Art Industry News: Notorious B.I.G.’s Crown Will Headline the World’s First Major Hip-Hop Auction + Other Stories

Plus, what to expect at the soon-to-reopen Metropolitan Museum of Art and LiveAuctioneers suffers a serious data breach.

The crown worn by Notorious B.I.G., now headed to Sotheby's. Photo: Sotheby's.

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 Wednesday, August 26.


Is a Glossy Monument the Best Way to Capture the Feminist Struggle? – As New York prepares to unveil the first monument to non-fictional women in Central Park, some are asking whether statues are an appropriate way to continue to honor significant moments in history in the first place. Critics of the Pioneers Monument, which depicts Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Sojourner Truth, worry that it obscures historical pain and continued injustice. While the Black activist Truth was belatedly added to the monument in response to criticism, some feel that the design sanitizes the racial tensions between the activists. (The Nation)

LiveAuctioneers Suffers Data Breach – Cyber attackers have accessed the data of some 3.4 million buyers and sellers using the online art, antiques, and collectibles platform LiveAuctioneers after a hack was carried out in July. The company’s cybersecurity team has confirmed that this data included personal information (names, email addresses, postal addresses, phone numbers, visit history, and encrypted passwords). While credit card details were not compromised, the site has advised users to change any matching passwords on other sites and to watch out for fraudulent transactions or phishing scams. (ARCA)

Biggie’s Crown Heads to Sotheby’s – Sotheby’s is selling the crown worn and signed by the rapper Notorious B.I.G. for a photo shoot three days before he was killed in Los Angeles in 1997. The crown, estimated at $200,000 to $300,000 and offered by the photographer Barron Claiborne, is part of what is, according to Sotheby’s, the first-ever dedicated hip-hop auction ever held by a major international auction house. The sale, scheduled for September 15, also includes an archive of 22 intimate love letters from a 16-year-old Tupac Shakur to his high school sweetheart Kathy Loy, estimated at $60,000 to $80,000. A portion of Sotheby’s proceeds will benefit the Queens Public Library Foundation. (Press release)

What to Expect at the Met’s Reopening – When the Met reopens to the public on Saturday after five months of closure, it will feel like a very different museum. Tickets will be timed, masks will be required, and temperatures will be checked. Capacity will be capped at 25 percent, and there will be valet bicycle parking for those avoiding public transport. Most significantly, the crowd—usually 70 percent tourists—will almost certainly be majority New Yorkers. “The Met plays a very important role within New York—it’s such a strong signal for getting back to a certain level of normalcy and getting back to life,” the Met’s director Max Hollein says. (New York Times)


London’s Cromwell Place Gallery Hub Will Open in October – London’s £20 million gallery hub in South Kensington, Cromwell Place, is slated to open on October 10. The building will include 14 gallery spaces, as well as a large exhibition hall that can be rented for six weeks at a time. Members signed up so far include Lehmann Maupin, Addis Fine Art, Alexander Gray Associates, Gallery Wendi Norris, Ingleby Gallery, and Lawrie Shabibi. (TAN)

2020 Frieze Artist Award Announced – Alberta Whittle, an emerging artist and filmmaker based between Scotland and South Africa, is the winner of this year’s Frieze Award. The Barbados-born artist will debut a newly commissioned work—a video that examines xenophobia, contagion fears, and moral panic—at Frieze’s online edition on October 8. (The Art Newspaper)


Artist Heinz Frank Dies at 81 – The Viennese artist who created madcap sculptures, objects, and furnishings out of found materials, rocks, masks, and other unorthodox media died on Sunday. Although he was a key figure in Vienna’s art scene from the 1960s, his work only began achieving wide recognition in recent years. Frank was represented by LambdaLambdaLambda. (ARTnews)

Artist Audrey Flack Gets Lifetime Achievement Award – Artist Audrey Flack, 89, was awarded a lifetime achievement award from the upcoming Hamptons Virtual Art Fair. The Hamptons-based painter and sculptor was a pioneer of photorealism. “The beautiful light of the Hamptons has inspired me for many years,” Flack said. “Artists like me work alone in their studios, so it’s good to be acknowledged.” Flack’s work will be presented at the fair, which takes place online from September 2–7, by Hollis Taggart Galleries. (Press release)


Meet the National Parks’ “Ranger of the Lost Art” – Doug Leen is a retired dentist based in Alaska who collects and reproduces National Park posters commissioned by the Works Progress Administration: a series of 14 posters created for 13 parks and monuments across the country in the 1930s and ’40s. For decades, Leen has hunted for the original W.P.A. posters—and he has even found some of them cut up and used as file dividers in National Park offices. (NYT)

Google Doodle Honors Sculptor Barbara Hepworth – The search engine tipped its hat to UK abstract sculptor Barbara Hepworth, a pioneer of “direct carving,” the technique of sculpting freehand without a mold. Tuesday’s Google doodle noted that on August 25, 1939, Hepworth arrived in the UK town of St. Ives to escape World War II and establish her studio. She lived there for the rest of her career. (Observer)

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