Art Industry News: Museums Commission 14 Artists to Create New Balcony Performances Since They Are So Popular in Europe + Other Stories

Plus, Pace CEO Marc Glimcher reveals how a diagnosis changed his view of the art world, and why TEFAF Maastricht opened despite the risks.

Musicians and singers in Germany try to make the emotional situation easier and to convey a feeling of togetherness. (Photo by Peter Endig/picture alliance via 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 Wednesday, April 8.


Marc Glimcher on How Coronavirus Changed His View of the Art World – The president of Pace Gallery opens up about his personal experience with coronavirus. He is now on the mend, but being confronted with his own mortality changed his view of how the art world and market can and should operate in a post-virus landscape. “Within a week, talking to collectors about buying work went from fruitless to tasteless,” Glimcher writes. In this brave new art world, unsustainable practices are drawn into question, including “the pricing, the over-promotion, the travel, the relentless catering to the lowest instincts of speculators, the ballooning overheads, the mutually-destructive competition, the engineered auction records, and the desperate search for capital to burn, just to prove that you can burn it.” (ARTnews)

Vogue Italia Printed a Blank Cover – Since photographers, art directors, stylists, and subjects can’t physically gather to stage a shoot in locked-down Italy (or anywhere else, for that matter), Vogue Italia decided to get conceptual for its latest issue. The cover of the magazine’s April edition is just a blank white page—a reference to the world’s current state of standstill due to COVID-19. “To speak of anything else—while people are dying, doctors and nurses are risking their lives and the world is changing forever—is not the DNA of Vogue Italia,” wrote editor-in-chief Emanuele Farneti. (The Cut)

Museums Commission Artists to Make “Balcony Art” – Inspired by the singing from balconies that has become a popular and uplifting sign of the power of art in Italy and elsewhere, a consortium of international museums has teamed up to commission 14 artists to create new works from their own balconies or at their windows about life in isolation. The project, first revealed in an op-ed by Manuel Borja-Villel, the director of the Reina Sofía, for Artnet News, is still under development, and the artists have yet to be announced. The participating institutions include the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw, the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven, and MHKA Museum of Contemporary Art in Antwerp. “It is important to remember that human beings cannot be separated from nature, the importance of joy, and the importance of care,” Borja-Villel says. (The Art NewspaperArtnet News)

Demolition Begins on LACMA – The demolition of LACMA to make way for its controversial $750 million redesign got underway on Monday despite the fact that much of Los Angeles is currently under lockdown. The first building to fall was the museum’s theater, a 1965 edifice designed by William L. Pereira, and interior demo has begun in the Hammer, Ahmanson, and Art of the Americas buildings. Museum director Michael Govan says the project is an “investment” in the city’s future post-virus, and that it will be “an engine of job creation and economic recovery.” (LA Times)


Phillips Announces a Series of Spring Online Sales – Phillips is hosting a series of cross-category online sales through April and May offering editions, works on paper, contemporary art, and design. The first editions sale launches today and will include works from 1970 to 2016, ranging from a unique work on paper by Mark di Suvero to photo-based works by Mickalene Thomas and Marilyn Minter. (Artfix Daily)

French Charity Auction Raises Questions About Government Action – After a Piasa charity auction raised €2.4 million for French healthcare workers between April 3 and 5, some have questioned the state’s meager €2 million emergency fund for the arts. “France is clearly not up to the task,” gallerist Georges-Philippe Valois says, comparing the modest bailout to Berlin’s hefty €500 million pot. (Le Journal des Arts)

Why TEFAF Opened Its 2020 Edition Amid Risk – The majority of TEFAF exhibitors urged the Maastricht fair to go ahead despite the early warning signs that coronavirus was headed for Europe, according to a new report. Just one French exhibitor pulled out ahead of time, and it was only after fairgoers began to contract the virus and the fair was forced to close four days early that exhibitors changed their tune on how it should have been handled. (Le Journal des Arts)


Artist and Writer Helène Aylon Has Died – The artist, whose work focused on the intersection of feminism, Judaism, pacifism, and environmental justice, died this week at age 89 from COVID-19. A pioneer of environmental art, Aylon had just begun to gain renewed art-world attention: Her first solo show in Los Angeles was held earlier this year at Marc Selwyn Fine Art and her first New York solo exhibition since 1979 was staged last year at Leslie Tonkonow gallery. (Artforum)

TACA Announces 2020 Grants – The Arts Community Alliance (TACA) in Dallas has awarded 46 grants to local visual arts organizations, including the Dallas Museum of Art, the Dallas Contemporary, and the Nasher Sculpture Center. An award also went to the Cedars Union in Dallas, a community workspace for artists that features private and shared studios. (Glasstire)


Albers Inspires a Soothing Display at London’s Children’s Hospital – Josef Albers thought that yellow was the color of healing and happiness. A ward for children in the UK now has yellow and orange geometric patterns inspired by the artist and his wife and partner Anni Albers. The new installation is part of a £10 million refurbishment of the St Mary’s Hospital in London, a collaboration between Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, Imperial Health Charity, and the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation. (The Art Newspaper)

Editors Review Crappy Reproductions at the Met(ropolis Museum) – The editors of ArtAsiaPacific were not impressed by the new Metropolis Museum in Hong Kong, a private exhibition space dedicated to copies, which debuted with Monet reproductions in plastic gold-colored frames. “Metropolis Museum is not a repository of valuable cultural objects—and definitely not to be confused with New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art—but a rented office space with drab industrial carpeting, temporary walls on wheels,” writes one editor. “Many of the replicas are truly awful—born of internet .jpgs and the chromatic incapacities of cheap acrylic paint.” (ArtAsiaPacific)

Jeremy Deller Releases (and Sells Out) a Fundraising Poster – The British artist has teamed up with graphic designer Fraser Muggeridge to create Thank God for Immigrants, an A2 print meant to be displayed in windows to show gratitude for frontline workers, many of whom likely come from immigrant backgrounds. The proceeds from the £25 prints—which sold out within a day—will go to a UK food bank and refugee organization. “This situation is going to reconfigure how we view immigration but also class and status and wealth and your value in society—all these things have totally inverted our value system,” Deller says. (TAN)


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