Art Industry News: Top Curator Leaves LA MOCA, Saying Leadership Isn’t Ready to ‘Fully Embrace’ Diversity and Inclusion + Other Stories

Plus, a painting at the center of an Old Master scandal must be returned to the Prince of Liechtenstein and an unwitting climber damages ancient petroglyphs.

Mia Locks at the Whitney Biennial opening night in 2017. Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for Tiffany & Co.

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 Tuesday, April 20.


Dutch Museum Defies Government to Settle With Collector’s Heirs – In a sign of shifting attitudes toward restitution in the Netherlands, the Museum de Fundatie has overturned a 2013 decision by the Dutch Restitution Committee and compensated the heir to a 1635 painting in its collection, Bernardo Strozzi’s Christ and the Samaritan Woman at the Well. The Dutch Restitution Committee previously said the museum’s ownership rights outweighed the interest of the heir—but that framework has since been deemed deeply flawed by the government. (The Art Newspaper)

The Hirshhorn’s Sculpture Garden Redesign Hits a Wall – An ongoing renovation of the Hirshhorn Museum’s sculpture garden in Washington, D.C. has become subject of heated debate as preservationists become increasingly concerned the Brutalist outdoor space will become “a 21st-century sculpture garden.” Controversy stems from the choice of materials used in reconstructing an interior partition wall, an added water feature, as well as a platform for performances, which some say will cut into its green space. (Washington Post)

Senior Staff at LA MOCA Quit – Two senior staff members at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles have exited since February. Mia Locks, a senior curator and head of new initiatives, resigned in March, saying in an email to staff that museum leadership was not ready to “fully embrace” IDEA (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility). The director of human resources also resigned, citing a “hostile” work culture. (LA Times)

Cranach at Center of Old Masters Scandal Must Be Returned – A Parisian court has ruled that a painting of Venus attributed to Lucas Cranach must be returned to its owner, the Prince of Liechtenstein. The painting became a central piece of evidence in a criminal investigation into a ring of alleged Old Master forgeries when it was seized from an exhibition in 2016. But the court has now decided that authorities have no grounds to impound the work since the forensic examinations have been complete for some time. (TAN


Petzel to Represent Samson Young – The Hong Kong-based artist and critical darling will present works on paper in Petzel’s upcoming group show in New York opening May 4. He has another exhibition on view beginning April 28 at Capitain Petzel in Berlin during Berlin Gallery Weekend. (Press release)

Christie’s Expects to Sell Chinese Painting for $45 Million – A 1924 painting by Xu Beihong is expected to fetch between $45 million and $58 million at Christie’s Hong Kong on May 24. The estimate is the highest ever placed on an Asian work of art by a Western auction house. The painting depicts a slave hiding in a cave from an approaching lion, an animal the artist often used to represent the Chinese nation. (TAN)


Pérez Art Museum Miami Awards Annual Prize – María Magdalena Campos-Pons, a pioneer of the New Cuban Art Movement in the late 1980s, has been awarded the $50,000 Pérez Prize. Jorge M. Pérez said the award recognizes the artist who “touched so many through her work exploring history, race, and culture.” The artist’s tribute to Breonna Taylor is currently on view in the Speed Museum’s show “Promise, Witness, Remembrance.” (TAN)

Site of Julius Caesar’s Assassination to Become Museum – Rome’s Largo di Torre Argentina, a sunken square believed to be the site of Julius Caesar’s assassination, is due to open to the public for the first time next year. Renovations on the site, which is home to four Roman temples and a theater, will begin next month. To date, tourists have only been able to see the area from above. (Smithsonian


Ancient Petroglyphs Damaged by Climber – An unwitting mountain climber installed his climbing bolts on a sandstone rock face in Utah, damaging ancient petroglyphs that have been there for at least 700 years. The climber said he thought it was graffiti. He could face a $20,000 fine and prison for up to one year. (TAN)

See Felt Artist Lucy Sparrow’s Magical Pharmacy in London – The British artist has turned the Lyndsey Ingram Gallery in Mayfair, London, into a fully stocked pharmacy of felt pharmaceuticals. The show is on view until May 8. Be sure to pick up your felt Tampax, Advil, and other essential goods before then.  (TAN)


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