Art Industry News: Gagosian Gives Damien Hirst’s Spots a Grand Homecoming in NYC + More Must-Read Stories

Plus, judges rule on the case of the monkey selfie, and a new book details Ai Weiwei's thoughts on the refugee crisis.

Larry Gagosian and Damien Hirst. February 22, 2007. ©Patrick McMullan.

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 Tuesday, April 24.


The Wisdom of Ai Weiwei, Published – Princeton University Press has published a little blue book filled with Ai Weiwei’s thoughts and musings about the global refugee crisis. The book’s editor, collector Larry Warsh, pulled together excerpts from Ai’s published interviews and public appearances. Titled Humanity, Warsh sees it as an extension of his 2012 book Weiwei-isms. (New York Times)

Monkey Selfie Case Ends – After a protracted legal battle, a three-judge panel has ruled that animals cannot sue people for violating copyright law. The decision brings to an end the bitter dispute over who can own a photograph taken by a monkey. Animal rights group PETA sued the photographer David John Slater in 2015, claiming that a monkey named Naruto owned the copyright to a selfie he took with Naruto’s camera. (Courthouse News)

Hirst’s Spot Paintings Head to New York – Has it been too long since you heard about a Damien Hirst show? Gagosian is here to help. The gallery is presenting the artist’s new “Colour Space” series, the latest rendition of his famous spot paintings, at its 24th Street space in May, just in time for Frieze New York. The series recently debuted at Houghton Hall in England. (Press release)

Emirates Donate $50 Million to UNESCO to Rebuild Mosul – UNESCO executive director Audrey Azoulay announced that the United Arab Emirates and Iraq have reached $50 million deal to fund the reconstruction of the downtown area of the northern Iraqi city over five years. Among the sites that will be reconstructed is the famous Al Nuri Mosque that ISIS destroyed last year. (Le Monde)



Marina Abramović Will Reveal New Work at Masterpiece – A new—and uncharacteristically collectible—work by the performance artist will fill the entrance to the Masterpiece fair in London (June 28–July 4). Five Stages of Maya Dance, co-presented by the production company Factum Arte and Lisson Gallery, comprises five alabaster slabs that shift from self-portraits to blocks of stone as the light changes. (Financial Times)

Thomas Dane Will Represent Dana Schutz – The American painter, who achieved no small notoriety last year, will be now represented in the UK by Thomas Dane Gallery. The London dealer will present Schutz’s first solo show in London in October 2019. (ARTnews)

Fundraising for documenta Obelisk Falls Short – The campaign to purchase American-Nigerian artist Olu Oguibe’s disputedpro-refugee obelisk for Kassel is unlikely to achieve its goal. With just a few days left, the city has received only €130,000 of the €600,000 cost. There is still hope, however: The artist has hinted he may sell the work for less money than its listed price tag. (Monopol)

Heritage to Auction Debbie Reynold’s Rockwell (Again) – The Dallas-based auction house is offering 10 works by Norman Rockwell on May 4. The top lot, Rockwell’s Saturday Evening Post cover painting Independence (1926), which was once owned by the actor Debbie Reynolds, failed to sell at auction last fall. Now, its $2 million to $3 million estimate has been reduced to $800,000 to $1.2 million. (Press release) 


Eva Rothschild to Represent Ireland at Venice – The Republic of Ireland has chosen the Dublin-born, London-based sculptor Eva Rothschild to represent it at the 2019 Venice Biennale. The pavilion will be organized by the curator Mary Cremin, the director of Void Gallery in Derry–Londonderry, Northern Ireland. (Press release)

MacDowell Fellows Announced – The 84 artists who will spend the summer at the MacDowell Colony in New Hampshire include Nayland Blake, Clifford Owens, and Julia Bland. Each will work in a private studio for a period of up to eight weeks, following in the footsteps of the writers, composers, visual artists and poets who have stayed at the former farm since 1907. (ARTnews)

Garage Picks Critic to Helm Its Summer Film Program – The Russian film critic Evgeny Gusyatinskiy will organize the 2018 outdoor film program for the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art in Moscow. The program is known to present films that might not otherwise be screened in Russia. Gusyatinskiy also organizes Rotterdam’s film festival. (Press release)

Brooklyn’s Real Fine Arts to Close – The Brooklyn gallery, which has shown regularly at Art Basel in Miami Beach and Liste in Basel, has shut down. On Monday, it issued a terse statement (“Real Fine Arts is closed”) and offered no further comment from its founders Tyler Dobson and Ben Morgan-Cleveland. The gallery opened in 2008. (artnet News)​


Art Basel Cities Announces Buenos Aires Program – The program, curated by Cecilia Alemani and titled “Hopscotch (Rayuela),” runs September 6–12. As part of Art Basel Cities week, contemporary work by 16 artists, including Maurizio Cattelan, Alex Da Corte, and Barbara Kruger, will take over plazas, parks, and abandoned buildings in three neighborhoods. (Press release)

Hirshhorn Brings ‘80s Art to the Streets – In honor of its current show “Brand New: Art and Commodity in the 1980s,” the museum has invited local artists to reinterpret iconic ’80s works on the streets of Washington, DC. No Kings Collective, NoMüNoMü, and SUPERWAXX are making posters inspired by the likes of Jeff Koons and Barbara Kruger for the city’s southwest waterfront neighborhood. (Smithsonian Magazine)

Berlin Museum Offers Glimpse of Leni Riefenstahl’s Estate – Berlin’s Museum of Photography has received rare photos, films, and documents from the archive of Hitler’s favorite filmmaker thanks to a gift from her secretary Gisela Jahn. Researchers will collaborate with the photography museum, film archive, and national library to shed new light on Riefenstahl’s controversial life and work—though some fear the archive will be a boon to Nazi apologists. (Guardian)

Viral Tweet Likens Basketball Shot to Renaissance Painting – CNN Money’s Frank Pallotta struck Internet gold when he likened this photo of the Houston Rockets’ James Harden falling into the crowd to a Renaissance masterpiece. The photo was taken by the Star Tribune’s Carlos Gonzalez. Pallotta’s tweet has been shared 80,000 times—including by the newly minted Pulitzer Prize winner Jerry Saltz. (Twitter)

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