Art Industry News: A Prankster Artist Claims He Was Behind the Embarrassing Fake Biden Ad That Fooled the Internet + Other Stories

Plus, Prospect: New Orleans is postponed to 2021 and a German court upholds a ruling against a man who stole Gerhard Richter's trash.

Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden. Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post via 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 on this Tuesday, April 28.


Riga Biennial Pivots to Create a Movie in Lieu of Live Show – Here’s a novel way to pivot away from an IRL event. The second Riga biennial titled “and suddenly it all blossoms,” which was originally slated to open on May 16, is now being turned into a movie shot on a film set in the former industrial port setting of Andrejsala. It will feature finished, unfinished, and absent works that were slated to be included in the now-postponed exhibition. (Press release)

Why Deaccessioning Rules Should Be Relaxed Forever – Earlier this month, the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD) passed temporary resolutions to help institutions cope during this time of crisis, including relaxing the rules on how proceeds from deaccessioned art can be used. Now, art lawyer Donn Zaretsky argues that these guidelines should be made permanent. “Once you accept that there are some occasions when a broader use of funds is acceptable, you have to concede there may be other such occasions,” he writes. (ARTnews)

Artist Brad Troemel Creates Viral Fake Biden Ad – An image that ricocheted around the web and was subsequently removed as fake news may have actually been an artwork. Artist Brad Troemel took to Instagram to claim the meme, which showed presidential hopeful Joe Biden smiling along with the phrase “His brain? No. His heart.” The image was shared by thousands of people, including Trump staffers, before Twitter removed it for violating its rules. Troemel commented: “The ad is real, not in the sense that it was officially released by the Biden campaign, but in the sense that this is truly their message to you—that Joe Biden is a mentally and morally defunct candidate whose folksy and centrist charm will lead him to victory.” (ARTnews)

Man Found Guilty of Stealing Richter Works from the Garbage – Cologne’s Higher Regional Court has confirmed a guilty verdict for a man who stole discarded works by Gerhard Richter from the artist’s trash. The accused took the works while visiting Richter’s home and later tried to auction them off. His original €3,215 fine was later reduced to €1,200; the higher court is now deliberating on the new punishment. (Monopol)


Seoul Gets Back to Business As Usual… Almost – With government-supplied N95-grade masks for everyone, comprehensive testing, and contact tracing of the infected, South Korea has managed to slowly reopen its economy. Galleries are already having openings. Lehmann Maupin, which has instituted furloughs and salary cuts among its staff, opened a show of work by Billy Childish in Seoul last week. Rachel Lehmann says she chose the work because collectors are looking for art that is “really real, really true, not fabricated.” (NYT)

Zwirner Expands Platform Program to Los Angeles – David Zwirner is heading West with his online platform dedicated to spotlighting a hand-selected group of smaller galleries. Platform: Los Angeles will feature 13 LA-based galleries that will each present works by a single artist. (The endeavor follows earlier iterations focused on New York and London.) The chosen galleries include Commonwealth and Council, Jenny’s, Kristina Kite, Château Shatto, Park View / Paul Soto, and The Pit. (ARTnews)

Max Ernst Desert Dreamscape Heads to Christie’s – As auction houses work to pump up private sales while live auctions are on hiatus, the highlights are beginning to come in. One is a 1962 painting by Max Ernst, which the artist completed while living in Sedona, Arizona. But in Color last went to auction in 2017, where it sold for $291,635, meeting its high estimate. (Art Market Monitor)


Prospect New Orleans Postponed Until 2021 – The opening of the highly anticipated New Orleans exhibition “Prospect.5: Yesterday we said tomorrow” has been pushed back another year. The show, originally due to open this fall, has been rescheduled to run from October 23, 2021 to January 23, 2022. Organized by curators Diana Nawi and Naima J. Keith, Prospect.5 will include work by artists Dawoud Bey, Simone Leigh, and Kevin Beasley, among others. (Press release)

Tributes to the Late Graffiti Artist SAME Pour in – Friends pay tribute to the New York street artist SAME, who died earlier this month at 39. SAME, also known as the Whitney Vandal, made headlines when he painted “PPPRiceless” on the walls of a Jeff Koons exhibition at the museum. The actor Julia Fox, a close friend of the artist, described him as an “enigma.” (Page Six)


Texas Philanthropists Pay Artists $100,000 to Get Artists Back to Work – Texas philanthropists Sasha and Ed Bass are distributing $100,000 to Fort Worth artists who are making work in response to the coronavirus. The initiative, called “The New Normal” is an effort to get artists back to work, and other cities are being encouraged to launch their own New Normal projects. (Press release)

See Alternative LACMA Designs – The Citizens Brigade to Save LACMA has released some alternative proposals for the museum’s new build following a renegade architecture competition. (It’s coming a bit late, as demolition on some of the museum’s old buildings to make way for the new Peter Zumthor construction has already begun.) The six “winning” designs include a landscape plinth by Vienna firm Coop Himmelb(l)au and a “horizontal skyscraper” by Paul Murdoch Architects. (The Art Newspaper)

Cultural Heritage Body Launches Emergency Fund – The international alliance for the protection of heritage in conflict areas has released emergency funding for cultural heritage in conflict and post-conflict areas where the coronavirus pandemic has delayed restoration projects. The foundation has released $1 million for local operators to defray the associated costs and prepare for relaunch. (Press release)

Hauser & Wirth Sells Work By Gallery Staff – Hauser & Wirth is selling work by its gallery staff and their families on a new platform called HOMEGROWN. Ten percent of the proceeds from the new biweekly online exhibitions will go to COVID-19 relief, and the rest to the artists. Prices range from $100 to $20,000, and the first release is slated to go live on Saturday, May 9 at 11 a.m. EST. (Press release)

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