Art Industry News: Is Bernie Sanders the Best US Presidential Candidate for the Arts? + Other Stories

Plus, Beijing continues to clear out artist studios across the city and the Queen is upset by some graffiti near Windsor Castle.

Presidential candidate and US Senator Bernie Sanders attends an "Artists for Bernie Sanders" exhibition in 2016. Photo by Mireya Acierto/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 Tuesday, August 27.


Not All the Photos of the Burning Amazon Were Real – It turns out some of the images widely shared on social media of devastating forest fires in the Amazon were, in fact, historic shots—a testament to just how much images can be decontextualized online. The one tweeted by the French President Emmanuel Macron, which Leonardo DiCaprio also shared with his millions of followers, was, in fact, taken by the American photojournalist Loren McIntyre, who died in 2003. Brazil’s far-right president Jair Bolsonaro needed no excuse to shrug off the global outrage, saying: “There always was and always will be burnings.” Meanwhile, NASA has released satellite images of the more than 75,000 fires that have erupted since the start of the year, an 83 percent increase on last year and the highest since the body began recording fires in 2013. (Hyperallergic)

Clearance of Beijing Artists’ Studios Continue – A curator and former Pace Beijing director writes that the eviction of artists from their homes and studios in Beijing is more widespread than has been reported. Jia Lie, who is now a senior curator at the nonprofit Taikang Space, says that the relationship between between “art, the city, and the unchecked power of the state has become increasingly untenable.” One space, however—the artist-led Arrow Factory—has managed to dodge the urban planning purge for the time being. The institution used to show site-specific works in its storefront, but when officials ordered the windows to be blocked up in a crackdown on roadside shops, Arrow Factory cannily turned its window display into a peephole. (Artforum) 

Could Bernie Sanders Be the Best Presidential Candidate for the Arts? – When US presidential candidate Bernie Sanders was mayor of Burlington in the 1980s, he used public funds to support artists and arts groups. Within a decade, the Vermont city was deemed “one of the most livable cities for the arts.” As Sanders now vies for a much bigger job, Jacobin magazine wants him to back his 2016 promise to be the “arts president” with concrete policy proposals. “Imagine if every county in the US had an arts council as robust as Burlington’s” writes Alanna Schubach. The result, she says, could be a 21st-century version of the New Deal for writers and artists. (Jacobin)

Vija Celmins Gets the New Yorker Treatment – Calvin Tomkins profiles the artist Vija Celmins ahead of the opening of the final stop of her traveling retrospective at the Met Breuer in New York on September 24. The artist—who is perhaps the most famous contemporary artist within the art world who is virtually unknown outside of it—has vigorously resisted self-promotion. (She once told a collector a work he recently bought was “the worst thing I’ve ever done.”) But as she enters her 80s, her attitude may be changing. “I’ve been opening up a little, letting my hand show more,” she said. “My hand isn’t quite as steady, my mind is not as steady, my eyes are not as steady. I’m allowing things to happen, hopefully.” (New Yorker)


Major Sotheby’s Shareholder Supports Drahi’s Acquisition – A prominent shareholder advisory firm, Institutional Shareholder Services Inc., has come out in support of Patrick Drahi’s $2.7 billion takeover of Sotheby’s. The firm argued that the bid offers a sizable premium for shareholders and that no other suitable offers have emerged since the deal was first announced in June. (Bloomberg)

Actress Olivia de Havilland’s Ensembles Head to Auction – Twenty-seven outfits worn by the Hollywood star are going on sale in an online auction at Hindman on September 17. The sale includes haute couture gowns by Christian Dior that the now 103-year-old actress wore to movie premieres and events between 1954 and 1989. (Reuters)

Post-KAWS, Perrotin Adds Four Artists – Emmanuel Perrotin has added four new artists—Emily Mae Smith, Genesis Belanger, Claire Tabouret, and Gabriel de la Mora—to his roster. The new artists are likely welcome editions after the departure of market superstar KAWS. Notably, the additions increase by almost 50 percent the number of women on Perrotin’s roster of around 50 artists. (The Art Newspaper)

Hong Kong Galleries Nervously Watch Protests – Pace Gallery CEO Marc Glimcher is one of the few major gallerists to speak on the record about the impact of the ongoing pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong. Most are wary of sabotaging their business in mainland China. “The idea of Hong Kong regressing fully into the system of the mainland is a really sad thought,” Glimcher says. He and gallerist Pearl Lam note that few in Hong Kong are currently in the mood to buy art. (ARTnews)


Australian Center for Contemporary Art Gets New Leadership – The Melbourne institution has appointed Claire Richardson as its new executive director. Richardson is due to take up the post in October, which has been vacant since Linda Mickleborough left in April. (Artforum)

Getty Research Institute Acquires Gemini G.E.L. Archive – Ellsworth Kelly’s husband Jack Shear purchased and subsequently donated the photography archive assembled by the 95-year-old Gemini G.E.L. cofounder Sidney B. Felsen to the Getty. The archive documents the 50-year history of the storied artist’s workshop and fine art lithography publisher, which worked with artists including Robert Rauschenberg, Roy Lichtenstein, and Jasper Johns. (Los Angeles Times)

Director of Chicago’s Renaissance Society Steps Down – Solveig Øvstebø is leaving the University of Chicago’s Renaissance Society in February to return to her native Norway. She has served as executive director and chief curator of the museum since 2013 and has organized exhibitions of work by artists including Paul McCarthy and Jennifer Packer. (ARTnews)

Isabel Toledo, Artist and Fashion Designer, Has Died – The designer best known for dressing Michelle Obama for the 2009 presidential inauguration has died at age 59 from breast cancer. Toledo was a cult figure within the fashion industry, and she also created work that blurred the lines between fashion, design, and fine art. Her work was shown at the FIT Museum and, most recently, in a collaborative exhibition with her husband, artist Ruben Toledo, at the Detroit Institute of Arts. (ARTnews)


The Barnes Steps Up Its VR Game – What would the notoriously cantankerous Albert Barnes have thought of VR? We will never know, but his foundation is now pursuing the medium with new funding from the Philadelphia-based Barra Foundation. The project will bring VR headsets programmed with a virtual tour of the foundation’s art galleries to 62 sites in Philadelphia, including public parks, libraries, and recreation centers. (ARTnews)

Center Pompidou Begins Yearlong Revamp – A refurbishment of the Pompidou Center in Paris kicked off yesterday. While construction is underway to replace the escalators, the Georges Pompidou square will be closed and the entrance to the museum will be moved to the other side of the museum. The Pompidou also plans to introduce timed tickets to manage the flow of visitors during the renovation. (CNews)

Female Modernist Bumps Monet as São Paulo’s Most Popular Show – A Tarsila do Amaral retrospective has surpassed a Claude Monet show as the most-visited exhibition ever at the Museum of Art São Paulo Assis Chateaubriand. The show dedicated to the Brazilian modernist painter drew 402,850 visitors between April 4 and July 28—around 1,500 more than Monet. (TAN)

Queen Upset by Street Artist Tagging Windsor Bridge – The Queen is reportedly upset after a graffiti artist tagged a viaduct bridge near Windsor Castle, and has asked her aides to clean it up. Street art photographer Steve Cotton captured the 60-foot tag by the artist HELCH, which locals say “blights” the view to the castle for people driving in from the Royal Windsor Way road. (Daily Mail)


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Helch in Windsor #helch #helchgraffiti #windsorcastle #windsor #graffiti #givehelchabreak #locationlocationlocation

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