Art Industry News: A Donor Just Gave $5 Million to Finally Pay All of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Interns + Other Stories

Plus, the Museum of Man is now the Museum of Us and authorities are on the hunt for a Gerhard Richter print that went missing in transit.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Fifth Avenue entrance. Courtesy of Shinya Suzuki/Flickr.

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 Tuesday, August 4.


San Diego Museum of Man Changes Its Name – San Diego’s anthropology museum, the Museum of Man, has changed its name. Moving forward, it will now be known as the Museum of Us. The institution’s executives explain that the new name better represents their “work toward equity, inclusion, and decolonization.” The museum said it took into account complaints from those who argued the old name supported “patriarchal systems” and “represented a colonial past that perpetuated racist narratives and harmed Indigenous communities.” (Newsweek)

A Monument to Enslaved People Is Coming to Kentucky – A new public artwork planned for the banks of the Ohio River in Kentucky will honor the Black people who were enslaved there. The initiative, called “(Un)Known Project,” is run by the Louisville artist-led nonprofit IDEAS xLab. The memorial will comprise a set of footprints leading from nearby history museums to the river, where many people escaped from enslavement in Kentucky, a slave state that claimed “neutrality” during the Civil War. The memorial is due to be unveiled in 2021. (NPR)

The Met Will Pay All Its Interns With a New Gift – The art collector and philanthropist Adrienne Arsht is giving the Metropolitan Museum of Art $5 million to support its internship program as well as its performance series MetLiveArts. The gift means that all of the museum’s undergraduate and graduate internships will be paid (they will also be known as Adrienne Arsht Interns in recognition of the gift). “Paid internships are an important step towards increasing opportunities and supporting equity in the art field,” Arsht said. “This, along with an enduring focus on themes of resilience, lifting up artists from a variety of backgrounds through the museum’s performance programming, forms the foundation of my gift.” Applications open in September for the first round of paid internships, which begin in spring 2021. (Artfix Daily)

Open Letter Calls Out “Brutal” Job Cuts at Southbank Centre – Outraged about 400 proposed redundancies at London’s Southbank Centre, more than 1,500 people have signed an open letter to management criticizing the move. The letter claims that the “brutal” cuts will disproportionately affect the organization’s lowest-paid staff, which includes a high proportion of young people from Black, Asian, and minority ethnic backgrounds as well as people with disabilities. While the pandemic has caused a 60 percent drop in the center’s income, the signatories are particularly critical of its chief executive Elaine Bedell, who, despite taking a 20 percent pay cut, is still earning a six-figure salary. (TAN)


Christie’s Plans a Benefit Exhibition for Young Black Artists – Christie’s is hosting a new online private selling exhibition dedicated to work by Black artists called “SAY IT LOUD (I’m Black and I’m Proud)” through August 17. Curated by the New York-based Destinee Ross-Sutton, the show presents more than 40 works by 22 emerging and mid-career artists including Amoako Boafo, Yoyo Lander, and Cary Fagan. Christie’s will not take a commission on the sale. (Art Market Monitor)

Untitled’s VR Art Fair Will Be Extended – The virtual-reality art fair, UNTITLED, ART Online, has extended its run through August 9 after its opening days drew 35,000 visitors. Organizers say they have pushed back the closing date from August 2 so that exhibitors have time to see through their many “active sales conversations.” (Press release)

Spanish Colonial Art Exceeds Expectations at Christie’s – Christie’s postponed spring Latin American art auction was buoyed by Spanish colonial artworks from Peru and Mexico, which exceeded estimates to rake in figures comparable to modern paintings. Among them was a 17th-century Luis di Riaño, which sold for $495,000, 12 times its low estimate. (AMM)


Germany Establishes Federal Restitution Contact Point – The country has officially launched a central office that will help societies of origin and other parties obtain information about colonial-era art collections. The measure was agreed upon in a landmark decision by all the German states last year. The office will be busy: the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation and Berlin’s Ethnological Museum alone have half a million objects. (Monopol)

Virginia Grants New Stop to Confederate Statue Removal – The Confederate monument of general Robert E. Lee in Richmond, Virginia, will remain standing for at least another 90 days after a state judge issued yet another injunction on Monday to block its removal. Virgina’s governor Ralph Northam has been seeking to take down the bronze figure since mid-June. (Courthouse News)


A Gerhard Richter Print Goes Missing in Transit – A work by the famous German artist went missing in Austria while being transported to a gallery in Vienna in mid-July. Several people are now being questioned about the whereabouts of the printed handmade paper from 1998, which police say has a four-figure value. (Monopol)

Nari Ward’s Work Takes Over Denver – Thirty-eight screens across downtown Denver are displaying images of work by Nari Ward. Among them is a 20-story projection of the artist’s LAZARUS Beacon (2020), which draws on Emma Lazarus’s 1883 poem inscribed on the Statue of Liberty. The projections, which coincide with a survey of the artist’s work at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver, offer a way for those to engage with Ward’s art even if they aren’t comfortable visiting the museum. (Barrons)

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