Art Industry News: Karen Pence Used Her RNC Pulpit to Argue for the Benefits of Art Therapy + Other Stories

Plus, Deana Lawson photographs Angela Davis for the cover of Vanity Fair's digital edition and Western galleries continue to expand to China.

Second lady Karen Pence addresses the virtual Republication National Convention on August 26, 2020. (Photo Courtesy of the Committee on Arrangements for the 2020 Republican National Committee 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 on this Thursday, August 27.


Is New York’s Arts Diversity Plan Working? Maybe – CreateNYC, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s initiative established in 2017 to bring more people of color onto museum boards and into leadership ranks, seems to have been only vaguely effective and is now being questioned. While some acknowledge the program is pioneering and unique, they feel that certain elements—like quantitative goals and the requirement that institutions report demographic statistics about their staff—could be improved. Most agree, however, that it was successful in increasing funding for small local arts groups in the city. (New York Times)

Meet the New Director of Berlin’s Jewish Museum – The prominent institution will reopen after a five-month closure due to both lockdown and a sweeping, years-long renovation of its permanent exhibition. Less than a year after the previous director, Peter Schäfer, stepped down amid a controversy over a tweet by the museum, his successor, Hetty Berg, began in April. She comes to the museum with extensive experience, having spent 30 years at the Jewish Historical Museum in Amsterdam, where she worked in nearly every department. (NYT)

Karen Pence Boosts Art Therapy at the Republican Convention – You’d be forgiven for expecting that art would not come up at the Republican National Convention (or at any political convention in America, for that matter). But last night, Second Lady Karen Pence—a longtime advocate of art therapy—spoke about the power of the practice to heal post-traumatic stress disorders, highlighting the story of a military veteran who benefited from working with an art therapist at Walter Reed Medical Center. We’ll spare you the lecture about how art therapy is especially effective in concert with guaranteed healthcare. (New York Post)

Ed Bereal Is the Most Important Activist-Artist You’ve Never Heard of – The 83-year-old artist, who was born in Los Angeles and now lives in Washington, describes himself as a “sociopolitical landscape painter.” Last year, Bereal, who is known for his controversial paintings and assemblages, was the subject of a major retrospective at the Whatcom Museum. When a local company invited him to create a Black Lives Matter mural, he said he would accept the gig only if he could go beyond the slogan. “‘Black Lives Matter’ has already been said. Can you go deeper than that?” Bereal asks. “I’m cursed with the demand that we all have to go further.” (Hyperallergic)


Tanya Bonakdar Now Represents Shilpa Gupta – The Mumbai-based artist, whose multidisciplinary work combines sound, research, light, and language, has joined the New York gallery. She will also be the subject of an upcoming solo exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Antwerp. (Press release)

Western Galleries Continue to Expand to Greater China – Undeterred by political tumult and the pandemic, Western dealers are launching new outposts in China. New York dealer Edward Ressle recently unveiled a new location in Shanghai with a show of works by Bruce Nauman, following in the footsteps of France’s Villepin and England’s Flowers Gallery, both of which opened in Hong Kong earlier this year. (The Art Newspaper)


Hollywood’s Black Lives Matter Mural Will Be Permanent – Hollywood Boulevard’s “All Black Lives Matter” street mural will become a permanent fixture in Los Angeles. The mural, which includes the colors of the transgender, nonbinary, and pride flags, is being installed for good after the original was power-washed away following a Black Lives Matter march on June 14. (Los Angeles Times)

San Francisco Names Artadia Awardees – Bay Area artists Marcela Pardo Ariza and Lava Thomas have won the 30th San Francisco Artadia Awards and will be given $10,000 in unrestricted funds. Thomas’s most recent works are drawings of subjects wearing face masks; Pardo Ariza is known for public art projects that increase the visibility of the city’s LGBTQ+ community and its history. (Press release)


Officials Investigate Academy Museum Creative Director for Sex Crimes – The LAPD is reportedly investigating the creative director of the yet-to-be-opened Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, Peter Castro, for sex crimes. Authorities began their investigation after a survivor alleging one count of rape and four counts of sexual assault reported him to the museum, which has a zero-tolerance policy for sexual misconduct. Castro has not yet responded to the allegations. (Deadline)

Deana Lawson Photographs Angela Davis for Vanity Fair  The magazine has been on a spree of commissioning works by leading Black female artists. Following the release of its print cover featuring a portrait of Breonna Taylor by Amy SheraldVanity Fair has released the digital cover of its September issue, led by a portrait of political activist and scholar Angela Davis by photographer Deana Lawson. Davis spoke to filmmaker and activist Ava DuVernay for the magazine. (ARTnews)

Follow Artnet News on Facebook:

Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.