Art Industry News: Philippe de Montebello and More Than 1,000 Other Experts Say Macron Is Rushing Notre Dame’s Restoration + Other Stories

Plus, New York's Asia Society plans a contemporary art triennial and Jake Gyllenhaal may or may not only collect portraits of himself.

Philippe de Montebello. Courtesy of the Hispanic Society Museum & Library.

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 30.


Klaus Biesenbach Details His MOCA LA Priorities – LA MOCA’s new director says that when the museum’s artist-trustee Catherine Opie called to ask for his help as she sought to fill the vacant director role, he thought she wanted ideas about who to headhunt. “Then at some point Cathy was like, ‘Klaus, wake up!’” he recalls. Now comfortably in the role, he is thinking about how to make better use of museum’s downtown buildings. Part of Geffen Contemporary will become a space for multidisciplinary programs targeted at the community: “It will be very open and, I hope, free,” he says. (Robb Report)

Asia Society Launches a Triennial – New York has a new triennial for contemporary art. The Asia Society has announced the first edition of its new triennial will feature 40 pan-Asian artists in an exhibition titled “We Do Not Dream Alone.” Due to open in June 2020, it will be organized by the Asia Society’s new director Boon Hui Tan, who curated the 2013 Singapore Biennial, and the society’s senior curator of modern and contemporary art, Michelle Yun. The inaugural edition will take place in the Asia Society’s Park Avenue home and in venues across Manhattan and beyond. (New York Times)

Ex-Met Director Joins Protest at Macron’s Rush to Rebuild Notre Dame – Around 1,600 curators, conservators, architects, and other experts—including the former Met director Philippe de Montebello—have signed an open letter warning against a hasty restoration of Notre Dame cathedral. The petition, first published by the newspaper Le Figaro, criticizes the French President’s five-year deadline to rebuild the fire-damaged monument. The signatories are particularly critical of a law drafted last week that would give a new public body the power to make “exemptions or adaptations” to heritage preservation regulations in order to complete the rebuild in time for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games. “Let us not erase the complexity of thought that must surround this building work with a display of efficiency,” the letter reads. (The Art Newspaper)

Was This 11th-Century Missal in the Morgan’s Collection Stolen? – Prosecutors in Italy are seeking to recover a medieval missal (a precious sacramentary manuscript) from the Morgan Library and Museum’s collection, which they allege was stolen from a parish church in 1925. The Morgan received the missal in 1984 as a gift, but the Italian prosecutor points to missing provenance details to question that the institution received the object “in good faith.” (TAN)


Can Berlin Still Be Sexy When It’s No Longer Poor? – Berlin is no longer “poor but sexy,” as its former mayor once called it in 2003. What does that mean for its art scene? The city drew major European collectors for its Berlin Gallery Weekend, but some observers noticed a general shortage of foreign visitors, and very few American accents. Dealers also tended to play it safe, with painting and sculpture far outnumbering performance, installation, or digital art. (NYT)

TEFAF Lures Some Prominent Exhibitors From Frieze – After multiple years of bad weather (flooding in 2017 and a heat wave coupled with malfunctioning air conditioning in 2018), several high-profile dealers are opting to try their luck at TEFAF New York in lieu of Frieze this week. Pace, Skarstedt, Almine Rech, and Kamel Mennour are among the dealers who have decamped to Manhattan’s Park Avenue Armory from Randall’s Island. (TAN)

Petzel Now Represents Derek Fordjour – The New York-based artist who makes vibrant paintings out of corrugated cardboard and spray paint has joined Petzel Gallery in New York. He will continue to be represented by Night Gallery in Los Angeles and Josh Lilley Gallery in London. (Press release)

TEFAF Chairman on Suffering Sexual Abuse – The chairman of TEFAF and founder of the digital art registry Artory, Nanne Dekking, has revealed that he was sexually abused as young man. Although it happened before he entered the art world, the Dutch art dealer is concerned about people suffering in silence, as he did for years. As most art businesses are small, lack an HR department, and are “run by people with huge egos,” domineering behavior is taken for granted, he fears. “People who have experienced abuse—and not just sexual abuse—should speak out,” Dekking says. (TAN)


BP Portrait Award Finalists Named – Narrowed down from some 2,500 entries, the four finalists for the £35,000 ($45,515) portrait prize are Massimiliano Pironti, for a portrait of his 95-year-old Italian grandmother; Carl-Martin Sandvold, for a self-portrait wearing a crown; Charlie Schaffer, for his portrait of an English Literature student; and Emma Hopkins, for a nude portrait of the photographer Sophie Mayanne and her dog. The winner will be announced at a ceremony on June 10. (BBC)

Berlin Returns Maori Human Remains – The museum at Berlin’s Charité hospital has returned 109 Maori and Moriori skulls to New Zealand’s national museum, Te Papa Tongarewa. The remains—taken to Germany more than a century ago after they were raided from indigenous graves—were handed over in a ceremony on Monday. (DW)

Dallas Museum Names New European Art Curator – The Dallas Museum of Art has appointed Julien Domercq as its assistant curator of European art. Domercq, a former curatorial fellow at London’s National Gallery, will join the Texas museum in May. (ARTnews)

Four Museums Acquire Works From Souls Grown Deep – The Clark Atlanta University Art Museum in Georgia, the Minneapolis Institute of Art, Alabama’s Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, and the Phillips Collection in Washington, DC, have acquired work from the Atlanta-based foundation’s collection. The new additions include works by Thornton Dial, Mose Tolliver, Ronald Lockett, and quilts by Gee’s Bend. (ARTnews)


Apparently Jake Gyllenhaal Only Frames Portraits of Himself – An intrepid Page Six source visiting a downtown framing shop overheard a very amusing conversation between the framer and a collector, who was worried it would be vain to frame a portrait of himself. The store owner replied: “Jake Gyllenhaal comes in all the time and I’ve never framed something for him that’s not a picture of himself.” Sadly, another anonymous source (who is most certainly not Gyllenhaal’s publicist) told the publication that the pictures in question were merely movie posters. (Page Six)

Coachella’s Art Just Gets Thrown Away – What becomes of the much-hyped (and much-photographed) music festival’s temporary sets and large-scale installations after the masses have packed up their flower crowns and gone home? The reality is a buzzkill. “The remains of these designs will join the millions of plastic water bottles and other detritus left behind by the event in just burdening our planet even further,” critic Aaron Betsky writes. (dezeen)

Watch This Man Stealing a $16,000 Sculpture in Broad Daylight – New York police have arrested a 61-year-old Bronx local, Zoltan Genc, who was caught on camera strolling out of New York’s Galeries Bartoux with a crystal-and-gold sculpture by Fred Allard valued at $16,000 slung over his shoulder. The brazen thief has been charged with extreme chutzpah and grand larceny. (Fox)

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