Art Industry News: Mexican Judge Blocks Sale of Frida Kahlo’s Non-Unibrowed Barbie Doll + More Must-Read Stories

Plus, Chris Christie is spending a hefty sum on his official portrait and Kanye West is posting images of Joseph Beuys on Twitter.

A Barbie doll depicting late Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. Photo by ALFREDO ESTRELLA/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 this Monday, April 23.


How a Turner Prize Winner Helps Other Black Artists – Lubaina Himid, who has a long list of shows across the the UK and Europe this year, is using her enhanced clout to ask institutions to invite black artists working nearby to participate in talks and events associated with her shows. “The best artists don’t necessarily come from somewhere else,” she says. If curators say there are no local black artists to be found, she consults her own extensive network—and offers a list of names. (New York Times)

Anti-Gentrification Activists Attack LA Gallery – Bandana-clad activists threw red paint at the walls of a gallery in South Central Los Angeles on Saturday, damaging works of art and splashing visitors. Dalton Warehouse has been targeted in the past, albeit peacefully, alongside other galleries in the neighborhood by anti-gentrification campaigners. (Hyperallergic)

Sale of Kahlo Barbie Doll Blocked – Frida Kahlo’s great-niece has successfully received a temporary injunction against the toymaker Mattel to block the sale of a new doll based on the artist. The American company negotiated the rights to produce the doll from the Panama-based Frida Kahlo Corporation, which says it received permission from the artist’s niece more than a decade ago. The doll has been criticized for, among other deficiencies, failure to faithfully recreate Kahlo’s famous unibrow. (Guardian)

See Hits From the Glasgow Biennial – Glasgow International makes the most of the Scottish city’s creative strengths and a potentially reduced budget, writes artnet News’s Hettie Judah. Highlights of the scrappy affair include the British artist Linder Sterling’s flag for the Glasgow Women’s Library, Mark Leckey’s noisy sculpture of Job, and Hardeep Pandhal’s Self-Loathing Flashmob. (I-news) ​


Italian Gallery Expands to Glasgow – The Scottish dealer James Gardner, who opened his gallery Frutta in Rome in 2012, is having a homecoming of sorts. On Thursday, to coincide with the opening of the Glasgow International, Gardner debuted another location of his gallery in Glasgow with a solo show by Santo Tolone, on view through May 26. (ARTnews)

Burning in Water to Open in San Francisco – The New York gallery is expanding to the West Coast. It will open a new space inside the exhibition complex Minnesota Street Project on April 24. The outpost will be led by Anna Hyglund and will debut with an exhibition of work by sculptor Valerie Hegarty titled “American Berserk.” (ARTnews)

Victoria Miro to Represent Ilse D’Hollander – The London gallery has will represent the estate of the Belgian artist, who died in 1997 at age 29. The gallery will mount a full solo show of D’Hollander’s work—which is currently included in its abstract painting show, “Surface Work”—in November. (Press release)

Ritz Hotel Auction Exceeds Expectations – The sale of 10,000 pieces of furniture from Paris’s Ritz hotel raked in $9 million at Artcurial last week, setting a record for a hotel sale. All lots sold, including stools from the Hemingway Bar and slippers and robes embroidered with the hotel’s logo. (AFP)


Richard Oldenburg, a MoMA Veteran, Has Died – The younger brother of Claes Oldenburg, who ran the publications department of New York’s Museum of Modern Art from 1969 until 1993, has died at age 84. Among many other feats, he helped return Picasso’s Guernica to Spain in 1981, in accordance with the artist’s wishes. (New York Times)

Marko Peljhan to Represent Slovenia in Venice – The Museum of Modern Art in Ljubljana has selected Marko Peljhan to represent Slovenia at the 2019 Venice Biennale. An artist interested in scientific research, Peljhan was behind the Makrolab, a live and work space that can hold four people in isolation for 120 days, which appeared in documenta 10 in 1997. (ARTnews)

MFA Boston Taps New Chief Development Officer – Cameran Mason joins the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, to help the museum develop a new strategic plan, “MFA 2020.” She will help guide fundraising and manage gifts and donations. Previously, she served as vice president of resources and public affairs at Wellesley College. (Press release)

Tilda Swinton Joins ICA London’s New Film Council – The Institute of Contemporary Arts in London has launched a new council to support independent filmmakers and moving image works. The group’s members include performer Tilda Swinton, filmmakers Laura Poitras and Martine Syms, and academic Laura Mulvey. (Artforum)


Chris Christie Gets a Pricey Portrait  The controversial former governor of New Jersey is charging the state’s taxpayers $85,000 for his official portrait—more than the cost of his three predecessors’ portraits combined. Paul Newton, the Australian artist that Christie selected, has previously painted Kylie Minogue, the Duke of Edinburgh, and ex-NBA commissioner Pat Stern. (USA Today)

LACMA Acquires 10 Works by Female Artists – The Los Angeles museum has added 10 works by female artists to its collection during its star-studded collectors weekend, which raised a total of $3.1 million. Notable gifts include a work by 92-year-old LA-based assemblage pioneer Betye Saar and a 1954 sculpture by Ruth Asawa. (Hollywood Reporter)

Battle for a Disputed Modigliani Is Not Over Yet – A New York judge has rejected the Nahmad family’s motion to dismiss the case over an allegedly looted painting by Amedeo Modigliani, Seated Man With a Cane (1918). The powerful art-dealing family has sought for years to retain the painting, which the heirs of the Jewish collector Oscar Stettiner claim was looted from the family in 1944. (The Art Newspaper)

Kanye West Is Tweeting About Art – The rapper has been back on Twitter for about a week now, firing off missives several times per hour. West is flexing his art savvy this time around, and has recently posted images of Joseph Beuys and David Hammons. The star also announced he is working on a new album with Kid Cudi called Kids See Ghosts, which includes artwork he says has “Murakami vibes.” (Twitter)


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