Art Industry News: Land of the Rising Son? Sotheby’s Owner Patrick Drahi Hires His Own 26-Year-Old to Lead Sotheby’s Asia + Other Stories

Plus, Pace expands its presence in Seoul and the Church of England enters discussions to return two Benin Bronzes.

Auctioneer Ian McGinley at Sotheby's evening contemporary sale in Hong Kong. Image courtesy Sotheby's.

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 8.


Is Seoul the Next Art-Market Hot Spot? – Pace has announced it is doubling down on the South Korean capital, where it will double its footprint with a new two story, 8,500-square-foot gallery in June. (The gallery first opened a small space in the city in 2017.) The inaugural show will feature new bevelled-edged canvases by Sam Gilliam, marking the artist’s first outing in Asia. Seoul is an increasingly attractive alternative to Hong Kong for an Asian base: Frieze is also said to be in talks about opening a new edition there. (Financial Times)

Church of England Initiates Return of Benin Bronzes – The Church of England is “currently in discussions” about the return of two Benin Bronzes that were given as gifts to then Archbishop of Canterbury Robert Runcie nearly 40 years ago. A spokeswoman for Lambeth Palace said it was contacted by the Digital Benin project about its collection and has entered into conversation with the planned Edo Museum of West African Art about returning the objects for good. (Evening Standard)

Patrick Drahi’s Son Takes Over Sotheby’s Asia – Nathan Drahi, the 26-year-old son of Sotheby’s chief Patrick Drahi, has been appointed as managing director of Sotheby’s Asia following the retirement of chief executive Kevin Ching. The younger Drahi joined Sotheby’s soon after his father acquired the company in 2019 to work on strategic projects, and has experience in banking and private equity. (FT)

The Bayeux Tapestry May Be Too Fragile to Travel After All – A conservation report has revealed that the priceless Bayeux Tapestry might be too fragile to travel to the UK in 2022, as previously planned. Experts have recommended the tapestry only be moved for its restoration, which is slated for 2024. (Museums Journal)


Ross-Sutton Gallery Opens a New Show at a New Space – For her next act, curatorial dynamo Destinee Ross-Sutton is opening a new exhibition at 14 Wooster Street in SoHo. “A Friendly Exchange” will present the work of Lagos-based artists Adegboyega Adesina and Johnson Eziefula from April 10 through May 2. (Press release)

Artnet Auctions Sets a New Record – Artnet Auctions’ Premier Prints & Multiples sale set a new record for the highest-grossing sale in company history, exceeding $1.7 million in total sales with an average lot value of $38,000. The sale established new records for prints by Rashid Johnson, Barbara Kruger, David Hockney, Elizabeth Peyton, Robert Longo, and others. The top lot was Andy Warhol’s 10-screenprint set Campbell’s Soup II (1969), which fetched $456,000. (Press release)


Gene Youngblood Has Died – The media arts critic and teacher, best known for his influential 1970 book Expanded Cinema, died on April 6 in Santa Fe at age 78. The book was widely credited with reshaping the field of cinematic arts and predicting technological advances in filmmaking. (Artforum)

Public Art Fund Beefs Up Board of Directors – The organization has named Farah Al Qasimi, William Floyd, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Allison Russo, Karen Seymour, and Michael Sternberg to the board. The addition of individuals from fields including art, design, academia, and law will help further the nonprofit’s mission “at a moment when the importance of free and open access to art has never been more vital.” (Press release)


How a Show About Inequity in Art Became About the Museum Itself – The MCA Chicago organized an exhibition called “The Long Dream” in response to the conversations surrounding equity in the arts in 2020. But they got more than they bargained for when six artists and a collective ended up withdrawing from the show in response to the museum laying off workers in January. While the MCA was trying to signal a response to this fraught historical moment, the outcome demonstrates the extent to which the public now expects institutions to acknowledge their own complicity behind the scenes. (Chicago Tribune)

Mona Chalabi Designs Packaging for Sustainable Soaps – The artist and data journalist has teamed up with sustainable soap brand Blueland to create a limited-edition foaming hand soap. Chalabi made drawings of some of the world’s most at-risk wildlife for the brand’s reusable Forever Bottles. See some of her designs, which feature whales, bees, elephants, and more, below. (Blueland)

Mona Chalabi's designs for Blueland. Courtesy Blueland.

Mona Chalabi’s designs for Blueland. Courtesy Blueland.

Mona Chalabi's designs for Blueland. Courtesy Blueland.

Mona Chalabi’s designs for Blueland. Courtesy Blueland.

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