Art Industry News: Galleries Worldwide Expect to Lose 70 Percent of Their Income as a Result of Coronavirus, Survey Says + Other Stories
Plus, the ICA Boston turns its outpost into a food bank and people are already reselling Murakami x Supreme's relief tees for a profit.
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 Monday, April 27.
Philip Tinari on Reopening UCCA – The director of UCCA in Beijing, Philip Tinari, talks about some of the lessons learned in lockdown as the city gradually opens up. The director says that online exhibitions didn’t work as well as organizing events that couldn’t have happened IRL, such as concerts featuring performers scattered around the world and film festivals where viewers could discuss what they were watching in real time. Now, Tinari is preparing to open an exhibition on May 21 called “Meditations in an Emergency,” a show pulled together in the span of a month that aims to speak to the new normal of temperature checks and even tighter controls on movement. (The Art Newspaper)
Furloughed SFMOMA Staff Ask Director to Cut Pay to Zero – Furloughed staff members at SFMOMA have written an open letter to its director and executive staff asking the museum to keep them on. The museum’s staff is being paid through June 30 thanks to a $6.2 million federal loan, but their long-term future is still insecure. The open letter suggests a number of strategies to make funds available, including deaccessioning artwork, asking the trustees to donate funds, and director Neal Benezra giving up his nearly $1 million annual salary for the rest of the fiscal year. (Hyperallergic)
Galleries Face 70 Percent Income Loss Due to Coronavirus – The Art Newspaper teamed up with Maastricht University’s Rachel Pownall to determine just how much galleries expect to be hurt by the virus and subsequent economic tumble. The results of the survey—which tallies responses from 236 dealers—are sobering: galleries worldwide expect to lose an average of 72 percent of their revenue. About a third of galleries, meanwhile, do not expect to survive the crisis at all. Dealers with fewer than four employees reported the lowest chance of survival (65 percent), while larger galleries were more optimistic. Dealers in the UK estimated they would experience the largest drop in financial activity (79 percent), followed by Asia (77 percent), North America (71 percent), and the rest of Europe (66 percent). (The Art Newspaper)
ICA Boston Uses Outpost to Feed Local Families – The ICA Boston is using its East Boston outpost, the Watershed, as a warehouse to distribute food to families affected by the coronavirus crisis. The ICA asked its catering company to run a monthlong donation drive and recruited new donors to support the project. It has been giving out family-sized boxes of fresh produce and dairy products with the goal to feed 400 families in East Boston, which has been hit hard by the virus. (Boston Globe)
People Are Already Reselling Murakami’s Supreme Relief Tee – A $60 Supreme t-shirt designed by Takashi Murakami to raise funds for COVID-19 relief is already being resold online for as much as $1,500. Faced with criticism, online retailers like Grailed and StockX that are allowing people to profit off the shirt are giving portions of the proceeds from the sales to charity. (Complex)
David Zwirner Reopens Hong Kong Gallery – David Zwirner is reopening its Hong Kong gallery by appointment only beginning May 5. To coincide with the reopening, it will launch a bilingual English and Chinese online viewing room called Lixia. The gallery has so far had considerable success with online sales, bringing in $1.8 million for a painting by Josef Albers and selling out its special presentations by Harold Ancart and Marcel Dzama. (Press release)
Sotheby’s Announces Pop-Up Auction Series – Following the success of its online program, which has brought in more than $50 million in four months, Sotheby’s Hong Kong is launching a new series of fast-paced and themed online auctions called “Contemporary Showcase.” Slated for spring/summer 2020, the week-long auctions have themes including Western art and Manga. (Press release)
An Art Fair Is Becoming a PDF – The Monaco fair artmonte-carlo, which was set to take place next weekend, will be instead held as a “catalogue” art fair. Participating galleries, which include 303 Gallery, Almine Rech, and White Cube, will be showing three works each. The catalogue (also known as a PDF) will initially be released to guests who attended the previous fair and then disseminated more widely. (Press release)
COMINGS & GOINGS
Former Sotheby’s PR Chief Heads Up Foundation – The Shubert Foundation, America’s largest private foundation dedicated to unrestricted funding of nonprofit theater and dance, has appointed Diana Phillips—the longtime former head of communications for Sotheby’s—to serve as its president. The post was previously held by Michael I. Sovern, who died on January 20. (Press release)
Betsy James Wyeth, Collaborator of Andrew, Dies at 98 – The widow, collaborator, and muse of American painter Andrew Wyeth died on April 21. It was Betsy James who introduced her then-future husband to Christina Olson, the subject of the famous painting Christina’s World. That title, like the titles of many of Andrew’s works, was conceived not by the painter, but by Betsy James. (New York Times)
Asia Society Announces New Dates for Inaugural Triennial – Asia Society Museum has rescheduled and reconceived the Asia Society Triennial to run in two parts over eight months, from October 27, 2020 to June 27, 2021. The show—an ambitious presentation of work by 41 artists and collectives from 20 countries—was originally scheduled to open on June 5. (Press release)
FOR ART’S SAKE
Artist Support Pledge Generates £15 Million – The Artist Support Pledge initiative, which was established online in March to support artists in the face of economic uncertainty, has generated £15 million. Artists and creators post images of works priced up to £200. Every time an artist achieves £1,000 in sales through the initiative, they must pledge to buy £200 worth of work from other participating artists. (Press release)
Museums Work to Extend Exhibition Loans – Museums are burning the midnight oil to negotiate extensions on loans of artworks meant to be included in postponed or suspended exhibitions. Institutions including Rome’s Scuderie del Quirinale, which shuttered its blockbuster Raphael exhibition after just three days, are asking lenders for permission to extend shows beyond their original closing dates. The Uffizi Galleries in Florence, which were the biggest lender to the Raphael show, have already agreed to extend their loans. (TAN)
The Artist Behind the Gruffalo Writes a Book Explaining the Virus to Children – A new book by the world-renowned children’s illustrator Axel Scheffler is helping kids understand the current crisis. Called Coronavirus: A Book for Children, the new publication is available for free online within a week, published by children’s book producer Nosy Crow. (BBC)
The Russian Art Reenactors Who Started a Sensation – As it turns out, the biggest engine behind the current artwork reenactment craze sweeping the internet is a Russian Facebook group that formed around a month ago. Initiated by a Moscow-based project manager at a tech company, the online community now boasts 540,000 members who share intricate and imaginative interpretations of famous art made with household objects. The group gets around 1,000 posts a day. (New York Times)
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