Art Industry News: Guggenheim Curators Push for a Union as Organized Labor Continues to Gain Ground in Museums + Other Stories

Plus, Germany grants traveling artists a quarantine exemption, and Anish Kapoor is taking over a Venetian palace.

The Guggenheim Museum with the logo for the IUOE Local 30.

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 Monday, August 2.


Germany Grants Quarantine Exemption to Artists – Germany’s cultural council has just made it easier for artists to enter the country under new travel rules. Artists traveling from high-risk areas will be granted an exemption from quarantine even if they are not fully vaccinated. “International exchange is essential for cultural life,” the council’s executive director, Olaf Zimmermann, said as he welcomed the new rules which came into effect on Sunday. (Monopol)

Opposition Mounts Against France and Italy’s Vaccine Pass – Some 80,000 protesters in Italy and thousands more in France demonstrated over the weekend against both countries’ requirement to present vaccination cards in order to take part in public social activities such as visiting museums, dining indoors, or going to sporting events. The French “health pass,” which comes into effect August 9, and Italy’s “green pass” on August 6, seem to have already encouraged vaccination uptake, with a 200 percent increase reported in some Italian regions. Still, opponents argue that the pass requirements violate civil liberties and could foster further inequality in society. (Evening Standard)

Curators at the Guggenheim Push to Unionize – Curators, conservators, and other employees at the Guggenheim are voting to join a local section of the United Auto Workers union. It will be the second union formed at the musuem in just over two years, following the organization of the museum’s engineering, preparation, and fabrication staff. The museum said it has received the petition to form a new union and added it “recognizes the right” of its staff to enter collective bargaining. (NYT)

Controversial San Francisco School Murals Will Stay on View – A California judge has ruled that a local high school cannot remove Depression-era frescoes depicting the life of George Washington without an environmental review first The landmark ruling has implications for other murals that also include racist depictions of enslaved people. (SF Chronicle)


The Hollywood and Highland Elephants Are Coming Down – The two famous white fiberglass elephant sculptures at the Hollywood and Highland shopping center are being removed along with other “faux Mesopotamian elements” that were remnants of D.W. Griffiths’s 1916 film Intolerance, a followup to his earlier film, The Birth of a Nation, which glorified the Ku Klux Klan. The sculptures are being removed as part of a $100 million makeover which the center’s chief creative officer, Chad Cress, said will move it away from the clichés of Hollywood. “The Hollywood of the future really needs to stand for something that is more inclusive of what our culture looks like today,” said Cress. (LA Times)

The Vessel Could Close After Another Suicide – The Vessel at Hudson Yards is closed again after a fourth person died by suicide at the structure. The owner of Hudson Yards, Stephen Ross, said the art installation may close permanently after a 14-year old boy fell to his death last Thursday, adding that he feels “terrible” for the family. (Daily Beast)

Anish Kapoor Is Taking Over a Derelict Venetian Palace – The artist Anish Kapoor has announced plans to convert an 18th-century Venetian Palazzo into a studio and exhibition space. Renovations have already started on the Palazzo Priuli Manfrin, which will show a collection of Kapoor’s work and host educational workshops for scholars and artists interested in developments in sculpture. (The Art Newspaper)

Wedding Planners Seeking Artists – Marrying couples are feeling the pressure to keep up with the growing trend for Instagram-worthy environments. More and more, they’re hiring artists to create conceptual centerpieces and immersive installations for their big days. One bride asked her wedding planners to recreate elements of Vincent Van Gogh paintings at her wedding, including sculptural starry night spirals, wheat and lavender pathways, and a courtyard of sunflowers. (NYT)


See JR’s Trompe L’Oeil Art in Italy – The French artist JR has covered another Italian palazzo in one of his signature trompe l’oeil façades. See the new work, titled Vanishing Point, on the Palazzo Farnese, the French embassy building in Rome, which opens up the palazzo’s inside. (Designboom)


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