Art Industry News: Turner Prize Winners Slam Tate Leadership and Declare Support for Striking Workers + Other Stories

Plus, galleries and art fairs can officially apply for the UK's arts rescue package and Helsinki looks to turn a coal plant into an arts hub.

A worker clearing the steps at Tate Britain in London. Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/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 on this Thursday, August 20.


Helsinki Looks to Turn Power Plant Into Arts Hub – The Finnish capital has proposed an ambitious plan to transform a coal plant in its port area into an arts institution akin to Tate Modern. The proposal, outlined in the city’s newly published 10-year cultural plan, involves converting the decommissioned plant into a center for culture, technology, and sustainable development. Also under discussion is a new Architecture and Design Museum. (The Art Newspaper)

Ross Bleckner Settles Sexual Harassment Lawsuit With Former Assistant – The artist Ross Bleckner has settled a sexual harassment lawsuit brought against him by his former assistant Cody Gilman. The settlement, made for an undisclosed amount, brings a conclusion to an ugly dispute involving allegations of sexual harassment and extortion that began in 2018. According to Gilman, Bleckner sexually harassed him while he was working in his studio. According to Bleckner, their relationship was consensual and Gilman was using the sexual harassment claims to extort him for $2 million. (ARTnews)

Turner Prize Recipients Unite in Support of Striking Workers – The 10 recipients of this year’s Turner Prize bursaries have issued an open letter in support of the 313 workers at Tate Enterprises, the museum’s commercial arm, who were laid off last week. The artists, who each received a £10,000 prize in lieu of this year’s Turner Prize, say the cuts contradict “Tate’s commitment to ‘champion the richness of art for everyone.'” They echo the union’s demand that there should be no layoffs “while anyone at Tate is paid more than £100,000.” Tate Enterprise workers went on strike earlier this week. (TAN)

Alison Jacques Calls on the Art World to Erase Rebeccah Blum’s Killer – The London gallerist has condemned dealers who continue to promote and sell the work of the deceased artist who last month murdered the curator Rebeccah Blum before dying by suicide himself. Jacques says she will “remove all trace” of Blum’s killer, whom her gallery represented since 2012, and has called on others to follow her lead. “It is not OK to continue to promote, publicly archive, or exhibit the work of a perpetrator of domestic violence and murderer, no matter how big the foundation or museum concerned is and no matter how long a gallery worked with him and thought they knew him,” Jacques says. (TAN)


June Art Fair Opens on Hauser & Wirth’s Online Platform – The second edition of the indie June Art Fair opens today and runs through August 31. While it normally runs alongside Art Basel in Switzerland, this year the fair is being hosted online by Hauser & Wirth. Highlights of the 17 participating galleries include François Ghebaly, which is offering a solo presentation of work by Mozambique-born painter Cassi Namoda. (Press release)

Galleries and Art Fairs Can Apply for the UK’s Rescue Package – The deadline to apply for the first round of the UK’s £1.57 billion emergency arts bailout is tomorrow, but many commercial galleries and art fairs were not aware until this week that they were eligible to apply for funding. While the government will prioritize “organizations of local, regional, and national importance,” businesses that can show they were financially stable before the pandemic but are now at “imminent risk of failure” can also apply. The second round of funding, in which some 25 percent of the package will be allocated, is open through September 4. (TAN)


Artist Ron Gorchov Dies at 90 – The New York artist who gained a cult following for his curved canvases that jut out from the wall died on August 18 at age 90. The artist maintained a career-long commitment to abstraction even as the form went in and out of style. (ARTnews)

More New York Museums Confirm Reopening Dates – The Brooklyn Museum and El Museo del Barrio will both on September 12 after six months of lockdown. The Brooklyn Museum has a weekend of festivities planned that will mostly take place outdoors. (New York Times

National Academy of Design Appoints New Executive Director – Gregory Wessner will begin his role as the executive director of the National Academy of Design on September 8, succeeding Mary Fisher, who served in an interim role from 2018. Wessner most recently worked as executive director of the nonprofit Open House New York. (Press release)


Can You ID the Art in Steven Mnuchin’s House? – The US Treasury Secretary and son of art dealer Robert Mnuchin has listed his palatial New York apartment for sale. (Asking price: $25.75 million.) Here’s a fun game to play with your friends: can you identify the art on the walls? We spot a Ross Bleckner and, maybe, a Lisa Yuskavage. (New York Post)

The Houseparty App Commissions Artists to Create Backgrounds – The app that captured a socially-deprived art world in the early weeks of lockdown has tapped artists to offer fun, curated backgrounds. The first contributor to the new series, called [Frames], is Brazilian artist Leandro Assis. (Press release)

Leandro Assis Wallpaper. Courtesy Houseparty App.

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