Art Industry News: Reformed Bad-Boy Artist Dan Colen Launched a Fashion Collab to Fund Food Banks + Other Stories
Plus, a political cartoonist faces jail time in the UAE and Perrotin teams up with a comedian to launch a web series about contemporary art.
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 Friday, August 28.
Jordanian Cartoonist Arrested Over “Offensive” UAE Drawing – Cartoonist Emad Hajjaj was arrested in Jordan after he published a cartoon criticizing the peace deal between Israel and the United Arab Emirates. It implied that the deal hinged on Israel offering stealth fighter jets to the UAE and depicted a dove, painted with the Israeli flag, spitting in the face of Abu Dhabi’s crown prince. Authorities charged Hajjaj with seeking to undermine the two countries’ relationship, calling the cartoon “offensive” to the UAE. He has been referred to a state security court and is facing up to five years in jail. (Courthouse News)
This Artist Owns the World’s Most Extraordinary Toy Collection – The Chinese painter and self-professed “toy geek” Chen Fei, who had a show at Perrotin last fall, shares his obsession with sofubi—or soft vinyl—toys. He has thousands of them and hasn’t ever sold or traded any. The collection includes valuable toys by KAWS, Takashi Murakami, and Yoshitomo Nara. But if his house was burning down, he’d grab one of his ultra-rare NagNagNag toys, created by Shigeru Arai and a team of Japanese designers, which he considers more of “spiritual talismans” than toys. (Financial Times)
Dan Colen Opens Up About Life on the Farm – The artist welcomes W magazine to his Sky High Farm in Hudson Valley, New York. The former bad-boy painter bought the 40-acre property on “a whim” nine years ago and has since transformed it from a studio for his large-scale work to an experiment in regenerative farming, food justice, and community service. Colen now considers his efforts on the farm to be part of his art practice, and is hoping to fundraise to scale up the production and distribution of food, which he delivers to food banks and pantries in New York. With food banks in dire need during lockdown, he’s also working on a merchandise line with 12 streetwear brands to raise extra cash. (W Magazine)
Art-Supply Companies Under Scrutiny Over “Flesh” Tones – Major art-suppliers including Faber-Castell, Tombow, and Winsor & Newton are reckoning with the way they market some of their paints after one of the largest companies, Jackson’s Art, started campaigning against calling peach and beige colors “flesh-toned.” Jackson’s argues that doing so centers whiteness in a harmful way. “It seems pretty clear that the association of pale colors with ‘flesh tones’ is just another aspect of what we might call ‘normative whiteness,’” W.J.T. Mitchell, an art theory professor at the University of Chicago, says of the debate. (ARTnews)
A Major Barkley Hendricks Heads to Auction – Sotheby’s is selling a rare 1980 portrait by Barkley Hendricks at its mid-season Contemporary Curated auction in New York on October 2. The late painter’s Latin from Manhattan… the Bronx Actually is of an unknown subject known as Silky and carries a high estimate of $1 million. Rumor has it that another work by Hendricks sold privately during lockdown for as much as $14 million. (Art Market Monitor)
German Library Pays Millions for Friendship Book – The Herzog August Bibliothek in Germany has acquired a rare “friendship book,” signed and drawn by some of 17th-century Europe’s most powerful figures, 400 years after the library’s founder, Augustus the Younger, first tried to snap it up. The library bought the unique book, known as Das Große Stammbuch, at Sotheby’s for around €2.8 million ($3.3 million) in a private sale last year. (Guardian)
COMINGS & GOINGS
New York City Names Public Artists-in-Residence – The city has named four artists who will be embedded within three different city agencies for the next year to create public art projects: Yazmany Arboleda with the NYC Civic Engagement Commission; Amanda Phingbodhipakkiya and Andre Wagner with the NYC Commission on Human Rights; and Sophia Dawson with the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice. (Forbes)
V&A Dundee Exposes Scottish Design Icons’ Slavery Links – Scotland’s newest museum, the V&A Dundee, has been reevaluating its collection ahead of reopening next week, rewriting labels and updating panels to acknowledge how parts of its collection grew from British colonialism. (Guardian)
FOR ART’S SAKE
When MoMA Reopens, You Must See This – The New York institution’s show, “Félix Fénéon: The Anarchist and the Avant-Garde: From Signac to Matisse and Beyond,” is the latest in a series of illuminating shows to focus on the impact and work of non-artists. Fénéon was an active Parisian collector in the early-20th century, an early champion of Georges Seurat, and a collector of non-Western art. Through the show, Roberta Smith writes, “the non-artist becomes an artist of lasting achievement.” (New York Times)
Perrotin Launches a Video Project With a Comedian – The French comedian Jonathan Lambert writes and stars in a new snappy video series by Perrotin. In “4’17” (named after the four-minute, 17-second length of each episode), Lambert asks questions about contemporary art. In the inaugural episode, he visits a psychic to ask if the art market will “pick up.” The clairvoyant says yes—but it will take two years. Plan accordingly. (Press release)
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