Art Industry News: A New York Museum Is Offering Free Admission to Anyone With Proof of Vaccination + Other Stories
Plus, Sotheby's plans a female-only sale, and how 17th-century "tulip mania" offers a cautionary tale for NFT collectors.
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 Monday, April 19.
Asian American Artists Push Back Against Hate – The rise of racist attacks on Asians in America during the pandemic has spurred a group of Asian American artists to organize. Artists are working with organizations such as New York’s Chinatown Art Brigade and Stop DiscriminAsian to develop Zoom webinars, short artist-produced videos, and public art designed to help protect their communities. (New York Times)
How MoMA Became the World’s Most-Followed Museum – New York’s Museum of Modern Art is now the most-followed museum in the world, boasting more than 13 million followers across its social media accounts. The museum’s director of marketing and creative strategy, Rob Baker, says the key is being aware of events in the outside world and tailoring content to what people might need at certain times, be it the tranquility of Monet’s water lilies during the U.S. election or a curated selection of art films to watch during lockdown. (The Art Newspaper)
Museum Offers Free Admission to Vaccinated People – While the art world has been slower than corporate America to offer perks for those with a coveted vaccine card, at least one museum is following in the steps of Krispy Kreme. The Everson Museum in Syracuse, New York, is offering free admission to anyone with proof of vaccination. “We want to encourage people to get out there, get vaccinated, get those shots in your arms and come out and enjoy art,” said the museum’s director Elizabeth Dunbar. (Local Syracuse)
How NFTs Resemble 17th-Century Tulips – People have been comparing the boom in prices for NFTs to the “tulip mania” that struck the Netherlands during the 17th century, when the price for a single bulb skyrocketed to the price of a mansion. It pays to know your history: The tulip bubble popped in Amsterdam 400 years ago, with prices for the flowers plummeting 90 percent in the space of a month. NFT buyers, beware. (TAN)
Christie’s to Offer $40 Million Rothko, While Sotheby’s Nabs $40 Million Monet – Christie’s will offer a 1970 Rothko painting formerly owned by collector Bunny Mellon at its New York evening sale on May 11. Meanwhile, Sotheby’s has secured its own high-value lot, a Monet water lilies painting that last sold 17 years ago for $16.8 million. It will hit the block in New York on May 12. The works carry an estimate of $40 million each. (ARTnews, ARTnews)
Sotheby’s to Hold an All-Female Sale – Sotheby’s will mount an online sale of work by female artists, including Rachel Whiteread and Dorothea Tanning, from May 20 through 27. The 26-lot sale is expected to generate £1 million. The house’s Marina Ruiz Colomer articulated the (somewhat contradictory) rationale for the event as follows: “Female artists should not be pigeon-holed nor segregated, which is precisely why we are holding a sale that appears to be doing exactly that—in order to turn the tables and open up this debate.” (Evening Standard)
COMINGS & GOINGS
U.S. Returns 500 Smuggled Artifacts to Mexico – The U.S. department of homeland security has returned 523 objects, including pre-Hispanic-era stone arrowheads and tools, to Mexico. The pieces were originally seized in 2016 and, following investigation, were found to have been illegally smuggled and offered for sale in the U.S. (TAN)
Arrests Made in Attempted MFA Houston Burglary – A 33-year-old man, Lewis Yates Robertson, has been charged with burglary after allegedly breaking and entering into the Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens, a museum run by the MFA Houston. The suspect led police on a motorboat chase through the Buffalo Bayou before escaping through a storm drain tunnel. No one was harmed and nothing appears to have been taken from the museum. (Houston Chronicle)
FOR ART’S SAKE
Unusual Discovery Proves Bust Is Not by Leonardo – A wax sculpture once attributed to Leonardo da Vinci has been conclusively proven to not be by the Renaissance master’s hand. Analysis of wax samples from the work showed that it was made almost entirely from spermaceti, the waxy substance found in the head cavity of sperm whales most commonly used in 19th-century candles. Although a precise date for the work has not been determined, radiocarbon dating has precluded the Renaissance period. (The History Blog)
Budweiser Paints Over Beloved Street Murals in India – India’s street art community is up in arms after Budweiser India painted an advertisement over a group of important murals in New Delhi and Mumbai. Budweiser has responded to the public outcry, saying the company is “deeply concerned” at the hurt they have caused and is now approaching the artists it painted over from Bollywood Art Project and St_art India to restore their works. (Hyperallergic)
See Chanel Miller’s Chinatown Mural – The artist and author Chanel Miller has painted a 40-foot-long mural in New York’s Chinatown. “I painted creatures feeding each other because in many Asian cultures feeding is the strongest way of saying I love you,” the artist said. She is encouraging people to donate to the nonprofit THINK!CHINATOWN, which is creating outdoor dining spaces at no cost for Chinatown businesses. (Instagram)
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