Art Industry News: There Are Signs That the Taint of ‘Tech Bro Culture’ Is Already Sinking the Sky-High NFT Market + Other News

Plus, the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art pushes its opening to 2023 and the V&A reverses course on its controversial restructuring plan.

A piece by Mashkow at the grand opening of Superchief Gallery NFT, a physical gallery dedicated exclusively to NFT artwork in New York. (Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images)
A piece by Mashkow at the grand opening of Superchief Gallery NFT, a physical gallery dedicated exclusively to NFT artwork in New York. (Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via 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 Friday, April 2.

NEED-TO-READ

This Entire Exhibition Is Full of Fakes – An exhibition of the work of Spanish Surrealist artist Maruja Mallo may have been entirely populated by fakes, according to a letter from scholars. The show, which closed last March, was staged in Lalín, in the northwestern region of Galicia. Its curator said he “knew there would be a fuss” because of ongoing disputes about just how much work Mallo actually made. (Guardian)

V&A Reverses Itself on Staffing Plan – The Victoria & Albert Museum in London is backtracking on plans to restructure its curatorial departments amid pandemic budget cutbacks. Opponents said the proposed reorganization, which would have grouped departments by chronology rather than material, would cull important expertise. (The Art Newspaper)

Lucas Museum Delayed Yet Again – George Lucas’s Museum of Narrative Art has pushed back its opening date to 2023, citing pandemic-related delays on construction work, which is now expected to extend into 2022. The Ma Yansong-designed building broke ground in 2018 and the final beam was put in place on March 12. Now, the museum is working on building out its interior galleries and theaters. (Los Angeles Times)

Nazi-Looted Poussin Painting Returned After a yearlong investigation, authorities have recovered Nicolas Poussin’s Lot With His Two Daughters Serving Him Drinks, a painting stolen from French Jews by Nazis in 1944, at the home of an antiques dealer near Padua. It has now been returned to the heirs of the original owners. The location of the painting was unknown until 2017, after a Dutch expert recognized it at an exhibition in Maastricht. (AFP

ART MARKET

Is the NFT Bubble Already Bursting? – There are some signs that the initial craze over NFTs is subsiding… sort of. Sales across NFT platforms have fallen from $19.3 million at their height a few weeks ago to as low as $3 million on March 25, according to one tracking site. Part of the reason for the drop, according to Bloomberg, is the “unfortunate association of crypto art… with ‘tech bro’ culture,” which has been uncovered by articles like, ahem, this one. (Bloomberg)

Long-Unseen Clyfford Still Hits the Block – After five decades in a private collection, Clyfford Still’s PH-568 (1965) will star in Sotheby’s contemporary art auction in Hong Kong on April 19. The work, which Still painted upon moving to Maryland from New York, is estimated to fetch between $13.5 million and $18.7 million. (ARTnews

COMINGS & GOINGS

Danielle A. Jackson Joins Artists Space – Danielle Jackson, a curatorial assistant in the media and performance department at the Museum of Modern Art, will assume her new role at the New York nonprofit on April 7. At MoMA, Jackson worked with artists including Pope.L, Jason Moran, and Theaster Gates. (Artforum)

The Smithsonian Won’t Be Reopening Anytime Soon – Washingtonians will have to wait a while longer before planning any IRL visits to see the pandas or presidential portraits, according to secretary Lonnie G. Bunch III. Despite art centers around the US beginning to reopen their doors, Bunch says a rising number of virus cases could prevent the Smithsonian Institution from welcoming visitors until May or June. (Washington Post

FOR ART’S SAKE

French Museums Likely Closed Through May – President Emmanuel Macron announced on Thursday that the country will enter its third national lockdown, beginning April 3 and likely extending through at least May 2. Certain areas, including Paris and the Alpes-Maritimes (where Cannes is held), were already in the midst of a third lockdown. The government is expected to begin gradual openings from mid-May through early summer. (Deadline

Watch the Trailer for a New Bill Traylor Documentary – A new documentary explores the life of Bill Traylor, an artist born into slavery on a cotton plantation in rural Alabama who went on to be recognized as one of America’s greatest self-taught artists. Directed by Jeffrey Wolf, Bill Traylor: Chasing Ghosts offers interviews with Traylor’s descendants and experts to bring his story to life. The film will be released April 16 in virtual cinemas through Kino Marquee. Watch the trailer below. (Press release)


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