Art Industry News: The Louvre Has Reunited Emperor Constantine’s Long-Lost Giant Finger With the Rest of His Body + Other Stories

Plus, François Ghebaly Gallery expands to New York and influential Bay Area artist William T. Wiley dies at 83.

The hand of the colossus of Constantine from the Capitoline Museums and the bronze finger from the Louvre reunited. Photo by Zeno Colantoni, ©Musei Capitolini.

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 30.


Amsterdam’s Hermitage Is at Risk of Closing – The Hermitage Amsterdam has been devastated by lockdown measures and may not survive the fallout. It has already laid off 25 percent of its full-time staff and has now reached the bottom of its reserves. The private museum is hoping to raise €1 million in donations by May 1 through an impromptu crowdfunding campaign. (Hyperallergic)

“Disaster Girl” Sells Her Meme for $500,000 – A photo taken of then-four-year-old Zoe Roth in 2005, standing in front of a burning house and smiling slightly at the camera, became a wildly popular meme known as “Disaster Girl.” Now a 21-year-old college student, Roth decided to take control of her image by selling it as an NFT. It fetched almost $500,000. (Her family retains the copyright and will receive 10 percent of future sales.) She plans to use the money to pay off her student loans and donate to charity. (New York Times)

Roman Emperor Statue Reunited With Lost Finger – A massive ancient bronze finger found in the Louvre’s collection in 2018 has finally been reunited with its hand in the form of a huge sculpture of Constantine the Great in Rome’s Capitoline Museums. The finger had gone unnoticed for years as it had been mislabeled as a toe. (Guardian, Capitoline Museums)

Düsseldorf Returns Franc Marc Painting to Jewish Heirs – A Franz Marc painting will be restituted to the heirs of Jewish businessman and banker Kurt Grawi. The German city decided to restitute the 1913 painting Die Füchse (Foxes), which Grawi had sold when he became penniless after fleeing Germany. It has been in the city’s art collection since 1962. (ARTnews)


François Ghebaly Expands to New York – Los Angeles gallery François Ghebaly will open a new space in New York City, its first expansion beyond L.A. since its founding in 2009. The debut exhibition will be a group show called “The Future in Present Tense,” opening May 7. (Twitter)

David Hammons Show Comes to New York Gallery – Any major David Hammons exhibition feels like an event, and Nahmad Contemporary’s presentation of two rarely shown bodies of work by the artist is no exception. The show, opening this weekend, presents works from Hammons’s “Basketball” series (1995–2012) and “Kool-Aid” series (2003–12). (ARTnews)


Bay Area Artist William T. Wiley Dies – The influential Funk artist, best known for his wry watercolors, has died at age 83 after suffering from Parkinson’s Disease. He served as a mentor for many, including Bruce Nauman, who was his student at the University of California. (ARTnews)

Peter Eleey Joins UCCA – The former chief curator of MoMA PS1 in in New York has taken a job at the UCCA Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing as curator-at-large. He will help steer exhibitions and programming as the institution prepares to expand to Shanghai. (ARTnews)

The Academy Art Museum Hires a New Director – The institution in Easton, Maryland, has hired a new director in Sarah Jesse, most recently deputy director as well as interim director and CEO of the Orange County Museum of Art. (Press release)


Vandals Strike Another Ancient Petroglyph in Utah – Authorities in Utah are searching for a group of vandals who defaced an ancient petroglyph panel in Moab with the words “white power” and other obscenities. The Bureau of Land Management is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the culprits. (The Art Newspaper)

Castello di Rivoli Museum Opens Vaccination Center – A mural by artist Claudia Comte and a soothing soundtrack offer a backdrop for a temporary vaccine center at the Castello di Rivoli in Italy. People who get their vaccines there can visit the rest of the museum, which reopens to the general public on May 6, for free. (Press release)

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