Art Industry News: Italian Far-Right Wants to Turn a Fascist HQ Into a Museum + More Must-Read Stories

Plus, the Met is relocating about 700 paintings and China voices objections to a planned auction of Summer Palace loot.

Matteo Salvini, leader of Italy's far-right Lega party, poses in the courtyard of the Palazzo delle Stelline after a press conference following a meeting with newly elected League's parliamentarians, on March 9, 2018 in Milan. Photo credit: MARCO BERTORELLO/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 Wednesday, April 4.


Met Will Show Old Masters in a New Light – New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art is temporarily relocating Old Masters by the likes of Giotto, Rembrandt, and Vermeer so that it can replace the skylights in its oldest galleries. New skylights spanning 30,000 square feet will be installed in a $150 million overhaul, which will take place in two phases to avoid fully closing the affected galleries. (New York Times)

Artists Create a Dystopian Museum of Banned Objects – This month, New York’s Ace Hotel is playing host to a “Museum of Banned Objects,” conceived by Planned Parenthood and artists Ellie Sachs and Matt Starr. The exhibition presents eight contraceptives, including condoms and the pill, accompanied with faux wall texts referencing their past uses that force viewers to think about the dangers of a rollback in reproductive rights. (Guardian)

Italian Right-Wing Party Wants to Open Art Museum – Italy’s Lega party plans to transform a former Fascist party headquarters—Palazzo Terragni in the city of Como—into a Modern art museum. The manifesto of the leading right-wing party stresses “cultural heritage and Italian identity,” and its leader has praised Mussolini in the past. Lega may soon form a coalition government as no one party took the majority in the country’s recent elections. (The Art Newspaper)

Workers Protest at Barcelona’s Museums – Museum across Barcelona were picketed by union workers in an ongoing dispute over compulsory overtime and the right to strike by gallery attendants. Institutions affected by the disruption included the Picasso Museum, Fundació Antoni Tàpies, and MACBA, the city’s museum of contemporary art. (El País)


Hauser & Wirth Joins Masterpiece Fair – The mega-gallery signed up for the London fair after Art Basel’s parent group, MCH, bought a stake in the event in December. The gallery hasn’t revealed what it will show at the end of June but the many eras and disciplines shown at the fair might prompt an out-of-the-box presentation akin to its fake bronze museum at Frieze London last year. (TAN)

Volta Is Moving Across Basel – The 15th edition of the fair is moving from Basel’s city center to a former supermarket warehouse near the Novartis campus, not far from the airport. The space in the former COOP distribution center measures around 30,000 square feet and will host around 75 international galleries in June. (Artforum)

China Objects to Auction of Summer Palace Loot A vase looted from Beijing’s Summer Palace in 1860 is due to be sold next week at Canterbury Auction Galleries in Kent, England, despite objections from China. Chinese state heritage collectors called the piece an “illegally-discharged cultural relic.” It carries an estimate of $170,000 to $280,000. (Telegraph)

Sotheby’s Nets $466 Million in Hong Kong Sales The auction house made its second highest ever total for an auction series in Asia when it closed its spring sales in Hong Kong at $466.5 million, with $164 million coming from Modern and contemporary sales. The total fell toward the high end of the total presale estimate, $353 million to $495 million. (Press release)


Art21 to Publish Anniversary Book – The New York-based art documentary nonprofit is publishing Being an Artist, featuring interviews with 35 artists, including Kerry James Marshall, Bruce Nauman, and Catherine Opie. At its first gala on May 1, Art21’s late founding director, Susan Sollins, will be honored alongside the artist Julie Mehretu; Pedro Reyes will design a birthday cake. (ARTnews)

Belgian Photographer Wins Zeiss Award – The Belgian photographer Nick Hannes has won the Zeiss Photography Award for his images of Dubai. He wins $14,000 worth of Zeiss lenses and $3,600 towards his next project. His award-winning series, “Garden of Delight,” documents extreme consumerism in the Emirate. (Press release)

Tate and Sydney Museum Make Joint Acquisitions – The Tate and Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art have jointly purchased works by five contemporary Australian artists. This marks the third round of acquisitions funded by the airline Qantas, which donated $1.9 million through its foundation. The two museums now co-own a total of eight works. (Art Asia Pacific)

MCA Chicago Launches Ad Campaign – The Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago chose the slogan “Made You Look” for its first ad campaign in two decades. The campaign includes a 1979-themed pop-up event in a storefront this weekend as well as a series of six-second “high-impact” videos linked to its retrospective of the veteran African American artist Howardena Pindell. (Press release)​


Constable Painting Reclaimed by Heirs – The heirs of Anna Jaffé, whose collection was seized after her death in 1942, have reclaimed a landscape by John Constable from a Swiss museum after a 10-year legal battle. To date, the heirs have reclaimed 11 works from the 60-work-strong collection stolen from the Jewish family in France during World War II. (ARTnews)

The Sound and Smell of Martin Luther King Jr’s Death – The jazz musician Melvin Gibbs is staging a multi-sensory performance tonight at Gavin Brown’s enterprise in Harlem to remember the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. It is due to start this evening at the exact time King was shot in Memphis 50 years ago and includes the smell of blood, the cigarette he was smoking, and the cologne he wore. (TAN)

Street Artists Paint Tributes to Stephen Hawking – Two graffiti artists in Cambridge have painted colorful tributes to the theoretical physicist shortly after his funeral in the university city. Kyle Warwick and Tim Shuker-Yates included references to black holes and a silhouette of the late professor in his wheelchair in their murals on a bridge. (BBC)​



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