Art Industry News: Jerry Saltz on How the Lockdown Era Will Give Birth to a Very Different Art World + Other Stories
Plus, MOCA furloughs most of its remaining staff and French galleries team up to organize a charity auction to benefit healthcare workers.
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 Friday, April 3.
MOCA Furloughs Most of Its Staff – Nearly all of MOCA in Los Angeles’s full-time employees—a total of 69 people—have been put on either full or partial furlough or a “significant salary reduction” as of today, with director Klaus Biesenbach taking the largest (though unspecified) pay cut. The museum already laid off 97 part-time staff last week. It says that it hopes to rehire and reverse the changes when the museum is able to reopen and the economy re-stabilizes. (Los Angeles Times)
New York Botanical Garden Postpones Kusama Show – The hotly anticipated Yayoi Kusama exhibition planned for the summer at the New York Botanical Garden has been postponed to spring 2021. Tickets had gone on sale in February, with prices of up to $45 for access to one of Kusama’s “Infinity Rooms.” Buyers will receive a refund in the coming weeks. “The passion that I and those at the NYBG have poured into this exhibition is still burning,” Kusama said in a heartfelt statement. “Everyone, I hope you will wait.” (TAN)
Jerry Saltz on How Coronavirus Will Change the Art World – The art critic says that while he has seen recessions and crises over the years, he has not seen anything quite like the current situation. “Much of the art world infrastructure feels like it’s already in the balance,” he writes. “I worry that such a sundering will only exacerbate the inequalities that more and more dominate this universe, with mega-galleries and art stars surviving and the gap between them and everyone else only widening.” He is optimistic, however, that the true art world, not the moneyed one, will survive in the wake of the crisis: “Creativity was with us in the caves,” he notes. (Vulture)
San Francisco Art Figures Protest Art Institute Closure – More than 60 curators, academics, dealers, and museum trustees have signed an open letter to show support for one of America’s oldest schools, which is currently facing layoffs, the cancellation of its fall semester, and an indefinite closure. The signatories—including Hou Hanru, director of the MAXXI museum in Rome, and Clara Kim, a senior curator at Tate Modern in London—have called for a new, more sustainable model for the school. “There are many people who care deeply about this and what it means for our community,” the letter states. (ARTnews)
La Biennale Paris Gives Dealers a Boost – The art and antiques fair is taking advantage of an emergency relief package offered by the French government to help struggling galleries participate in the fair. With the help of a state guarantee program for loans to companies affected by the outbreak, the Biennale Paris is offering exhibitors the opportunity to spread payment of their booth fees over four months after the event and has eliminated the requirement to provide any payment in advance. The fair will be held in Paris in September. (The Art Newspaper)
French Auction House Organizes a Charity Sale – Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, kamel mennour, and other galleries are donating works to a charity auction to support French health workers in dire need of personal protective equipment. The sale, run by Piasa, runs April 3 through April 5 and includes work by A.R. Penck, Martial Raysse, and Claude Lévêque, among others. (Press release)
COMINGS & GOINGS
Toronto’s Museum of Contemporary Art Names Director – Kathleen Bartels, who served as director of the Vancouver Art Gallery for 18 years, has been named the new director and CEO of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Toronto. Bartels stepped down from VAG last year after presiding over its monumental (and controversial) expansion. (Artforum)
Gallerist Renato Danese Has Died at 76 – The passionate and frank New York dealer came to the art market from the museum world, where he served as a curator at the Baltimore Museum of Art. The gallerist’s parter at Danese/Corey gallery, Carol Corey, confirmed his death at age 76, from cancer. (ARTnews)
Philadelphia Museum of Art Extends Closure Through End of June – The Philadelphia Museum of Art will remain closed through June 30, following in the footsteps of the Met. To survive the closure, it plans to reduce staff salaries for everyone making more than $30,000 a year, but museum officials have said they are trying to avoid layoffs. (Philadelphia Inquirer)
FOR ART’S SAKE
Maurizio Cattelan Makes Lockdown Art – The prankster artist is among those who were invited to contribute to the Fondazione Nicola Trussardi’s online “Chamber Journeys” project, which asks artists to select images, videos, and texts to narrate their own domestic spaces and experiences during lockdown. The project is now open to submissions from the public. (Press release)
Irish Museum Used as Mortuary – The Irish Museum of Modern Art will host a temporary mortuary on its grounds as Dublin continues to cope with the coronavirus pandemic. The structure will be built in the museum’s courtyard. “We think with great compassion and respect for the families of those who may need these facilities in the times to come,” the museum said in a statement. (The Art Newspaper)
Getty Archive Tries to Salvage Photos During Lockdown – Here is a side effect of the current lockdown you might not have considered: the potential danger to millions of precious photographs and negatives that require careful preservation and protection to keep from degrading. The Getty Images archive in London is working to preserve unseen shots of Marilyn Monroe, the Beatles, and other famous figures with only two employees allowed on the premises at one time. (Guardian)
Artist Injured by Own Sculpture Doing Lockdown Aerobics – The Norwegian performance artist Jan Hakon Erichsen, who is known for theatrically popping balloons using sculptures he creates from knives, had an unfortunate accident while doing another daredevil activity, which he calls “furniture aerobics,” at home under lockdown. In what seemed potentially inevitable, he fell onto one of his own works. The artist is taking it as a sign and has decided to pause the activity in case he gets a more serious injury and needs to visit the hospital, which is already stretched thin due to the public health situation. (10 Daily)
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