Art Industry News: The Locked-Down Super Rich Are Impulse-Buying Jewelry Through Online Auctions Like There’s No Tomorrow + Other Stories

Plus, Gerhard Richter's donated art raises $700,000 for the homeless and experts wonder whether any art fairs will return in 2020.

Cartier's Tutti Frutti Bracelet, on offer this week at Sotheby's with an estimate of $600,000 to $800,000. Photo: Sotheby's.

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 Thursday, April 23.


Gerhard Richter’s Donation Raises More Than Half a Million – At a charity auction to raise money homeless aid, some 30 signed “Candle” prints by Gerhard Richter sold out almost immediately, raising €650,000 ($700,000) for the homeless in his home city of Cologne. Other famous artists also donated works to the “Art Helps” auction, including Rosemarie Trockel, Jeff Koons, and Markus Lüpertz. (Monopol)

Mike Kelley Foundation Revises 2020 Grants – In light of the current crisis, the Mike Kelley Foundation is lifting restrictions on how its grants, which are usually reserved for project-related expenses, can be used this year. The foundation’s executive director Mary Clare Stevens said, “In the midst of a global crisis that is putting an unprecedented strain on our cultural community, grant-making in the arts has a heightened sense of urgency.” Recipients include California Institute of the Arts/REDCAT; Human Resources LA; Los Angeles Filmforum; and the Vincent Price Art Museum. (Los Angeles Times)

Here’s Why a New Deal-Style Public Art Program Is a Pipe Dream – In this moment of upheaval, many have called for a revival of the Federal Art Project, part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s sweeping New Deal plan, which put thousands of artists to work. But politics and society were different then, and partisan divides did not run as deep. President Trump and other politicians, such as Nikki Haley, have targeted arts funding in particular as an extravagance. “I’m not sure you can get Congress to agree on anything,” said Barbara Bernstein, founder of the New Deal Art Registry. “Especially not something as easy to make fun of as an art program.” (New York Times)

Art-World Figures Protest Plan to Demolish Public Sculpture – The non-profit Cultural Landscape Foundation, with support from prominent art-world figures, is appealing to the National Geographic Society to cancel plans to remove the 1984 installation Marabar from its Washington, DC, campus as part of renovations. The six-foot-by-60 foot reflecting pool by New York-based artist Elyn Zimmerman is lined by cut boulders, and was described by Whitney Museum director Adam Weinberg as an art historical “masterpiece” in an open letter. (The Art Newspaper)


Will Art Fairs Return in 2020? – Sure, presumably you’ll be able to hold an art fair at some point this year—but will anyone come? It is uncertain whether, even if lockdowns are lifted, international collectors (or dealers, for that matter) will jump on planes to pack into Art Basel this fall. Dealers have until May 1 to reconfirm their participation. (TAN)

Bored Rich People Are Spending a Lot on Jewelry Online – Collectible jewelry sales are doing well amid the current crisis. As Catherine Becket, a Sotheby’s jewelry specialist, put it, wealthy clients “leading relatively dreary lives” are “wearing big diamonds inside their homes because it brings joy.” Since the beginning of March, Sotheby’s has launched four online jewelry sales, with 92 percent of lots sold and 61 percent exceeding their high estimates. Next up: a 1930s-era Cartier bracelet offered in a dedicated online sale, starting tomorrow, with an estimate of $600,000 to $800,000. (Bloomberg)

Artnet’s Prints and Multiples Sale Exceeds $1 Million – Artnet Auctions’s Premier Prints & Multiples sale brought in a total of $1.1 million, up 10 percent from the equivalent sale in 2019. The auction—which was led by Keith Haring’s Retrospect, which sold for $180,000—also saw a boost in the average lot price, up 38 percent from the same sale last year. (Press release)


Renaissance Society Nabs Rising Star as Director – The curator and writer Myriam Ben Salah has been named the new executive director of the Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago. Ben Salah co-curated the now-delayed fifth edition of the Hammer Museum’s Made in L.A. biennial. She will take up her new post on September 15. (Artforum)

Taipei Biennial Releases Artist List – The Taipei Biennial has released the artist list for its 2020 edition, “You and I Don’t Live on the Same Planet,” which is slated to run November 21 through March 14 at the Taipei Fine Arts Museum. Artists on the list include Mika Rottenberg, Hai-Hsin Huang, and the artist duo Cooking Sections. (Artforum)

Artist Lois Weinberger Dies at 72 – The Austrian artist as died at age 72 in Vienna. Weinberger was interested in nature’s influence on migration and his most famous work, What is beyond plants is at One with Them, produced for Documenta X in 1997, saw him plant foreign weeds along 330 feet of an abandoned railway track. (ARTnews)


Vandals Target Berlin’s Gay Museum – Anonymous vandals threw stones at the window of the Gay Museum in Berlin last weekend, damaging but not breaking the glass. Officials spotted the damage on Monday, but it remains unclear whether it was a targeted attack. (Monopol)

Gilbert & George Create a Free Coronavirus Work – Gilbert & George are the latest artists to offer up free downloadable posters for people to post in their living-room windows—but they are taking a slightly different tack from the colorful rainbow images put forth by others. The duo’s slogans include “Gilbert & George say: Don’t catch it!” and “Gilbert & George say: Don’t get it!” (Guardian)

See Olafur Eliasson’s Back to Earth Initiative – Yesterday, Olafur Eliasson unveiled his new artwork for Earth Day, which comprised nine animations of views over the Earth, released on the hour for nine hours. Now, you can see a sampling of the final product—produced as part of the Serpentine Galleries ‘Back to Earth” initiative—below. “On Earth Day, I want to advocate—as on any other day—that we recognize these various perspectives and, together, celebrate their co-existence,” Eliasson said of the work. (Press release)

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