Art Industry News: The Long-Delayed Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Is Now ‘On Track’ to Open by 2023 + Other Stories

Plus, Los Angeles is flooded with street-art tributes to Nipsey Hussle and is the Instagram aesthetic over?

The route to the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi construction site on Saadiyat Island.
Photo: Human Rights Watch.

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 Thursday, April 25.


Is the Instagram Aesthetic Over? – Museums and artists, take note. According to the Atlantic, the Instagram aesthetic—bright walls, saturated colors, the Museum of Ice Cream, avocado toast—has jumped the shark. A wave of rising influencers—Emma ChamberlainJazzy Anne, and Joanna Ceddia—are embracing a messier, unfiltered vibe, and Gen Z is on board. Some teens are even going out of their way to make their photos look worse. “It’s not cool anymore to be manufactured,” said one young Instagram user. (Atlantic)

The Line Between Fashion Designers and Artists Is Getting Blurrier – The fall 2019 Fashion Week runway shows were chock full of designer-artist collaborations. Akris worked with the estate of Richard Artschwager to bring the artist’s signature exclamation points to the catwalk, while Stella McCartney enlisted the help of fiber artist Sheila Hicks. Increasingly, artists are flirting with fashion to reach a new, wider audience. “When artists hitch themselves to this phenomenon, when they align themselves with design and its direct access to everyday life, they benefit hugely,” says Michelle Millar Fisher, a decorative arts curator at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. (Washington Post)

Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Aims for 2022 Opening – After years of delays, it looks like the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi might finally have an opening date that will stick. The director of the Guggenheim Foundation, Richard Armstrong, says that construction of the long-delayed Frank Gehry-designed branch in the Gulf is finally due to begin. He told Euronews that he expects it to open in three or four years, so likely by 2023, though no opening date has been officially confirmed. “We are on track. We are on budget,” he stressed. He also distanced the foundation from criticism by human rights and labor organizations about migrant workers’ conditions in Abu Dhabi, saying that the Guggenheim “shared [the] commitment,” but the issue was complex, and ultimately the responsibility of its Gulf partner. (The Art NewspaperEuronews)

A Climate Die-In Is Coming to Tate Modern – Extinction Rebellion, the climate change activists that have taken to the streets of London in recent days, are planning a demonstration this weekend at Tate Modern. The action, called XR Critical Swarm, will highlight the global decline of the bee population. It’s not as random a match as it sounds. According to a statement from the group, “the Tate fortune was built on sugar cane production from colonial exploitation of enslaved Africans, European invasion and exploitation of land in West Indies and South America.” (The Art Newspaper)


The Rothschilds Send Heirlooms to Auction – Members of the Rothschild banking dynasty are sending historic furniture and art with an estimated value of $12.9 million to auction at Christie’s London. Top lots include Marie Antoinette’s desk and a painting by Fragonard. (Bloomberg)

Gagosian San Francisco Names a New Director – Art advisor Kelly Huang will become co-director of Gagosian San Francisco, working alongside Charlie Spalding. For the past decade, Huang worked at the elite San Francisco-based art advisory firm Zlot Buell + Associates. (ARTnews)

Sotheby’s Veteran Joins Phillips – Phillips has lured the American art specialist Elizabeth Goldberg away from Sotheby’s. She described Phillips as “nimble and dynamic,” adding that she looked forward to presenting artists such as Norman Rockwell with “a Warhol or even Picasso; and O’Keeffe with Henry Moore and Agnes Martin.” Goldberg begins her new role as senior international specialist and deputy chairman for the Americas in July. (ARTnews)


Creative Time Announces its 10th Anniversary Summit – The New York nonprofit Creative Time is planning a series of events in May, June, September, and November focused on injustice and resistance for its tenth anniversary. Under the title “Speaking Truth: Summit X,” the program will kick off with a talk moderated by Amy Goodman from news program Democracy Now. (ARTnews)

Warburg Institute Plans a Major Expansion – London’s Warburg Institute, a research institute dedicated to the study of cultural memory, is planning a £14.5 million ($18.7 million) expansion to improve its existing spaces and build a new gallery, digital laboratory, and lecture hall. The Warburg’s collection is based on the library amassed by German Jewish art historian Aby Warburg, who smuggled his collection out of Nazi Germany in 1933. (TAN)

Cleveland Museum Buys Pointillist Painting – For the first time, visitors to the Cleveland Museum of Art will be able to enjoy a masterwork of pointillism. Louis Hayet’s Banks of the Oise at Dawn (1888) joins the collection in its latest round of acquisitions along with a trove of 17th-century Dutch drawings and a work by Jenny Holzer created in response to the AIDS epidemic. (


Iowa Inmates Fight for Access to Art – Prison inmates in Iowa are filing two lawsuits challenging a 2018 Iowa statute banning material that is “sexually explicit or features nudity,” a rule that includes art. Under the existing rules, inmates do not have access to mainstream publications like National Geographic nor can they draw nude figures, according to one lawyer. (TAN)

Gimpel Heir Accuses France of Delaying Restitution – The granddaughter of Jewish art collector René Gimpel claims that French authorities are stalling for time in her quest to reclaim three paintings by André Derain that she says were forced sales during World War II. The family has spent six years trying to negotiate a deal with France’s museum authority. The final hearing in the case is scheduled for June 25. (Jewish Chronicle)

LA Gets Street Art Tributes to Nipsey Hussle – Vibrant murals along an LA highway, by a basketball court, and on the sides of buildings are popping up as tributes to the late Nipsey Hussle. To date, there are more than 50. The rapper and community activist was shot outside a clothing store he owned on March 31. (AP)

Fans gather and pose in front of a mural to slain rapper Nipsey Hussle as they await outside The Marathon Clothing store for the funeral procession for Hussle on April 11, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

A man walks after posing in front of a mural to slain rapper Nipsey Hussle as people await outside The Marathon Clothing store for the funeral procession for Hussle on April 11, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Nipsey Hussle Mural is seen on April 22, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Hollywood To You/Star Max/GC Images)

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