Art Industry News: Why the Getty’s Priceless Art Collection Isn’t Afraid of Fires + More Must-Read Stories

Plus, Inuit collective Isuma will represent Canada at the next Venice Biennale and the court delays the Berkshire Museum sale yet again.

A member of a fire team hand crew monitors embers to prevent fire from jumping to the west side of the 405 freeway, at the Skirball Fire near the Bel Air area of Los Angeles, California, December 6, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Robyn Beck

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 Thursday, December 14.


The Gardner’s Security Chief Is Running for Office – Anthony Amore, who has been on the hunt for works stolen from Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum since 2005, is taking on a new challenge. He has filed papers to run as a Republican state representative in Massachusetts. (Boston Globe)

Photography Show Vandalized in Moscow – A pro-Russian nationalist from the group SERB has been arrested for vandalizing works by American photographer Jock Sturges at a Moscow gallery. Moscow police charged the man with “petty hooliganism” for splashing a “smelly liquid” on photos featured in the exhibition titled, ironically, “Absence of Shame.” (The Art Newspaper)

How the Getty Protected Its Art From Wildfires – The Times explains why locals had to evacuate parts of Los Angeles during the ongoing wildfires, but the Getty’s art stayed put. The collection is protected by state-of-the-art fireproof measures, including automatic fire doors, internal sprinklers, and old-fashioned travertine stone walls. “The safest place for the artwork to be is right here in the Getty Center,” architect Richard Meier said. (New York Times)

Berkshire Museum Sale Delayed Further – The Massachusetts Appeals Court granted the attorney general some additional time (until January 29) to continue her investigation into the planned sale of some 40 artworks from the museum’s collection—a significant step, as suspicious new details about the move seem to emerge every day. The AG applauded the decision and urged the museum to use the time to find alternative ways to secure its future. (Berkshire Eagle)


How One Artist Built a Market Without Museums – Given his international gallery representation and dedicated collector base, John McAllister has had surprisingly few institutional shows—and he has no auction record to speak of. The key to his low-key success? Sincere, good-looking landscape paintings on small canvases that nobody wants to resell. (Bloomberg)

Clearing Gallery on Its Tiny (and Well-Located) New Space – The dealer Olivier Babin is opening a third location on the Upper East Side, gaining some blue-chip neighbors like David Zwirner and Hauser & Wirth. Though Clearing is known for its extra roomy galleries in Bushwick and Brussels, this new location will be much more intimate (and convenient). (ARTnews)

Art Brussels Announces 2018 Exhibitors – The fair’s 50th anniversary edition, which runs April 20 to April 22, will include 146 galleries from 33 countries. Organizers have noted an uptick in Belgian galleries (31 percent of the list in 2018 compared to 18 percent in 2017). Participants include Almine Rech, Xavier Hufkens, and Axel Vervoordt. (Press release)


Isuma to Rep Canada at the 2019 Venice Biennale – Canada has picked the Inuit collective Isuma for the next Venice Biennale. Founded in 1990, the film and video-making collective is led by Zacharias Kunuk and Norman Cohn. (Fellow founding members Paul Apak Angilirq and Pauloosie Qulitalik have died.) The Canadian pavilion’s curator not been announced. (ARTnews)

Triple Canopy Announces Artist Commissions – The magazine has picked Jesse Chun, Heidi Lau, Xiaoshi Vivian Vivian Qin, and Derica Shields to work with its editors in 2018 to create works about the politics and aesthetics of resentment. Projects can be digital, literary, performance-based, or in print. (Triple Canopy)

Influential Curator Christos Joachimides Has Died – The Greek-born German curator died in Athens on December 11, the British curator Norman Rosenthal writes. The independent curator made his name with Rosenthal co-organizing major exhibitions including “A New Spirit in Painting” in London, which championed the so-called “return to painting” in the early 1980s. (TAN)

Met Educator Moves to Dallas Museum of Art – Claire Moore is heading back to her native Texas to lead the Dallas Museum of Art’s educational Center for Creative Connections. Previously an educator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, she is due to start in Dallas on January 15. (Press release)​


Getty Acquires Mary Kelly’s Archive – The Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles has acquired the archive of the American artist Mary Kelly. The archive comprises materials related to work she created between 1968 and 2014, including her famous Post-Partum Document (1973–79), which became a tabloid sensation because it included her child’s soiled diapers. (ARTnews)

Van Gogh Museum Trumps Rijksmuseum’s Attendance – Amsterdam’s Van Gogh Museum has bragging rights on Museumplein. It has announced a record attendance of around 2.3 million visitors in 2017. It is now the most visited museum in the Netherlands, overtaking the Rijksmuseum next door. (Press release)

NEH Announces $12.8 Million in Grants – The National Endowment for Humanities has awarded $12.8 million to 253 projects across the US, including a virtual exhibition of more than 90 artworks commissioned during the New Deal in the 1930s, and the preservation of Frank Lloyd Wright’s estates in Spring Green, Wisconsin, and Scottsdale, Arizona. (Press release)

Red Panda Arrives in Paris – A big red panda sculpture by the French artist Richard Orlinski has been unveiled in Paris to celebrate the burgeoning cultural and commercial relationship between the city of Chengdu in China and the 6th arrondissement, Saint-Germain-des-Prés. Part of “Operation Panda,” the work is heading next to Paris’s Beauval Zoo, where real pandas on loan to France from China reside. (Xinhau)

A sculpture depicting a giant panda created by French artist Richard Orlinski is displayed at the Place Saint-Germain-des-Pres in Paris on December 13, 2017, as part of a twinning initiative between the Saint-Germain-des-Pres committee and the Chengdu International Finance Square in China. / AFP PHOTO / Philippe LOPEZ

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.