Art Industry News: Churchgoing Klutz Accidentally Smashes Jeff Koons’s Gazing Ball + More Must-Read Stories

Plus, Helen Molesworth will deliver the commencement speech at UCLA's art school and Tracey Emin recounts her own experience with harassment.

Jeff Koons's Gazing Ball (Perugino Madonna and Child with Four Saints) (2014–15) at De Nieuwe Kerk Amsterdam. © Jeff Koons. Photo Janiek Dam.

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 Monday, April 9.


Ethiopia Encourages UK Museums to Loan Looted Treasure – The Ethiopian ambassador to London is calling on UK collections with looted treasures from Maqdala, including the British Museum and the British Library, “to follow the trail being blazed by the V&A.” Last week, the V&A’s director volunteered to return the artifacts in its collection to Ethiopia on long-term loan. The British Museum says no formal requests have been made yet. (The Art Newspaper)

Helen Molesworth Will Break Her Silence at UCLA – The recently dismissed chief curator of MOCA, Los Angeles, will give the keynote commencement speech for UCLA’s School of the Arts and Architecture in June. The school’s dean said Molesworth exemplifies the values that artists need to survive in an uncertain future: “You must be brave, you must be bold, and you must strive for excellence.” (LA Times)

Visitor Smashes Koons’s Gazing Ball in Amsterdam – On the final day of Jeff Koons’s one-work exhibition at Nieuwe Kerk, a 15th-century church in Amsterdam, a curious visitor touched the blue glass ball attached to the painting, a replica of a 16th-century altarpiece by Italian artist Pietro Perugino. The glass promptly shattered to pieces. (Frankfurter Allgemeine)

Tracey Emin Recalls Assault by Female Artist – Asked in an interview with collector Kenny Goss whether she had ever been sexually harassed, Emin said that an unnamed, older female artist once slammed her against a wall and groped her. In response, Emin says she threatened “to punch her lights out.” She added: “Everybody said you can’t do that because she was a famous artist, I was much younger and said, ‘Yeah, I can—she can’t touch me like that.’” (The Sun)


Warhol’s Most Wanted Man Heads to Christie’s – Warhol’s painting of an armed robber is heading to Christie’s on May 17 with a $30 million estimate. Most Wanted Men, No. 11, John Joseph H., Jr. (1964) is based on the controversial murals of police mug shots the artist created for the World’s Fair that year. They were censored before the exhibition even opened. (ArtDaily)

Blum & Poe to Represent Solange Pessoa – The Brazilian artist Solange Pessoa is now represented by the Los Angeles gallery. Her first exhibition at the gallery was held in the fall of 2017. Her paintings, sculpture, films, and installations favor organic materials and forms “mined from primal realms of the psyche.” (Art Daily)

Caribbean Art Fair Will Return to Puerto Rico – Mercado Caribeño, or Meca for short, is returning to San Juan in November with 35 exhibitors. The inaugural edition of the Caribbean art fair took place last June before Hurricane Maria. Broad MSU curator Carla Acevedo-Yates is organizing this year’s projects sector. (TAN)

Lawsuit Claims Five Percent Cut of Picasso Sale – A Florida-based company is suing for a five percent cut of the $23 million sale price of Picasso’s Maya With the Boat (1938), which sold out of Sotheby’s recent “Face-Off” exhibition in Hong Kong. Kravit Estate Holdings believes it is owed $1.15 million for introducing the seller, Lawrence Saidenberg, to the auction house. (Courthouse News)


Kehinde Wiley Goes Hollywood – The Brooklyn-based painter, who recently unveiled Barack Obama’s official portrait, has signed with the production company and management firm Brillstein Entertainment Partners. The Hollywood agency will license Wiley paintings for the screen as well as seek “directing opportunities.” (TAN)

LA Gallerist and Artist Co-Share in Georgia – A new collaborative venture by gallerist Tif Sigfrids and painter Ridley Howard is coming to Athens, Georgia. The old friends will run distinct programs—featuring both international and local names—under one roof. The galleries are due to open on June 14. (Burnaway)

A Blade of Grass Announces Fellows for 2018 – The Brooklyn-based nonprofit A Blade of Grass has awarded $20,000 in funds to each of its eight fellows for 2018. The foundation selects artists who are making socially engaged art. This year’s awardees include Rachel G. Barnard and Jordan Weber. (Artforum)


Kusuma’s Biggest Show Ever Lands in Her Hometown – The veteran artist is taking over the exhibition spaces, lobby, outer walls, garden and even the restrooms of her hometown’s art museum in the biggest ever show of her art. Some 180 works are on view in the exhibition “Yayoi Kusama: All About My Love” at the Matsumoto City Museum of Art in Japan until July 22. (Asahi Shimbun)

Fifty Ancient Nasca Lines Discovered in Peru – With the help of drones, Peruvian archaeologists have found more than 50 previously unrecorded geoglyphs, thousand-year-old etchings that may have been connected to ancient rituals in the Nasca and Palpa provinces. The newly discovered lines, many of which depict warriors, are now being documented to protect them from urban or rural encroachment. (National Geographic)

Yoko Ono’s Pebble Stolen in Canada – A rock adorned with the text “Love Yourself” has been lifted from an interactive Yoko Ono installation at the Gardiner Museum in Toronto. Visitors were allowed to briefly hold the stones—but one woman held on a bit too long. She was captured on CCTV walking away with the work, which is worth around $17,500. (Artlyst)

See This Artist-Made Cardboard Hotel – As part of a pop art project called Dosshouse, the artists Zoey Taylor and David Connelly have created a hotel entirely out of cardboard. You can visit the 2,000-square-foot black, white, and gray painted “Paper-Thin Hotel” in Boyle Heights, Los Angeles, until May 5. (LA Magazine)

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