceeds go to Brotherhood/Sister Sol, a Harlem nonprofit community center that serves young people ages eight to 22. (Press release)

Sam Francis Catalogue Raisonné Is Now Online – The painter’s foundation has released the first volume of its digital catalogue raisonné. It includes 201 works made by the California-born painter from 1945 to 1949. Hurry up and take a look now—it’s accessible for free only for a limited time. (ARTnews)

MoMA Sues MoMaCha, a Green Tea Cafe – New York’s Museum of Modern Art is suing a cafe in the Bowery called MoMaCha for copyright infringement. The name and logo of the Lower East Side green-tea cafe is quite reminiscent of the illustrious brand—and MoMA argues that people are already getting confused. Check it out below, before the cease and desist notice kicks in. (Reuters)

Follow Artnet News on Facebook:

Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.