Art Industry News: Confederate Statues Removed Overnight in Baltimore + More Must-Read Stories

Plus, Ragnar Kjartansson creates a new work for the Bergen Airport and documents reveal that Tate got a discount on Switch House.

A New Orleans city worker wearing body armor and a face covering measures the Jefferson Davis monument on May 4, 2017 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/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, August 16.


An Artist-Designed Rat Welcomes Trump to New York – Thousands of protesters, including artist Jeffrey Beebe’s 15-foot inflatable Trumpy the Rat, gathered to greet the president on his first overnight visit home since taking office. The rat was commissioned by John Lee of the Chelsea gallery BravinLee programs. (Hyperallergic)

Tate Got a Discount on Switch House – After Tate Modern’s extension fell behind schedule and costs ran £45 million over budget (from £212 million in 2012 to £260 million in 2015), Herzog & de Meuron, the firm behind the project, was asked not to take its full fee for extra work. (The Art Newspaper)

More Confederate Statues Removed – Four statues dedicated to Confederate leaders were removed across Baltimore, Maryland, last night and transported out of town by a squad of police cars. The violence over a Robert E. Lee statue in Charlottesville has accelerated plans to remove the remaining Old South imagery from public spaces across the country. (NYT)

Museums in Talks to Return Benin Bronzes to Africa – The British Museum and other European institutions will negotiate the return of bronzes looted from the Benin kingdom in 1897 with Nigerian and Benin authorities at an upcoming summit. The participants hope to establish a permanent display in Benin City, Nigeria, showing items from Western institutions on rotation. (Guardian)


Harriet Beecher Stowe’s House for Sale Online – The house where the American abolitionist and author was born, which is now sitting disassembled in storage lockers in Massachusetts and Connecticut, has been listed on eBay by the antiques dealer Art Pappas for $400,000. (NYT)

Barcelona Readies for Gallery Weekend – Twenty-four galleries are participating in the third edition of Barcelona’s Gallery Weekend (September 28–October 1). The event will also present artistic interventions across the city and an exhibition exploring the private collections of local gallerists. (Press release)

Are Millennials Ruining the Antique Furniture Market? – Sales of traditional English and American furniture are down between 50 and 75 percent, according to an expert. Are millennials to blame? “The younger generation, for the most part, is not very interested in formal candlelight suppers,” says one dealer. (Marketplace)


Nassau County Art Museum Names New Director – Charles A. Riley II, an accomplished journalist and the author of a whopping 32 art books, takes the reins at the Long Island institution. (Long Island Weekly)

Block Museum Gets $1 Million Gift – The donation by Lisa and Steven Tannenbaum will endow a permanent position for a curator of Modern and contemporary art at the Block Museum of Art at Northwestern University. (Chicago Tribune)

South African documenta 14 Artist Dies – Tshiamo Naledi Letlhogonolo Pinky Mayeng, the youngest member of the female South African artist collective iQhiya, has died at age 24. Her performance work with the collective was shown at documenta 14 in Athens and Kassel, and centered on the idea of a “hidden Curriculum.” (documenta 14)


Big Ben to Fall Silent During Renovation The iconic Westminster bell will go quiet for four years while the clock undergoes restoration—the longest period of silence since it first chimed in 1859. Big Ben will sound its aubade on August 21, although plans are in the works to have it sound specially on important occasions, such as Remembrance Sunday. (Smithsonian Magazine)

Archaeologists Unearth Ancient Egyptian Tomb – Three ancient tombs containing sarcophagi dating back about 2,000 years have been found in a cemetery in the Minya province, south of Cairo. (Daily Mail)

Martha Rosler on Her Airport Photographs – Artist Martha Rosler speaks to Anne Doran about the evolution of her ongoing series of airport images, “In the Place of the Public: The Airport Series” (1983–present), which explores the airport as a postmodern space. (ARTnews)

See Ragnar Kjartansson’s Work at the Bergen Airport – In other airport art news, the Icelandic artist won the commission for the Bergen Airport in Norway with his work, This Must Be the Place. The 2.5-ton yellow sign has been installed on the hillside overlooking the new terminal. See it below.

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