Art Industry News: Marina Abramovic Speaks Out About the Emotional Toll of the Bizarre Far-Right Conspiracy Theory Targeting Her + Other Stories

Plus, JR creates a work of street art about isolation for TIME and Drew Barrymore recruits her daughter to photograph a cover shoot.

Marina Abramović. Courtesy Saeed Khan/AFP/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 Wednesday, April 22.


Drew Barrymore’s Daughter Took the Photos for Her Cover Shoot – Because of the lockdown, fashion shoots, which require many people on set, have become essentially impossible to organize. That is why actor and entrepreneur Drew Barrymore asked her seven-year-old daughter to take pictures of her for the cover of The Sunday Times Style. The assignment resulted in a successful multi-look, intimate photo shoot on the beach. Barrymore called Olive “the world’s smallest and moodiest photographer.” (Entertainment Tonight)

Olafur Eliasson Releases Earth Day Animations on Instagram – To mark the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, the Danish-Icelandic artist is releasing nine animations depicting different views of the planet. The images, which are being posted on Instagram every hour beginning this morning, offer views of Earth that center the Great Barrier Reef, the Ganges River in India, the South Pole, and other important sites. “Essentially the imaginary future, the well-being of our planet and how you’re going to live for the planet in the future is obviously something that is incredibly important,” the artist said. The project is part of the Serpentine Galleries’ 50th anniversary Back to Earth initiative. (The Art Newspaper)

Marina Abramović Responds to the Conspiracy Theorists – After Microsoft took down a video it made in collaboration with the artist last week (“We recognize that our association with this project served as a catalyst for online attacks,” a Microsoft spokeswoman said), Abramović has broken her silence about becoming the target of right-wing conspiracy theorists. “I am an artist, not a Satanist!” she tells the New York Times. She says she fears for her personal safety as she regularly receives death threats by email, as have the organizers of some of her exhibitions. Fed up, she recently consulted lawyers about suing Alex Jones, the founder of Infowars, over articles about her on the site, but ultimately decided against it. Still, she says, she would be willing to sit down face-to-face with the conspiracy theorists to help them better understand her work. (New York Times)

Inigo Philbrick Insists He’s Not DM-ing Kenny Schachter on Instagram – The disgraced art dealer Inigo Philbrick has contacted a journalist from British GQ to stress that he is not in contact with his former friend, the Artnet News columnist Kenny Schachter, despite their exchanges being mentioned frequently in his column. Philbrick says he has been “alternately amused and distressed” by Schachter’s alleged correspondence with him and has spoken out because he has received “threats of violence” for some of the things he supposedly said. Schachter has laughed off the claim, saying that the person he has been in contact with has knowledge of personal information that only the real Philbrick would know. (ARTnews)


Lesley Heller Gallery Is the First to Fall to the Pandemic – The Lower East Side’s Lesley Heller Gallery is permanently closing after 10 years of operation in New York. “I am extremely proud of the exhibitions the gallery has put on throughout its many iterations, and I am honored to have worked with so many incredible artists and dedicated collectors,” Heller wrote in an email announcement. (Hyperallergic)

Roberts Projects Adds Wangari Mathenge to Roster – The Los Angeles gallery is now representing the Chicago-based artist Wangari Mathenge. Mathenge, who is originally from Kenya, reinterprets traditional African patriarchal society in historically-focused paintings. Her next show at the gallery will be in 2021. (Press release)

David Bowie Wallpaper Comes to Sotheby’s – Two rolls of wallpaper created by David Bowie with the designer Laura Ashley will be sold as part of Sotheby’s online print sale, which runs through April 28. The first design, which carries an estimate of $25,000 to $40,000, was conceived for Bowie’s debut exhibition in London in 1995. (Art Market Monitor)


Trevor Schoonmaker to Lead Nasher Museum – The former deputy director of curatorial affairs and Patsy R. and Raymond D. Nasher curator of contemporary art at the Nasher Museum will take over as the museum’s new director. During his time as curator, Schoonmaker has worked to build the collection, with a particular focus on artists of color, and also served as artistic director of the fourth Prospect New Orleans. (Press release)

Beijing’s X Museum Gets Opening Date – After delays due to China’s lockdown, the X Museum—founded by millennial art collectors Michael Xufu Huang and Theresa Tse—has a new opening date. It will be unveiled in Beijing on May 30th with an ambitious triennial featuring 33 artists under the age of 40. (Press release)


Artist Exhibits Paintings of Diners… in a Shuttered Diner – Katherine McMahon is showing paintings of diners at the currently closed Silver Lining Diner in Southampton. “Given the devastating state of the restaurant industry, my hope is to set forth a solution for activating restaurant spaces in a hopeful and optimistic way,” she says. Half the profits of any sales will go to the host diner. (East Hampton Star, KD Hamptons)

Artist Organizes Portraits of Healthcare Workers – In another creative effort to use art to offer aid, portrait painter Tom Croft has painted healthcare workers of the UK for free in an effort to enhance the visibility of frontline workers. Since he began, artists around the world have adopted his idea, and Croft has connected far-flung healthcare workers with other portraitists. (BBC)

JR Creates a New Work for the Cover of TIMEThe famous street artist created a new large-scale work for TIME that captures the feeling of this period of isolation. JR installed the 15-foot-by-21-foot artwork called FINDING HOPE on a quiet street in Paris in the wee hours of the morning by glueing down strips on the pavement. “When I was asked to figure out an image to illustrate this confinement and also this fear and hope, I thought that doing something on the street itself would be pretty special,” the artist said. “We couldn’t do it with any permits because everything is shut down, so we decided to just do it the old way, old school.” (TIME)

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