Art Industry News: 25,000 People Joined Forces to Buy a ‘Bargain’ Picasso Online + More Must-Read Stories

Plus, two new top-tier art fairs debut in China and the singer Chris Brown got into a feud with an artist on Instagram.

A contributor swipes the card associated with her share of the 1968 work by late Spanish artist Pablo Picasso entitled "Buste de mousquetaire" at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MAMCO) in Geneva on April 27, 2018. (Photo: HAROLD CUNNINGHAM/AFP/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 this Monday, April 30.


Laurie Simmons’s Latest Work Is Inspired by Her Children – The artist’s new work on show at New York’s Salon 94 includes portraits of her children Lena and Grace Dunham posing as actress Audrey Hepburn and the silent-film star Rudolph Valentino. “I never could have predicted that I would have done something that could be called portraiture,” Simmons said. (New York Times)

Critics Attack Taj Mahal “Privatization” – Heritage experts have slammed the Indian government’s move to let private companies run many of the country’s most important historic sites, including the Taj Mahal and Red Fort. Critics and opposition politicians have also criticized the lack of clarity around the way proceeds from ticket sales will be used to conserve the sites. (Art Daily)

Picasso “Bargain” Attracts Thousands of Buyers – Some 25,000 people pitched in with small sums to collectively buy Picasso’s Musketeer Bust (1968) for $2 million. The 40,000 shares were made available for $50 each on the Swiss bargain site QoQa. The owners will now decide collectively where the work is shown. It made its debut on Friday at Geneva’s Modern art museum MAMCO. (Inquirer)

German Museums Fund Research Into African Loot – The German Lost Art Foundation is expanding its work to include African art and artifacts in the nation’s public collections. Culture minister Monika Grütters has pledged to create several new positions at Germany’s state museums dedicated exclusively to researching possible colonial loot. (The Art Newspaper)


Two New Art Fairs Come to China – Several new art fairs in China are aiming to become major players on the global circuit. Art Chengdu opened in Sichuan’s capital last week; in May, the inaugural JingArt fair opens in Beijing with top-flight exhibitors like Hauser & Wirth and David Zwirner. Meanwhile, Taipei Dangdai launches next January in Taiwan. (TAN)

Christie’s to Sell Diebenkorn Trove – Donald and Barbara Zucker are selling 22 works by Richard Diebenkorn at Christie’s New York next month. The top lot, Ocean Park #126 (1984), carries a $16 million to $18 million estimate and is expected to set a new record for the artist. (ARTnews)

Why US Art Fairs Are Decentralized – Melanie Gerlis surveys the shifting art fair landscape in the US, concluding that for American galleries, there is no single “must-do event.” Come February, the inaugural Frieze LA will add another destination to the mix. (Financial Times)


NEA Chairman to Step Down – Jane Chu is stepping down after four years at the helm of the National Endowment for the Arts. She did not mention Trump’s repeated efforts to eliminate the agency in her resignation statement. Last month, after much political maneuvering, Trump signed a bill that increased NEA funding to $152 million. (Washington Post)

Hans Ulrich Obrist to Co-Curate Berlin Festival – Reference Berlin, an interdisciplinary event mixing art, fashion, design, and technology, is set to launch in late October at Berlin’s notorious Berghain nightclub. Co-organized by Hans Ulrich Obrist, the 24-hour festival is founded by culture magazine 032C‘s Maria Koch and Thom Bettridge, communications CEO Mumi Haiati, and gallerist Robert Grunenberg. (WWD)

Faena Art Names Prize Winners – The nonprofit has awarded Tamar Guimarães and Kasper Akhøj its $75,000 prize, which aims to fund artistic experimentation. For their winning proposal, the Copenhagen-based artists designed an immersive theater set for a “micro musical.” The project will debut at the Faena Arts Center in Buenos Aires in 2019. (Artforum)

Artist Who Founded Burning Man Has Died – Larry Harvey, the artist who founded the Nevada desert festival, has died at age 70. The counter-cultural event began in 1986, when just over a dozen people gathered to burn an effigy and mark the summer solstice on a San Francisco beach. Since then, it has grown into something a bit different. (Monopol)


Boy George Recalls Returning Looted Cypriot Icon – After a Greek Orthodox archbishop spotted a stolen icon on the wall of Boy George’s living room during a TV interview, he got in touch with his management company. It turned out the work, which the musician had purchased from a dealer in 1982, was looted from Cyprus in 1974. Boy George returned the object in 2011. “For months afterwards I’d have Greek ladies coming up in the street and kissing me,” he says in a new interview. (Daily Mail)

Artists Sue the City of Memphis – A group of 12 artists have sued the city of Memphis under the Visual Artists Rights Act for accidentally painting over their work. The city had intended to cover up a different set of nearby murals that the local council determined were “satanic” and “offensive.” (USA Today)

Arts Center Goes Way Over Budget – The Hong Kong Jockey Club will be spending around double its projected budget of HK$1.8 billion ($230 million) to convert the city’s former police station into a cultural hub called the Tai Kwun arts center. The much delayed project designed by architects Herzog & de Meuron originally launched in 2011. (South China Morning Post)

Chris Brown Tells Upset Artist to “Suck It” – The singer provoked the ire of Brazilian illustrator and comic artist Gabriel Picolo when he posted one Picolo’s drawings on his Instagram account without credit. Brown was unsympathetic, responding on Twitter: “No one cares about a damn instapic bruh….suck it.” (Complex)




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