Art Industry News: Why Are So Many Art Stars Addicted to Social Media? + More Must-Read Stories

Plus, a new book recounts the Gardner Museum heist and Peanuts-inspired public art is taking over the globe.

Cindy Sherman at the opening of "Cindy Sherman: Once Upon a Time, 1981–2011." Courtesy of Neil Rasmus/BFA.

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 3.


FBI Helps Identify Mummy’s Head – Here’s an example of art historians going above and beyond. Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts called in the FBI and, with the help of doctors at Massachusetts General Hospital, extracted DNA from the molar of a mummified Egyptian in its collection. He has now been positively identified as Governor Djehutynakht (ruling out the possibility of being his wife). (New York Times)

Gardner to Publish Book on 1990 Theft – The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum has published a book about the 13 works pilfered in the infamous 1990 heist “to help keep these masterworks present.” Titled Stolen, it includes essays from staff members present at the time and photographs of the art worth $500 million, which has now been missing for 28 years. (Press release)

Why Star Artists Heart Instagram – Richard Prince was an early adopter, Nan Goldin feels “terrible” that she has encouraged social media self-absorption, and Cindy Sherman is just having fun. The Guardian‘s Stuart Jeffries rounds up top contemporary artists’ presences on Instagram, which he calls “art’s new playground.” (Guardian)

Rare Book Thief Strikes in Pittsburgh – More than 300 rare books, maps, folios, and plates have been stolen from the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. Works by Audubon, Isaac Newton, and Adam Smith were discovered missing after an audit last spring. “Suspect(s)” have been identified, says a library spokeswoman, though she declined to specify whether it was an inside job. (Hyperallergic)​


Condo Makes Its Mexico City Debut – The gallery share event makes its Mexico City debut on April 14. Twenty-two spaces will play host to 49 visiting galleries from more than 15 cities worldwide. Participants include Misako & Rosen of Toyko, White Columns of New York, and Sultana of Paris. (ARTnews)

Will the Picasso Stealth Collector Strike Again? – The same mystery collector bought at least 12 of the 16 Picassos sold at Christie’s, Sotheby’s, and Phillips in London for a total of $227.8 million. Now, all eyes are on the artist’s early nude owned by Peggy and David Rockefeller (and before that, Gertrude Stein). The 1905 Rose Period work could sell for $120 million at Christie’s New York in May. (The Art Newspaper)

Carole King’s Grand Piano Heads to Auction – The piano owned by Carole King, which has appeared on an album cover and on stage, heads to auction at Christie’s New York on April 20. She composed many hits on the Steinway & Sons grand piano, including (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman. (Press release)​​

Marlborough Hires a New Director – James Salomon has joined Marlborough Gallery in New York as director of sales and client relations. He previously founded Salomon Contemporary Gallery in Chelsea and worked as director at Mary Boone Gallery. (Press release)​


Frist Center Becomes a Museum After a rebrand, the Frist Center for the Visual Arts will be known as the Frist Art Museum, which “clearly communicates what we are,” says Susan Edwards, the director of the center-turned-museum in Nashville, Tennessee. (Press release)

Thierry Raspail Retires from MAC Lyon – The director of the contemporary art museum in Lyon, France, announced that his 30-year tenure will come to an end on April 13. The hunt is on for his successor, who will start this summer. (Le Monde)

Southampton Arts Center Names First Director – Tom Dunn will be the first executive director of the New York multidisciplinary arts nonprofit. Previously, Dunn was on the management team of New York’s Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and played an important role in the redevelopment of its campus. (Artforum)

Virginia Museum Gets Endowed Directorship – The J.Sanford Miller family has donated $2 million to the Fralin Museum of Art at the University of Virginia to endow its directorship. Miller, an art collector and venture capitalist, is on the advisory board of the museum. (Artforum)


Artists to Create Peanuts-Inspired Murals – Seven artists and collectives including Kenny Scharf, Nina Chanel Abney, Rob Pruitt, and FriendsWithYou will recreate Snoopy and the Peanuts Gang in murals mounted on office buildings in New York’s Hudson Square. The three-month project, which begins April 16, is just one part of a global Peanuts-related art initiative. Other works will pop up in Paris, Seoul, Berlin, San Francisco, Tokyo, and Mexico City. (NYT)

Jeff Koons Thanks Calder’s Grandpa – Hans Ulrich Obrist sat down with Jeff Koons to discuss his five most ambitious works that were never realized, including an airship shaped like a pair of lips that would be three times the size of the Hindenburg and a sculpture featuring a 100-foot waterfall. Their scale is inspired by Koons’s formative encounter with a sculpture of William Penn that towers over Philadelphia by Alexander Calder’s grandfather. (Artsy)

Hirshhorn Announces Lee Ufan Installation – The US is getting its largest installation ever by the Korean artist. The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, DC, plans to debut Ufan’s a site-specific commission in fall 2019. Ten new sculptures from the artist’s “Relatum” series will respond to the museum’s cylindrical building. (Press release)

Lee Ufan, Relatum—Stage (2018). Serpentine Galleries, Kensington Gardens, UK. © Lee Ufan. Photography: Mike Din.

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