Art Industry News: Jailed ISIS Fighters Are Now Receiving Art Therapy in Kurdish-Held Syria + Other Stories

Plus, the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s rock and roll show hits 500,000 visitors and Gerhard Richter will give art to a new Berlin museum.

Art therapy is finding increasing application in prisons around the world, as in the case of this prisoner at the Frankfurt am Main I Penitentiary in Frankfurt-Preungesheim. (Photo by Boris Roessler/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 this Friday, August 16.


Inside the Crisis in American Museums – On the heels of Warren Kanders’s departure from the Whitney Museum’s board, James Tarmy surveys the rapidly shifting American museum landscape as trustees continue to come under unprecedented scrutiny for the source of their wealth. One big problem: young people aren’t as interested in giving to museums, opting instead to put their money into environmental or political causes. That leaves an aging donor base, many of whom have—simply by the very nature of capitalism—accrued their wealth in unsavory ways. The Met’s president Daniel Weiss insists that if the donor made his or her money legally, “we’re satisfied.” But he sounds braced for increased scrutiny. “It may well be that in the coming years there will be pressure to do things differently, and we’ll be open to that discussion,” he added. (Bloomberg)

Richter Wants to Send Works of Art to Berlin – The German artist Gerhard Richter, who appears to be ensconced in legacy planning, says he is willing to give some of his artworks to a planned art museum in Berlin. The German minister of culture Monika Grütters says she his honored by the famous German artist’s generous offering. Though Richter and Grütters are currently in conversation, it is not yet clear how many works will be sent to the new museum, which is set to open sometime after 2020. Recently, Richter made headlines for confirming that he would not be condoning a museum dedicated to his legacy in his hometown of Cologne. (Monopol

Syrian Kurds Offer Art Therapy to ISIS Fighters – In Syrian Kurdish jails, Islamist fighters are offered the chance to make a new start through art and education instead of being abused or sentenced to death as they are in Iraq. A room in a prison in Qamishli in a Kurdish-held region of northern Syria is full of papier-mâché models made by the mainly foreign fighters serving out their sentences. Khaled Barjas Ali, a senior judge in local terrorism court, hopes that this enlightened approach to rehabilitation will help break the cycle of revenge that has trapped the region in conflict for decades. (Washington Post)

Paris Honors the Resistance Hero Who Posed as an Art Dealer – Paris’s new Musée de la Libération has opened on the 75th anniversary of the capital’s liberation during World War II. The $22 million project honors members of the Resistance, in particular Jean Moulin, who posed as an art dealer in Vichy France during the German occupation. On show are paintings from the art gallery he ran in Nice as a cover. He showed Modern masters, including Bonnard, Degas, and Matisse—all the while organizing the fight against the Nazis and their collaborators. Precious relics include a box of pastels he used as an amateur artist and the suitcase he carried when he returned to France from London for the last time in 1943, before his betrayal, torture, and eventual death. (Guardian)


What We Can Learn From the Last Recession – feared global economic slowdown could mean fewer flashy lots at the auctions, more private sales, and art dealers focusing on works that don’t have exorbitant shipping and installation costs. That’s okay news for painters, but bad news for sculptors who make large work (unless, maybe, you’re Jeff Koons—but let’s see). (Observer)

Meet Rising Star Maria Qamar – Richard Taittinger Gallery hopes that Maria Qamar’s first solo show in New York will attract a younger demographic to the gallery. It snapped up the 29-year-old Canadian-Pakistani artist after her Pop art paintings attracted more than 170,000 Instagram followers. Qamar, who became a full-time artist after getting laid off, started by posting doodles on social media. (New York Times)


Istanbul Biennial Finds a New Location  The Istanbul Biennial has relocated from Istanbul’s historic shipyard to the former warehouse Antrepo 5 on the city’s waterfront. The show had to scramble to find an alternative venue after toxic asbestos was discovered in the shipyard area. The show opens in less than a month, on September 14. The two other planned venues, the Pera Museum and Büyükada Island, will proceed as planned. (The Art Newspaper)

Exiled Palestinian Artist Is Buried in Jerusalem The renowned artist and thinker Kamal Boullata, who died last week, will be buried in Jerusalem some 50 years after he was exiled from Israel. He did not return to his home city after June 1967, when he was visiting Beirut, Lebanon for an exhibition as the Six-Day War erupted. After he died last week in Berlin, his family struggled to get a burial certificate from the Israeli authorities, but eventually succeeded. (Middle East Eye)

Blanton Museum Will Show a Major Gift of Charles White Works The University of Texas at Austin’s Blanton Museum of Art and the university’s Art Galleries at Black Studies are planning two exhibitions this fall to commemorate a major gift from Susan G. and Edmund W. Gordon of 23 drawings and prints by Charles White, as well as a rare large-scale painting by the American artist. The gift, shared by the Blanton and Black Studies, was originally donated in 2014. (Press release)

The Met’s Rock-and-Roll Show Is a Blockbuster  Since opening this April, the exhibition “Play It Loud: Instruments of Rock & Roll” has drawn half a million visitors. Of that number, nearly 12 percent (or 60,000) were newcomers to the Met. The show runs until October 1. (Press release)


Jeremy Deller’s Peterloo Memorial Upsets Wheelchair Users The Turner Prize winner has designed a public monument for the 200th anniversary of the Peterloo Massacre in Manchester, where forces stormed a crowd of demonstrators peacefully advocating for parliamentary reforms in 1819. Deller’s memorial consists of 11 concentric steps featuring the names of the 18 people who died that day. But the artist and the City of Manchester have received criticism—including from descendants of the victims themselves—because the memorial is not wheelchair accessible. (Guardian)

A Virtual Exhibition About documenta and the Bauhaus Goes Online  For the 100 year Jubilee of the German design school, a new online exhibition is exploring the connection between the quinquennial exhibition documenta and the Bauhaus. “How much Bauhaus is in the documenta? A search for traces” looks at how Bauhaus concepts are inscribed in documenta’s foundational ideas. (Monopol)

Blake Lively Gives Ryan Reynolds a Commissioned Painting – What do you get the celebrity who has everything? A commissioned painting of him as a child, of course! Blake Lively gifted her husband, actor Ryan Reynolds, a portrait of himself delivering newspapers, his first job. The canvas is the handiwork of Danny Galieote, who describes himself on his website as a “Pop American Realist” and whose work looks a lot like Norman Rockwell. Sharing the work on Instagram, Reynolds writes: “This piece of art is the greatest present my wife has ever given me…. If there’s ever a fire, I’m grabbing this first. I’ll come back for Blake.” (Architectural Digest)

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