Art Industry News: The Rothko Chapel Closes as It Prepares for a $30 Million Rebirth + Other Stories

Plus, Christo revisits the Miami islands he wrapped in fabric 35 years later and an anti-money laundering law targeting art dealers is back on the table.

The Rothko Chapel is a non-denominational chapel in Houston, Texas. Courtesy of the Rothko Chapel.

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 for Wednesday, December 12.


Critic Christopher Knight on 2018 in Art – The Los Angeles Times art critic selected his top 10 museum exhibitions of the year in the LA area, including Jasper Johns at the Broad, Tony DeLap at the Laguna Art Museum, “Made in L.A.” at the Hammer Museum, and the “Renaissance Nude” at the Getty. Of the latter, he writes, “This is the dazzling kind of art historical exhibition that only the Getty seems to do.” (LA Times)

Visiting Miami’s Islands With Christo, Three Decades Later – Talk about a trip down memory lane. During the bustle of Art Basel Miami Beach, artist Christo took a boat to visit the spot where he installed his famous work “Surrounded Islands” with his late collaborator and wife, Jeanne-Claude. He noted just how much Miami has transformed in 35 years. Back when he encircled the Floridian land masses with pink fabric, they were filled with nothing but trees and garbage. (He had to remove 40 tons of waste from one island for the project.) A documentary exhibition about the work, “Christo and Jeanne-Claude: Surrounded Islands 1980–1983,” is currently on view at the Pérez Art Museum Miami. (Vulture)

Rothko Chapel to Close for Upgrade – The first phase of a $30 million revamp of the Rothko Chapel’s two-acre campus in Houston, Texas, has begun (to the surprise of some of its neighbors). Beginning March 4, the chapel—just down the street from the Menil Foundation, build by the same spirituality-seeking patrons—will be closed for most of 2019 while a new skylight and entryway are fitted. Over the next couple of years, three new buildings will be added to the plot. (Houston Chronicle)

US Anti-Money-Laundering Bill Could Resurface – As anti-money laundering initiatives take root across the globe, the US government may relaunch the Illicit Art and Antiquities Trafficking Prevention Act in 2019. The bill, which was jeopardized during the November midterm reshuffle, would require dealers to report transactions exceeding $10,000. Those with annual sales of over $50,000 would also have to submit their financial records to the US government. (The Art Newspaper)


Female African American Artists Try Their Luck in Miami – Due to “rejections and aesthetic misunderstandings,” Atlanta-based female African American artists have been having a hard time securing gallery representation or market success. As a result, 10 artists decided to try something different: They initiated a presentation of their work on video screens at the Pérez Art Museum during Miami’s fair week. (New York Times)

Ulay Comes to London – Richard Saltoun will bring the first show by Marina Abramovič’s longtime collaborator Ulay to London next year. The show, which opens on January 11, will focus on the German artist’s work in photography. (Press release)

Nan Goldin Work Withdrawn From Auction – The photographer’s gallery, Marian Goodman, has blocked Goldin’s work Self-Portrait on the train, Germany (1992) from going to auction at Blomqvist in Oslo. The low estimate, €4,200 to €5,300 ($4,875 to $6,010), was apparently too low, according to a representative of the vendor. The gallery, meanwhile, claimed the reason was that the work was in poor condition. (TAN)


You Can Soon Visit the Guggenheim Any Day You Want – In celebration of its 60th anniversary in 2019, the Guggenheim in New York will join the Metropolitan Museum of Art and MoMA in being open every day, with special evening hours on Tuesdays and Saturdays. The iconic Frank Lloyd Wright building will host a stacked program for its celebratory year ahead: there will be a solo show by 2018 Hugo Boss Prize-winner Simone Leigh; an exhibition focusing on the legacy of Robert Mapplethorpe; and a look at a significant chapter of Jean-Michel Basquiat’s practice through the framework of social justice. (Press release)

The Arc de Triomphe Reopens After Paris Protests – The Paris monument will reopen today after being graffitied and plundered during the anti-government “yellow vest” protests earlier this month. The damage—which included broken sculptures, display cases, and furniture—is estimated to have cost several hundred thousand dollars. (AFP)

Molina Family Latino Gallery Slated to Open 2021 at NMAH – The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History will open the Molina Family Latino Gallery, named in acknowledgment of a $10 million gift from the family, in 2021. The gallery will have wall texts in English and Spanish and will chronicle Latino history beginning with a show titled “Making Home: Latino Stories of Community and Belonging.” (Smithsonian)

Artist Lothar Baumgarten Dies at 74 – The German conceptual artist died on December 3 in Berlin at age 74. Represented by Marian Goodman Gallery, Baumgarten was perhaps best known for his work on culture clashes threatening communities like the Yanomami in the South American rainforest. (NYT)


The Public Is Finding More Treasure Than Ever Before – There’s gold in them hills! Members of the British public stumbled on a record number of treasures in 2017, according to new report. Some 1,267 gold and silver objects more than 300 years old were discovered across England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, enriching museums’ knowledge of British history. (Press release)

US Returns Three Bells of Balangiga to the Philippines – Three church bells looted by American forces after a bloody 1901 battle in the Philippine-American War have been handed back to the village of Balangiga after a plea from the country’s president. The bells were delivered in a ceremony on December 3, closing a “painful chapter” in the history of US-Filipino relations. (Courthouse News)

Jamal Khashoggi Is TIME’s Person of the Year – The murdered Saudi journalist is among the fearless journalists, dubbed “the Guardians,” celebrated by the magazine across four different covers. Others include staff from the Maryland newspaper Capital Gazette, where five people were killed in a shooting, Filipino journalist Maria Ressa, and the wives of imprisoned Myanmar journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo. Last year’s winners, the Silence Breakers—including the former Artforum staffer Amanda Schmitt—also penned a letter in the magazine reflecting on what still needs to be done about sexual harassment. (TIME, TIME)

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