Art Industry News: Brooke Shields Duct-Tapes a Banana to Her Face in Solidarity With Maurizio Cattelan + Other Stories
Plus, Charles Saumarez Smith leaves Blain Southern and Banksy's new mural about homelessness will be preserved for posterity.
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 Wednesday, December 11.
These Leonardo Works Are Not at the Louvre – Italian institutions were left a bit sore when the Louvre captured the world’s attention with its blockbuster Leonardo da Vinci exhibition. The Paris show is not the only one dedicated to the Italian Renaissance master this year: Several other exhibitions are taking place in Italian cities including Vinci, where the artist was born in 1452. The city also boasts a 3-D sculptural replica of Leonardo’s drawing Vitruvian Man in its central piazza. Meanwhile, in Milan, the cloister of the National Museum of Science and Technology Leonardo da Vinci is opening new galleries dedicated to Leonardo this week. (New York Times)
How Can Museums Become More Accessible to Disabled People? – Six museums in Europe, including the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, and the Thyssen-Bornemisza in Madrid, have participated in Arches, a three-year European Union research project that has surveyed museum accessibility. Some 200 disabled people assisted in the design of digital tools to guide visitors with different access needs around the collections and to develop tactile reliefs for the vision-impaired, along with other initiatives. (The Art Newspaper)
Brooke Shields Goes Bananas for Cattelan – Brooke Shields is no stranger to appropriation art—after all, as a 10-year-old girl, she was the subject of one of the most famous and controversial appropriation artworks of all time, Richard Prince’s 1983 Spiritual America. (Long story… look it up.) In any case, now the actress, collector, and sometime curator has turned her own hand—or, actually, face—to appropriation, posting a photo on Instagram of herself down in Miami with a questionably executed version of Maurizio Cattelan’s Comedian (2019) on her forehead. Was this “expensive selfie,” as she put it, an ingenious plug for the New York Academy of Art, which she supports and plugged in same post? Or simply a convenient disguise to allow a celebrity to go incognito a brunch? As always, art is in the eye of the beholder. (Instagram)
Bonami Calls Out Corrupt Museum Curators – Former Venice Biennale curator Francesco Bonami has highlighted a troubling development: museum curators seeking kickbacks at art fairs. “Collectors are often trustees of museums, so it’s mandatory for a director or museum curator to walk around with them,” he says. “The only conflict is when as a museum curator you ask the galleries to give you a percentage cut if your collector/trustee buys a work. I know people who do that and it’s not fun.” As for his take on the notorious Cattelan banana? “A few idiots allegedly bought it. The point? The work doesn’t exist. The talking around it is the work,” he writes. (ARTnews)
Charles Saumarez Smith Steps Down From Blain Southern – The high-profile senior director of Blain Southern has left his post after just one year. Saumarez Smith, the former chief executive of the Royal Academy of Arts, is the latest in a line of departures, following Graham Southern, who co-founded the gallery with Harry Blain in 2010, as well as Craig Burnett, the gallery’s former director of exhibitions. Smith says he will continue to work with the business, which has locations in London, New York, and Berlin, on special projects. (TAN)
Princess Diana’s Blue Dress Fails to Sell at Auction – The off-the-shoulder gown worn by Princess Diana during her famous dance with John Travolta at a 1985 White House dinner went up for sale at Kerry Taylor Auctions, but failed to meet its reserve price of around $265,000. (It was estimated to go for between $330,000 and $450,000.) The dress sold post-auction to a British institution for about $290,000. (People)
COMINGS & GOINGS
KAWS Is Now a Museum Trustee – The artist Brian Donnelly, who is better known as KAWS, has joined the board of New York’s American Museum of Folk Art. His personal collection of works by self-taught artists includes pieces by Henry Darger, Martín Ramírez, Joe Coleman, and William Edmondson. Other newly elected trustees are writer Sabiha Al Khemir, philanthropist Jane Shallat, and lawyer Joanne Siegmund. (Press release)
Italy Is Opening a Resistance Museum – Italy’s minister of culture has announced that a National Museum of the Resistance will be built in Milan. The museum, which has a budget of nearly $20 million, will be designed by architects Herzog and de Meuron. The new museum will commemorate those who fought against Mussolini’s fascist dictatorship and the Nazi German occupation of Italy during World War II. (The Local)
The Museum of Ice Cream Reopens in New Permanent Space – Selfie-takers, get ready: New York’s supersize Museum of Ice Cream is preparing to open a new permanent home in a massive storefront in SoHo. It is due to debut on Saturday. Admission will be timed and cost $39 (more than every major art museum in the city, it’s worth noting). (NYT)
FOR ART’S SAKE
Banksy’s Homeless Mural Will Be Preserved – The street artist’s new mural, which highlights homelessness, will be preserved for posterity. The wall’s owner, the rail company Network Rail, has installed a plastic barrier to protect the work. On Monday, someone added red noses to the two reindeer in the Christmas-themed work in Birmingham—but the rest of the work remains intact, as Banksy created it. (BBC)
Germany’s Lost Goddess Goes on Show in the Hermitage – In 1946, a gilded bronze Roman sculpture known as Victoria of Calvatone went missing among 2.5 million German artworks and objects seized by the Red Army after World War II. The sculpture did not resurface until 2015, when it emerged in the stores of the Hermitage Museum. The sculpture, which dates to the year 160 CE, has now been restored and is on view for the first time in 80 years at the St. Petersburg museum. But it won’t be going back to Germany anytime soon, as Russia has turned down restitution requests. (TAN)
Pierre Soulages’s Show Opens at the Louvre – The French artist, who celebrates his 100th birthday on December 24, has received the rare honor of a solo show at the Louvre. He is only the third artist to have a solo show in the Paris museum during their lifetime, joining Picasso and Chagall. Proud gallerist Emmanuel Perrotin was quick to post this sneak peek on social media of the show. (Instagram)
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