Art Industry News: Protest Grows in Support of Jailed Bangladeshi Photographer Who Spoke Out for Students + Other Stories

Plus, Banksy's lost Mona Lisa mural is being uncovered and the actor Will Smith ponders the meaning of art.

The activist-photographer Shahidul Alam is taken to court in Dhaka. Photo by Munir Uz Zaman, AFP/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 Wednesday, August 8.


Tauba Auerbach Paints a Ship – Taking inspiration from the lively, jagged abstract camouflage of World War I’s allied warships, the artist has painted her own “dazzle ship.” The Public Art Fund and the UK’s 14-18 NOW commissioned Auerbach’s red-and-white paint job on one of New York Fire Department’s vessels to commemorate the centenary of the Great War by reviving the distortion-pattern technique used to fool German U-Boat gunners by making ships hard to focus on through a periscope. You can take a weekend cruise on the ship from its different docking points in New York this summer, before it gets repainted in a more conventional fashion next year. (New York Times)

Now Art21 and Chill Can Be the New Netflix and Chill – The nonprofit organization dedicated to educating the public about contemporary art has launched, a curated 24/7 livestream. The channel draws from the organization’s video library of 21 years worth of footage featuring more than 200 artists, including from its flagship television series Art in the Twenty-First Century and two digital series, New York Close Up and Extended Play. (Press release)

Petition to Release Bangladeshi Photographer – More than 400 Indian artists have signed a public statement demanding the release of Shahidul Alam, a leading photojournalist and activist who was arrested on August 5 for “spreading anti-government propaganda” after he spoke out about the government crackdown on students protesting poor road-safety conditions in Bangladesh. Alam had been documenting the harsh state action—including beatings and the cutting off of mobile internet—on the tens of thousands of students taking part in the protests. (Hyperallergic)

Lost Banksy Mural Is Uncovered – Banksy painted a mural on the walls of a Glasgow nightclub in 2001 as part of an exhibition, but the early work was accidentally covered up with grey emulsion paint in 2007 during a refurbishment. Now, the current owners of the space are crowdfunding the £86,000 needed to restore the depiction of a gun-wielding monkey and the Mona Lisa—the only known effort by the artist in Scotland. (BBC)


Should Art Be Protected From Terrorism? – Although there hasn’t been a terrorist-related art claim since 9/11, as of 2002, per the federal Terrorism Risk Insurance Act, insurance companies offering commercial property policies must offer the option of terrorism coverage. The art world is split on whether or not it’s necessary, with most private collectors opting in to coverage up to $10 million, while galleries and museums are not so convinced. (Observer)

Gallery Trades Only in Cryptocurrency – House of Fine Art in London’s Mayfair is the latest to join the art-market cryptocurrency trend by offering up its entire collection to be bought with bitcoin or any of eight leading cryptocurrencies supported by the digital-money platform Uphold. The gallery is running an eight-week cryptocurrency-only exhibition in London in October before taking it to inaugurate its new space in West Hollywood. (Evening Standard)

Paris Photo Announces Exhibitors – The 22nd edition of the photography fair in the French capital will host 149 galleries and 31 art-book dealers in the Palais de Tokyo between November 8 and 11. The 17 newcomers to the fair include the LA-based conceptual photography gallery Marc Selwyn and Paris’s Fisheye, which will bring a virtual reality project. (Press release)

Early Tattoo Art Sells for $41,000 – Ripley Auctions sold six early American tattoo flash-art sheets for more than a combined $41,375 on July 28. The relics of American history, folk, and outsider art include depictions of Buffalo Bill and Jesus and were found in a trunk from the attic of a retired Marine Corps officer, which was purchased by the consignor for just $10. (Art Fix Daily)


Seattle Museum Makes Art Fair Acquisition – At the Seattle Art Fair the Frye Art Museum picked work by Toyin Ojih Odutola from Albuquerque’s Tamarind Institute and a piece by Ellen Lesperance from Portland gallery Adams and Ollman. The acquisitions were made possible by a $25,000 acquisition fund from the fair. (Press release)

Raf Simons Honored by Folk Art Museum – The Belgian-born designer and chief creative officer of Calvin Klein will be honored by New York’s American Folk Art Museum at its annual gala in the fall. Simons has incorporated quilts and “infused his take on Americana” into the brand and its flagship store in New York. (WWD)

Caspar Jopling and Ellie Goulding Get Engaged – The Sotheby’s staffer (and nephew of White Cube founder Jay Jopling) and the singer have announced that they are engaged to be married. Jopling and Grammy-nominated Goulding co-curated a contemporary auction in March at Sotheby’s New York. (W Magazine)


Jim Carrey Takes His Anti-Trump Art to Another Level – The triple-threat actor/comedian/artist was supposed to be promoting his new Showtime comedy at the Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour on Monday, but instead he wanted to talk about using art to attack Trump. “You can tweet all you want, but there’s something about a picture that takes it to a whole other level,” he said. (Huffington Post)

Photoville to Feature Emotive Images of Family Separations – The outdoor photography exhibition in Brooklyn will include “Undocumented,” featuring images taken over the past decade by John Moore, the Getty photographer who recorded a young migrant in distress as she was separated from her mother on the US-Mexico border. Organized by the nonprofit United Photo Industries, the festival runs from from September 13 through September 23. (NYT)

Will Smith Ponders the Meaning of Art – The actor took a moment to put on his art-critic hat, musing on what it takes for a piece of metal or wood to “expand into the concept of art.” Resting on the backside of an outdoor sculpture, Smith provides his own answer: “When you know that something has been created from deep down inside of someone’s heart and soul.” (Hot New Hip Hop)

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