Art Industry News: Study Says Americans Prefer Politicians Who Support the Arts Over Philistines Who Don’t + Other Stories

Plus, superstar Indian artist Subodh Gupta is accused of sexual harassment and Jerry Saltz rides the New York subway with a Michelangelo.

US President Donald Trump admires a statue he received as a gift from county sheriffs, February 7, 2017. Photo by Andrew Harrer- Pool/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 for Friday, December 14.


Dutch Government Is Sued Over Nazi Looted Paintings – The grandson of a Dutch art dealer who sold paintings to the Nazis at a discount in order to pay to send his family to safety abroad is suing the Dutch government in a bid to recover 144 of the works. Bruce Berg, who is based in the US, first launched his suit 10 years ago. He has now filed a new suit in the US countering the Dutch government’s claim that the works were not relinquished involuntarily or under duress. (Post and Courier)

Joan Jonas Will Inaugurate an Ocean Space in Venice – TBA21-Academy and the eco-activist and philanthropist Francesca von Habsburg will launch a scientifically geared new space in Venice this spring with an installation by Joan Jonas. The center, which is dedicated to tracing the effects of climate change on the world’s oceans, is housed in the church of San Lorenzo in Castello. It will launch on March 23 and host a performance by Jonas during the the Venice Biennale before closing for another year for further restoration. (NYT)

Study Says Americans Like Politicians Who Like the Arts – A report from the nonprofit organization Americans for the Arts reveals that American citizens are two times more likely to vote for political candidates who support funding for the arts than for those who don’t. Nearly all of the 3,000 American adults surveyed support arts education as part of a healthy society. Forty percent believe that the White House does not spend enough on nonprofit arts organizations, and more than half approve of doubling the federal government’s arts funding—a notable finding after Donald Trump’s repeated calls to slash funding for the NEA. (Hyperallergic)

Artist Subodh Gupta Is Accused of Sexual Harassment – The Instagram account @SceneandHerd, which is dedicated to calling out sexual harassment in the Indian art world, has accused the high-profile artist Subodh Gupta of misconduct. The account posted anonymous claims from several former co-workers. In a statement, the artist’s gallery Hauser & Wirth said they were “deeply troubled” by the allegations, and added that they have a “zero-tolerance policy toward all forms of harassment and discrimination, including sexual harassment.” The same account also revealed allegations against Kochi-Muziris biennial founder Riyas Komu. We will keep you posted as this story develops. (Times of India, ARTnews)


The Economist Predicts Big Guarantees Will Only Become Bigger  The Economist speculates that Christie’s record-smashing sale of David Hockney’s Portrait of an Artist (Pool With Two Figures) (1972) last month may be one of the last major works sold at auction without the surety of a guarantee. A striking two-thirds of the total sales value in last month’s New York evening auctions at Christie’s, Sotheby’s, and Phillips was secured in advance by guarantees. (Economist)

Chinese Collectors Are Really Into Mein Kampf A copy of Mein Kampf signed by Adolf Hitler is among three copies of the Nazi manifesto on sale at an antique book fair in Hong Kong called China in Print. According to rare booksellers, Chinese collectors have specifically requested the title. (South China Morning Post)

Alexander and Bonin Now Represent Dalton Paula – The New York gallery has announced it is representing the Brazilian artist whose work addresses knowledge production in the African diaspora. Paula, who works in painting, photography, and installation, is also represented by the São Paulo-based Galeria Sé. (Art Daily)

Lineup Announced for Asia Week New York – Forty-eight international galleries and six auction houses are taking part in the 10th anniversary edition of the 10-day celebration of Asian art and culture. Newcomers to the party slated to run from March 13 through 23 include American dealers Cora Ginsburg and Simon Lee, as well as the Japanese gallery Hara Shobo. (Press release)


The Smithsonian’s American History Museum Appoints Its First Female Director – Anthea M. Hartig is leaving the California Historical Society to become the first female director of the Museum of American History in Washington, DC. The historian will oversee a revamp of its west wing and aims to boost its representation of women’s history. (NYT)

Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg Fires Its Director – Ralf Beil’s contract as director of the German museum, which is funded by the Volkswagen Foundation, has been terminated by its trustees. He told Monopol that “artistic freedom… is evidently no longer present” at the museum. Beil was due to organize a show in 2019 called  “Oil: Beauty and Terror of the Petroleum Age,” which would have been critical of the car industry. In a statement, the museum said that exhibitions on the calendar will be held as scheduled. (Monopol)

Stanislav Kolíbal Will Represent the Czech Republic in Venice – The National Gallery of Prague has announced that the veteran artist Stanislav Kolíbal (born in 1925) will represent the Czech Republic at the Venice Biennale. Curated by Dieter Bogner, Kolíbal’s exhibition, called “Former Uncertain Anticipated,” will include a new, large-scale wall drawing alongside historic work by the avant-garde artist that blurs the boundary between sculpture and painting. (e-flux)


Chinese Photo Fest Is Heavily Censored –  The Lianzhou Foto festival organized by the Chinese city’s photography museum is one of the most heavily censored editions to date. Government officials forbade images by international photographers including the Dutch photographer Henk Wildschut, who documents the environmental impact of the food industry. Classic images by the fashion photographer Erwin Blumenfeld were also banned. “Censorship is just something we have to accept,” the festival’s director said. (Guardian)

The Times Selects the Best Art Books of 2018 – Critics Roberta Smith, Holland Cotter, and Jason Farago pick their favorite publications of the year. They include Ninth Street Women by Mary Gabriel, a book about the history of five female Abstract Expressionists, which offers a “nugget on nearly every page,” according to Roberta Smith. Other picks include Maura Reilly’s Curatorial Activism: Towards an Ethics of Curating and the Atlas of Brutalist Architecture, edited by Virginia McLeod and Clare Churly. (NYT)

Jerry Saltz Takes Michelangelo’s David on the Subway – See what happens when critic Jerry Saltz asks passengers on the New York subway what they think about meeting a mini-me version of Michelangelo’s famous sculpture, far from its home in Florence. Saltz buttonholed commuters to ask: Is it a “masterpiece or piece of shit?” (Vulture)

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.