Art Industry News: Is Louis Vuitton’s Virgil Abloh a Text Artist? A Museum Is Making the Case + Other Stories

Plus, White Cube hires another museum director and two Italian sisters claim they are descendants of the Mona Lisa.

Fashion designer Virgil Abloh. (Photo by Francois Durand/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 this Tuesday, August 7.


Can AI Spot Fakes Better Than Experts? – Ahmed Elgammal, who leads a team at Rutgers University researching the use of artificial intelligence to spot fakes, admits the new process “is still very much under development.” Focusing on pen strokes in drawings is simpler than brush strokes on a painting, especially older canvases that have been overpainted. “It’s challenging, but it doesn’t mean we can’t do it,” Elgammal says. “I’m confident.” (Guardian)

Artists Plan Alternative Show After Design Museum Protest – The more than 40 artists who dramatically removed their works from London’s Design Museum to protest its decision to host a private reception for an arms company are looking to mount an alternative exhibition of their work elsewhere. They hope to reunite the works for a presentation as part of the London Design Festival, and are currently on the hunt for venues in Brixton. (Evening Standard)

Virgil Abloh Gets a Show at the MCA Chicago – More details have emerged about the fashion designer’s anticipated retrospective at the Chicago museum next June. The exhibition dedicated to the new head of Louis Vuitton menswear and former Kanye West collaborator is titled “Virgil Abloh: Figures of Speech,” a twist on his penchant for putting words on clothes. All the mannequins in the show will also contain messages. Vogue France previously reported that the show will include interior design, architecture, and collaborations with artists including Peter Saville and Tom Sachs. (Women’s Wear Daily, Vogue)

Hollywood Wants Rid of Trump’s Star – After a protestor took a pickaxe to Donald Trump’s star on the Walk of Fame (drawing praise from some corners of art-world Twitter as an inspired performance artist), West Hollywood’s City Council voted “unanimously” not to replace it. The Los Angeles City Council and Hollywood Chamber of Commerce have will have the ultimate say, however. (Vulture)


White Cube Nabs Another Museum Director – Toby Kamps is leaving the Blaffer Art Museum at the University of Houston to become White Cube’s director of external projects. Kamps, who has organized Spotlight section at Frieze New York and Frieze London, starts at the gallery in October, joining the Warhol Museum’s former director Eric Shiner. (Artforum)

Gagosian Poaches Christie’s Hong Kong Director – It’s musical chairs in Hong Kong! The auction house’s Hong Kong-based vice president Han-I Wang is joining Gagosian to lead the development of the gallery in Asia. Recently, Pace named Whitney Ferrare, who worked in sales at Gagosian’s outpost, as its senior director in Hong Kong. (ARTnews)

PhotoFairs Shanghai Announces Program – Here’s what not to miss: Veteran feminist artist Valie Export will take part in a talk, while the South Korean artist SeungWoo Back will update his Communist architecture-inspired series “Utopia” (2008) to create an installation in response to political relations between North Korea, South Korea, and China. PhotoFairs Shanghai runs from September 21 through 23. (Art Daily)


Aspen Art Museum Raises $2.5 Million – The museum’s 2018 ArtCrush summer benefit gala raised more than $2.5 million for the museum’s curatorial and educational programs. Artist Rashid Johnson won the Aspen Award for Art, and the museum also launched the public phase of its ongoing endowment campaign, with $12.7 million of the $20 million goal having already been raised privately. (Press release)

Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit Names Curator – Larry Ossei-Mensah, an independent curator, cultural critic, and cofounder of the ARTNOIR collective, will begin his new role as the museum’s senior curator on September 1. Ossei-Mensah contributes to publications including Neue Journal, Uptown, and Whitewall Magazine. (Artforum)

Nam June Paik Prize Shortlist Announced – Andreas Angelidakis, Melanie Bonajo, Antoine Catala, Hanne Lippard, and Sondra Perry are the nominees for the ninth edition of the €25,000 ($29,000) biennial media art prize administered by the Kunststiftung NRW. They will present work at the Westfälische Kunstverein in Münster after a ceremony on November 9. (Art Daily)


Italian Sisters Claim to Be Ancestors of Mona Lisa (Again) – Natalia and Irina Strozzi claim they are the last living descendants of Lisa Gherardini del Giocondo, the wife of a businessman who they say posed for Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece. Their claim is backed by a Florence-based art history professor and, if true, would debunk alternative theories about the identity of the mysterious subject, who has variously been identified as anyone from Leonardo’s mother to the master in drag. The sisters made similar claims in 2007 and 2011. (Daily Mail)

Virginia Monument Honors Important Women – A monument featuring 12 bronze statues and etched with 400 names of women who were important to Virginia’s history is planned for Capitol Square in Richmond. Voices from the Gardendesigned by the Brooklyn-based StudioEIS and slated to be unveiled in October 2019, will feature women including a Pamunkey leader, an early settler of Jamestown, a former slave, and a suffragette. (Smithsonian)

Science Museum to Show Marc Quinn’s Zombie Boy Sculpture – A bronze sculpture of Rick Genest, the Canadian artist and model who died last week, will be displayed at London’s Science Museum when it opens in fall 2019. Self-Conscious Gene is part of Quinn’s focus on people who have modified their bodies. Genest had his insides tattooed on his outsides after being diagnosed with a brain tumor when he was 15. (TAN)

The Whitney Bakes a Cake for Andy – The Whitney Museum of American Art in New York hosted a five-tiered, Pop art-emblazoned 90th birthday cake for Andy Warhol yesterday as the museum launched ticket sales for its much-anticipated Warhol retrospective opening November 12. The artist notoriously hated his birthday, and the museum’s chief curator is hoping the cake won’t prompt the spirit of the Pop art genius to “jinx” the show.  (ARTnews)

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