Art Industry News: Beijing’s Forbidden City Reopens Tomorrow—But Only for Those With Proof They’re Healthy + Other Stories

Plus, the Terra Foundation offers $8 million to struggling arts organizations and the 2020 Seattle Art Fair is cancelled.

Paramilitary policemen patrol around the Forbidden City in Beijing, China. Photo: Feng Li/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 Thursday, April 30.


How Do You Close a Museum? – A recent survey of European museums found that one in 10 may close as a result of the pandemic, which begs the uncomfortable question: how do you actually close a museum, anyway? Turns out, it’s complicated. The Netherlands has a 35-page manual for the “disposal” of museum objects, including rules stipulating that works must be first offered back to the original donors. If works were acquired with government funds, the pieces must be offered to another museum. Staff will likely need to stay on for years after the museum closes to manage the deaccessioning and other technical issues. (New York Times)

ICA Commissions Digital Art – The Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami has come up with a novel way to facilitate the production of new work while its facility is closed. The museum is commissioning four local artists—Cristine Brache, Domingo Castillo, Faren Humes, and Terence Price II—to create new digital works for its Instagram and website. Each artist has created short video works, with Brache’s launching today at 1 p.m. EST. (Press release)

Beijing Reopens the Forbidden City – After a long and stringent lockdown, Beijing is beginning to reopen cultural institutions, including Beijing’s imperial Palace Museum and Forbidden City. State museums will reopen tomorrow for the national May Day holiday, which is traditionally a popular week for domestic tourism. Under the new public-health rules, visitors to the Forbidden City will be capped at 5,000 a day and indoor exhibition areas will remain closed. In order to gain entry, visitors must also pre-book, undergo a temperature check at the door, and present a digital health code that confirms they have not recently traveled to any virus hotspots. Face masks will be required and social distancing will be enforced. (The Art Newspaper)

An Indigenous Artist Will Represent Taiwan in Venice – For the first time, Taiwan will present works by an indigenous artist at the Venice Biennale. Artist Sakuliu Pavavaljung will be the subject of the Taiwan Pavilion, organized by Patrick Flores, in 2021. Pavavaljung, part of the 100,000-member Paiwan community, is known for making work across media in collaboration with other artisans and for his advocacy work in education reform. (Art Asia Pacific)


Dallas’s Craighead Green Gallery Is Re-Opening Next Week – Unlike museums in the state, the Dallas gallery is planning to take advantage of the reopening of Texas on May 5. “Every surface will be cleaned after each visitor, we will have hand sanitizer available for all to use, and we will, of course, be wearing our stylish masks,” the gallery said in a statement. “With over 5,600 sq. feet of gallery space, we have plenty of room for you to keep your distance and still enjoy some gorgeous artwork.” (Glasstire)

The Seattle Art Fair Is Cancelled – Set to take place from July 23 to 26, the West Coast fair founded by the late collector Paul Allen in 2015 has been called off this year due to the ongoing health crisis. (Press release)

Sotheby’s Prints Sale Nets $3.4 Million – Sotheby’s Prints & Multiples sale made its highest-ever total for an online auction in the category yesterday, with 88 percent of lots sold. Highlights included Andy Warhol’s Grapes (Suite of 6), which made $375,000, and Jasper Johns’s colorful Target (1974), which sold for $162,500. Half of the buyers were making a purchase from Sotheby’s for the first time, according to the house. (Press release)


Terra Foundation Announces $8 Million Relief Fund – Chicago’s Terra Foundation for American Art has created an $8 million relief fund for visual arts organizations affected by COVID-19. The fund will provide emergency money for US-based and international arts organizations engaging with American art, as well as ongoing relief over the next two years for organizations in the US. (Press release)

Documenta Archive Names New Head – The German art historian Nadine Oberste-Hetbleck is taking over for Birgit Jooss as the director of the Documenta Archive, which will soon be housed in an independent international research institute. Oberste-Hetbleck, who currently serves as art history professor at Cologne University, will take up the new post on August 1. (Artforum)

Curator Paul Smith Dies at 88 – The curator and museum director Paul J. Smith has died at 88. The former director of the Museum of Contemporary Crafts in New York (now called the Museum of Arts and Design) was known as a champion of American Craft. (ARTnews)


People Aren’t Sure What to Make of Cuomo’s Mask Collage – During his daily press conference yesterday, New York governor Andrew Cuomo unveiled what he called a “self-portrait of America,” a collage of hundreds of face masks that were mailed to New York from citizens in other states. But amid a shortage of personal protective equipment, some viewers were left wondering why the masks were used for a photo op and not distributed to people who need them. (Observer)

A Museum Is Opening… Underwater – A Museum of Underwater Art in Queensland, Australia, was slated to open this month after installation was completed in December, but the opening (like all others) has now been postponed. The project installed 60 feet under the sea hopes to draw tourism to the area as well as become a habitat for marine life amid the environmental decimation of coral reefs. Bonus: it’s probably not too difficult to remain six feet apart with all that scuba diving gear. (NBC

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