Art Industry News: A Mother and Daughter Accidentally Destroy a Museum’s Conceptual Art Playground + More Stories

Plus, reconsidering the legacy of Impressionist painter Berthe Morisot and Kanye West thanks Kerry James Marshall (extensively).

The Susquehanna Art Museum. Photo: Halkin Mason Photography; courtesy of the Suquehanna Art Museum.

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 Wednesday, August 29.


Ellsworth Kelly’s Stint in the Hamptons, Explored – Did the abstract artist make some of his most critical work while on vacation? A new show at Guild Hall, “Ellsworth Kelly in the Hamptons,” makes this very argument. The work Kelly made during his stints on Long Island, including paintings inspired by the nature and coastal landscape and small driftwood objects, serve as “a bridge between works he did that were as influenced and informed by Matisse as by mathematics and his later big, bold experimentations in form and color,” Alexandra Peers writes. (Wall Street Journal)

What We Don’t Know About Berthe Morisot – Critic Sebastian Smee visits Impressionist Berthe Morisot’s retrospective in Quebec ahead of its journey to the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia, the Dallas Museum of Art, and the Musée d’Orsay in Paris. And he traces her unlikely journey into the art-historical canon. Notably, “When she married in 1874, the marriage license listed her as ‘without profession,'” he notes. “Her death certificate said the same thing.” (Washington Post)

Oops! Mother and Daughter Topple Sculpture – A woman and her teenage daughter attempted to play on an installation made from children’s swings at the Susquehanna Art Museum in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania—with disastrous results. After they brought down the work, Fair and Square, the artist Sean Matthews replaced the rubble of the unsalvageable artwork with a steel fence gate, a photo of the original sculpture, and an array of tiny stuffed animals. (Penn Live)

Berlin Will Re-Build Its Wall – A group of artists in Berlin are going to rebuild the Berlin Wall this fall, only to tear it down again. For four weeks this fall, visitors will have to buy a visa in order to pass through a replica of the barrier. Once inside, they will be able to view films and performances on a special device they will receive in exchange for surrendering their mobile phones. The art film project, titled Dau: Freedom, is spearheaded by Russian director Ilya Khrzhanovsky and includes contributions from Marina Abramovic, Carsten Höller, and Brian Eno. (Deutsche Welle)


Jeff Bailey Gallery Will Close – The eponymous gallery is closing after 15 years. Bailey opened his space in New York City in 2003 before moving the space to Hudson in upstate New York in 2014. The gallery owner said that his reasons for closing were “personal, not economic.” (ARTnews)

Unseen Letter by Mandela to Go on Sale – A letter written by Nelson Mandela while in prison on Robben Island will be offered at Bonhams’s South African sale in London on September 14. Mandela wrote the letter to the daughter of his friend and fellow anti-apartheid activist Michael Harmel after learning of Harmel’s death. It is estimated at £50,000 to £100,000 ($64,000 to $129,000). (Press release)

No Takers for Mr. Brexit’s Portrait – A portrait of the British politician Nigel Farage titled Mr. Brexit by David Griffiths has failed find a buyer at the prestigious Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition, which closed August 19. In fact, the Ukip leader’s image failed to attract a single bid during the show’s run. (Guardian)


Getty Names New Education Head – Keishia Gu will lead the museum’s education programs beginning next month. Previously, she served as director of admissions and enrollment at UCLA’s Geffen Academy. (ARTnews)

108|Contemporary Names New Director – Susan Baley has been named executive director of the Tulsa, Oklahoma non-profit dedicated to supporting local craft artists. The onetime director of education at the University of Oklahoma’s Fred Jones Museum of Art will return to the state in November after three years leading Indiana’s Swope Art Museum. (Artforum)

Legacy Foundation Award Winner Announced – The New York-based painter Nancy Chunn has won the $25,000 Artist Award given annually by the the Artist’s Legacy Foundation in California. Chunn is on the faculty of the School of Visual Arts and her work humorously sends up current events. (ARTnews)


Mr. Brainwash Customizes Nike Sneakers – The artist known as Mr. Brainwash has customized nine different Nike sneakers as a tribute to DJ AM. The late LA-based DJ, also known as Adam Goldstein, was a sneaker connoisseur. Organized by Project Blitz, the paint-splattered shoes go on sale this week to raise money to help fight Multiple Sclerosis. (Complex)

What Should Happen to Franco’s Cemetery? – Spanish President Pedro Sánchez has changed his mind about turning the “Valley of the Fallen” into a museum of memory. The monument and cemetery was built by Republican prisoners for the dictator Franco after his victory in the Spanish Civil War. But now, Sanchez has decided that it should remain a graveyard (albeit without Franco’s body). The planned museum of reconciliation would have to be built elsewhere. (Vanguardia)

Museum Hotels Commission For Freedoms Billboards – 21c Museum Hotels have commissioned 10 artists to create 12 billboards in cities including Chicago, Miami, Kansas City, and Louisville. Part of the For Freedoms Federations’ 50 State Initiative, the chosen artists include For Freedoms’ co-founder Hank Willis Thomas, Zoe Buckman, Jeremy Dean, and Titus Kaphar, among others. (Press release)

Kanye West Thanks Kerry James Marshall – The rapper has thanked the visual artist for “the amazing work you put in the world” in a series of 19 (yes, 19) tweets of images of his work. He also tweeted Caroline Picard’s profile of Marshall in the Chicago publication The Seen, which may have inspired the social media blitz. In the article, Picard writes: “Kerry James Marshall has consistently taken the canon of art history and the myriad network of art institutions it has occupied to task for their grave omission of blackness.” (The SeenTwitter)

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