Art Industry News: Hedi Slimane’s First Viral Celine ‘Ad’ Features Lady Gaga at the Louvre + More Stories

Plus, Channing Tatum takes up sculpture after splitting from his wife and New York museums make more free tickets available on Culture Pass.

Lady Gaga with a Celine bag at the Louvre. Photo via Twitter @hedislimaneworld.

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 Friday, August 31.


New York Museums Respond to Culture Pass Surge – Thousands of people jumped at the chance to reserve free tickets to 33 New York cultural institutions with a library card thanks to the new Culture Pass scheme. In response to the overwhelming demand, museums including the Whitney, MoMA, and the Guggenheim are making more tickets available, particularly to cardholders living in the lower-income areas of the city. (The Art Newspaper)

Glenstone Aims for Quality, Not Quantity – It’s free to enter the private museum in Maryland, which opens its expansion next month—but you may have to wait a while. Co-founders Mitch and Emily Rales want to limit the number of visitors to 400 a day, maximum. That’s the only way that each person will have the minimum acceptable 300 square feet of personal space to experience works in their collection, they claim. “We will max out the amount of people who can come on a given day so long as we don’t dilute the experience,” Mitch Rales says. (Washington Post)

Did Hedi Slimane Just Create the Smartest Viral Marketing Stunt Ever? – What better way to launch a new chapter in the life of a fashion line than by building an association in the public’s mind with Renaissance master Leonardo da Vinci? Images of pop star Lady Gaga standing in front of the Mona Lisa and holding designer Hedi Slimane’s first handbag for Céline quickly caught fire on social media yesterday. From the way she’s holding it, it’s almost as if they want people to associate the handbag with iconic art. (Women’s Wear Daily)

Artist Trevor Paglen Wants People to Be Angry – The artist blasts critics of his satellite Orbital Reflector’s two-month-long mission, saying it’s fine to be upset, but “let’s get pissed off about Russia’s Object 2014–28E, the US’s X-37B, and the weaponization and privatization of space,” too. He also has a pop at Elon Musk. “I want to ask why the fuck anybody at all is ok with [Musk] sending a Tesla-shaped advertisement out towards the asteroid belt?” (Medium)


African Art Fair 1-54 Announces Participants – Forty-two galleries specializing in contemporary African art will take part in the sixth edition of the fair in London during Frieze Week. James Cohan, Burning in Water, Galerie Nathalie Obadia, and Kristin Hjellegjerde are among the 11 dealers making their 1-54 London debut. (Art Daily)

Frieze Announces Three Film Commissions – The Otolith Group, Lucy Raven, and Paul Pfeiffer will debut new works this fall as part of Frieze’s film program, which is organized by Diana Campbell Betancourt, the artistic director of the Samdani Art Foundation. The artists’ works are inspired a forest in India, a volcano in the Philippines, and Justin Bieber. (Frieze)

Steve Fossett’s Collection Heads to Auction – The late aviator and explorer’s rare books, antiquities, Old Master paintings, and Asian art will go on sale at Leslie Hindman Auctioneers in October. Fossett’s rare books trace the exploits of explorers Sir Francis Drake, Captain Cook, and Lewis and Clark, as well as well-travelled naturalists Charles Darwin and Alexander von Humboldt. (Press release)

Asia Contemporary Art Week Embraces New Jersey – The curator of this year’s Kochi-Muziris Biennale, Anita Dube, kicks off the two-month-long season of Asian art exhibitions and events with a lecture at Christie’s New York on September 9. This year’s Asia “Week” stretches beyond New York to Jersey City, where work by Kazakhstan-based collective Kyzyl Tractor goes on view at Mana Contemporary in October. (Artfix Daily)


Legendary Dancer Paul Taylor Dies at 88 – The modernist dancer and choreographer who founded the Paul Taylor Dance Company died of renal failure on Wednesday. During his illustrious career, Taylor worked with costumes and sets designed by artists Robert Rauschenberg and Alex Katz and choreographed pieces to music by John Cage. (New York Times)

Boston Hires New Arts Chief – Kara Elliott-Ortega has been named Boston’s chief of arts and culture, replacing Julie Burros, who left in June. Elliott-Ortega has been serving as interim chief since Burros’s departure. Before that, she was the director of planning and policy in the Mayor’s office of arts and culture. (Boston Globe)

Seoul Museum Director Suspended – Choi Hyo-jun has been suspended from his post at the Seoul Museum of Art while the Seoul Metropolitan Government’s Human Rights Center investigates a sexual harassment complaint filed against him by an employee, who claims to have received an inappropriate video from the director. During the investigation, Choi has also been removed from the list of curators organizing the Seoul Mediacity Biennale, which opens on September 6. He has denied any misconduct. (Art Asia Pacific)

Artpace Names a New Director – Riley Robinson has been appointed director of the San Antonio-based nonprofit artist residency and exhibition space. Robinson, who is also an artist, was named Artpace’s interim director earlier this year after Veronique Le Melle stepped down. He says his main goal is to secure an endowment to support the organization after its funding from founder Linda Pace dries up. (Glasstire)


Canadian Art Gallery Gets Anonymous $25 Million Gift – It’s any museum’s dream! The MacKenzie Art Gallery in Saskatchewan will put its new, generous endowment toward an expansion of the museum’s program space and the addition of a café. The gift has also endowed a new director of programming position and a newly commissioned work by Duane Linklater. (ARTnews)

How Two Thieves Stole Thousands of Rare Prints – Looking for a longread about art crime? We have just the thing. In the summer of 1980, the Texas-based dealer Robert Kindred and his partner went on an unprecedented crime spree, stealing thousands of rare prints from university libraries across the US. When caught red-handed in Illinois, Kindred pleaded guilty to a single charge and got probation. His partner in crime escaped punishment entirely. (Atlas Obscura)

A Jazz-Loving Female Surrealist Makes a Comeback – The Midwest Surrealist Gertrude Abercrombie (1909–77), who inspired the Chicago Imagists, has a new show at New York’s Karma Gallery more than six decades after her last solo exhibition in the city. She painted threatening or gently mournful compositions, some “resembling a Beckettian set design,” writes an admiring Roberta Smith. Abercrombie, who befriended leading African American jazz musicians in the 1940s and ’50s, was “Queen of Chicago” to her friends, despite her sarcasm and stinginess. (New York Times)

Channing Tatum Takes Up Sculpture—as Therapy? – After Brad Pitt and Jim Carrey, Tatum has become the latest Hollywood star to try his hand as an artist. Tatum—who, like Pitt, took up sculpture after a split from his wife—shared a clay construction inspired by Picasso’s Blue Period painting The Old Guitarist on his Twitter account. The work also inspired his daughter, a budding deconstructivist. See it below. (W)

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