Art Industry News: Look Out, Instagram Influencers—Street Artists and Their Lawyers Are Coming for You + Other Stories

Plus, a deep dive into the recent history of Artforum and Candice Breitz, Tania Bruguera, and others decry censorship at the Aichi Triennale.

Do you have permission to snap that photo? (Photo by Al Seib/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Art Industry News is normally 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 7.


How Artforum’s New Editor Led the Magazine Through Its #MeToo Crisis – In a deep dive into the recent history of Artforum, new editor David Velasco speaks about taking over from Michelle Kuo amid the magazine’s #MeToo crisis. He has worked to push the storied institution forward with contributions such as a 12,000-word article on feminist archetypes and an entire issue devoted to abuses of power. But some feel that the magazine should have done more to directly address the allegations against former publisher Knight LandesmanA former staffer says: “It’s not enough to have a veneer of content that’s progressive, if it isn’t structural or systemic.” (Columbia Journalism Review)

African American Leaders Advocate to Preserve George Washington Murals – In the latest development in an ongoing saga, a group of prominent African American figures in San Francisco have voiced further opposition to the city school board’s recent decision to cover up a controversial mural in a public high school that has been criticized as racist. The 1936 mural depicts George Washington’s slaves working in a field, as well as pioneers standing over the dead body of a Native American man. “The mural must not come down,” San Fransisco Reverend Amos Brown said. “We must never forget that fact and that reality.” (AP, NBC Bay Area)

That Street Art Selfie Could Get You Sued – Superstar influencers, beware! A copyright lawyer predicts that it’s only a matter of time before professional influencers begin to be sued by street artists for posting sponsored messages in front of murals without asking for permission or paying a licensing fee. “My guess is, you’re going to see a couple influencers get hit hard,” says lawyer Stephen Doniger. Paid posts by social media personalities with millions of followers can command hundreds of thousands of dollars—making them just as much of a target as corporations. The development would expand a current wave of lawsuits street artists have brought against businesses that have used their work in advertisements without permission, including Mercedes and H&M. (Hollywood Reporter)

Artists Decry Aichi Triennale Censorship – More than 70 of the 90 artists taking part in the Aichi Triennale in Nagoya, Japan have criticized organizers’ decision to censor a sculpture in an exhibition about censored works of art. Candice Breitz and Tania Bruguera, among many others, have signed an open letter demanding that the Korean artists Kim Seo-kyung and Kim Eun-sung’s Statue of a Girl of Peace return to public view. The controversial work refers to the thousands of mainly Asian women forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese military during World War II. Nagoya’s mayor, Takashi Kawamura, claimed that the exhibition “tramples on the feelings of Japanese citizens,” while the triennale’s artistic director said the decision to shut down a portion of the show was due to safety concerns. (ARTnews)


Praise for Middle-Market Dealers Taking Risks – Emerging and mid-career artists need middle-market dealers who are every bit as daring as they are—but they rarely get the praise they deserve. So the Observer gave a shout out to four New York-based risk-taking art dealers, some of whom operate traditional storefronts and some of whom have taken an alternate route: Jimi Dams, Benjamin Tischer, Allegra LaViola, and Candice Madey. (Observer)

ArtCrush Raises $2.3 Million for the Aspen Art Museum – The Aspen Museum’s annual start-studded fundraiser netted $2.3 million. At the charity auction, Eleanore and Domenico de Sole bought a blue-and-white Anthony Pearson work on canvas, while Beth Rudin DeWoody snapped up a work by Dario Escobar. The music executive Troy Carter went home with a trio of works by Alfred Conteh, Curtis Kulig, and Maynard Monrow. (The Art Newspaper)


University of Chicago Gets $1 Million Gift for Art Conservation – The school’s art history department has received a $1 million gift from philanthropist Suzanne Deal Booth to support its art conservation program. The money will be put toward an endowment to support the university’s five-year conservation initiative, which offers specialized sources, internships, and an endowed professorship in the field. (Artforum)

Istanbul Biennial Forced to Move Venues – This year’s fast-approaching Istanbul Biennial, which opens on September 14, will no longer be held in the city’s historic shipyards due to construction delays and the discovery of asbestos. The exhibition will proceed as planned at its second venue, the Pera Museum. Nicolas Bourriaud, the director of the Montpellier Contemporain in France, is curating this year’s edition, which is titled “The Seventh Continent.” (Press release)

Palestinian Artist Kamal Boullata Has Died – The artist, historian, and writer has died in Berlin at age 77. Boullata was known for his geometric, abstract paintings represented in the collections of the British Museum, the the Institut du Monde Arabe, and others as well as his research on the history of Palestinian art. (Artforum)


Paris Downplays Notre Dame Lead-Poisoning Dangers – Paris authorities say that tests carried out around Notre Dame show there is no further danger of lead poisoning following the April 15 fire. The assurances come after the city closed two schools on July 25 amid evidence that lead from the melted roof and steeple had settled on various sites around central Paris. Authorities now say surrounding schools will be “rigorously cleaned” before the school year begins(AFP)

In Reversal, DC Metro Will Accept Ads for Migrant Crisis Art Show – Washington’s metro transit authority has belatedly agreed to run advertisements for the Phillips Collection’s summer exhibition, “The Warmth of Other Suns: Stories of Global Displacement.” The agency initially rejected the ads earlier this spring, citing a policy against promotional material “intended to influence public policy.” DC Metro did not state the reason for the reversal, but it came after the museum’s chairman wrote an op-ed decrying the decision in the Washington Post. (Washington Post)

An Artistic Protest Against a Gun Show Returns – The second edition of the protest art exhibition Art the Arms Fair will return to London from September 3 through 13. The event runs alongside—and as counter-programming for—the Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI), the world’s largest arms fair, also held in London. This year, the Guerrilla Girls are among the participating artists. (The Art Newspaper)

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