Art Industry News: Damien Hirst Throws His ‘100 Percent Support’ Behind NFTs With Plans to Burn Even More of His Art + Other Stories

Plus, artists curate a museum show from John Waters's collection, and Stephen Hawking's Volkswagen comes to auction.

British artist Damien Hirst poses during the press preview of "Cherry Blossoms" on July 2, 2021 at the Fondation Cartier in Paris. Photo by STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN/AFP via 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 on this Friday, August 5.


Catherine Opie and Jack Pierson to Curate a Show of John Waters’s Collection – Artists Catherine Opie and Jack Pierson selected 90 works from the collection that filmmaker John Waters gifted to the Baltimore Museum of Art in 2020. The show, “Coming Attractions: The John Waters Collection, includes works by Diane Arbus, Cindy Sherman, Cy Twombly, and Andy Warhol, and will open at the museum on November 20. (CBS News)

Maya Lin Commissioned to Create Sculpture for Obama Presidential Center – Lin, one of former U.S. president Barack Obama’s favorite artists, will create a sculpture titled Seeing Through the Universe, which will be installed at the Obama Presidential Center’s water garden. The garden will be named after Obama’s mother, Ann Dunham, to commemorate her influence on Obama and his sister, the former president said. (Press release)

Even Damien Hirst Wasn’t Sure He Wanted His Own NFTs – The famed British artist confessed on Twitter that he is “trying to work out what I should do” about the results of his much-hyped NFT project “The Currency.” The artist made 10,000 NFTs and then told each buyer to choose between keeping the digital token or a corresponding physical painting (most chose the latter). Hirst, who plans to burn all the remaining physical works, has also revealed that he kept 1,000 NFTs for himself and now has to make the same decision. He initially thought he would swap all his NFTs for IRL works, but now he’s decided to keep the tokens. “I decided I need to show my 100 percent support and confidence in the NFT world,” Hirst wrote. (Artnet News)

The Uffizi Gallery Will Embark on a $51 Million Garden Restoration – By 2030, the Uffizi Galleries in Florence will look a lot different, courtesy of an impressive masterplan to restore the nearby Boboli Gardens to “Medici-era glory.” The so-called “Boboli 2030” initiative includes 40 projects designed to enhance energy efficiency, combat climate change, restore statues, and build a storage facility for tapestries and carpets. The garden was initially designed by the Medici family and served as a model of the popular Italian style, with its sprawling 81-acre grounds that featured grottos, fountains, and some 300 classical and baroque statues. In a statement, director Eike Schmidt said that the goal was not only to “return the Boboli to the glories of the times of the Medici and the Lorena dynasties, but to go further, making it the best open museum in the world.” (TAN)


Stephen Hawking’s VW Caravelle Hits the Auction Block – The turquoise Volkswagen Caravelle that shuttled physicist Stephen Hawking around for a decade is going under the hammer in September. The scientist bought the car in 1988 and it drove Hawking and his bride, Elaine Mason, to their wedding, and was in continuous use until 1999, when Hawking’s health declined and he required a wheelchair accessible vehicle. The car is being consigned by Hawking’s nephew with no reserve at the U.K.’s Silverstone Auctions. (Evening Standard)

National Gallery of Ireland Names the First Female Director in Over a Century – Caroline Campbell will take the helm of the National Gallery of Ireland and become the first female director in the gallery’s 158-year history. The Belfast-born curator has worked at Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum, the Courtauld Gallery, and the National Gallery in London, where she has been the director of collections and research since 2018. “Visiting the National Gallery of Ireland as a teenager first inspired my interest in art,” Campbell said in a statement, “so it’s a huge pleasure to return now to a place that’s of such importance to me personally.” She will begin her new role in November. (Press release)

M+ Partners With HSBC – HSBC, one of the world’s largest banks, will become the first lead partner of Hong Kong’s M+ museum starting November 1. The significant partnership will include lead sponsorship of the museum’s special exhibitions, tours for non-governmental organizations, and family-oriented initiatives. The bank’s vast archives of historic documents, drawings, and photographs will also play a role in its future collaboration plans with M+. (Press release)


Gee’s Bend Quilt Reproductions Are Now Available at Macy’s – Macy’s is now selling reproductions of quilts made by the historic Gee’s Bend quilters of Alabama. The move is the result of a partnership between Macy’s and the Souls Grown Deep Foundation and Community Partnership. Part of the profits from the online sales will go to support artists Lucy Mingo, Loretta Pettway, Louella Pettway, Lucy T. Pettway, and Stella Mae Pettway, as well as the Souls Grown Deep Foundation. The colorful abstract fabric pieces produced within the community of Gee’s Bend have long been considered major contributions to American art history. (ARTnews)

Gee Bend, Alabama

An archival image of the quilters from Gee’s Bend, Alabama. Photo by Carol M. Highsmith/Buyenlarge/Getty Images.

Follow Artnet News on Facebook:

Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.