Art Industry News: Was Maurizio Cattelan’s Viral Banana the Inspiration for Pantone’s 2021 Color of the Year? + Other Stories

Plus, Manifesta's 2026 edition will be held in Germany's Ruhr region and a beloved Noguchi installation disappears from a New York lobby.

Did Maurizio Cattelan's Comedian, a banana duct taped to the wall at last year's Art Basel Miami Beach, inspire this year's Pantone colors. Image by @DocPop.

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 Monday, December 14.


The Owners of the Banksy Bristol House Will Sell After All – The owners of the Bristol house that Banksy graced with a seasonal mural last week pressed pause on their plans to sell for 48 hours after the artwork’s surprise appearance. But after installing protections like a plexiglass sheet to keep the mural intact, they have put the house back on the market. They are considering attaching a restrictive covenant to the deed that would ensure the mural stays put or goes to the local city council or museum. (Guardian)

A Scandal Unfolds at Americans for the Arts – Fourteen out of 15 members of Americans for the Arts’ education advisory council signed an open letter calling for senior executives to resign after they failed to answer questions about the arts advocacy nonprofit’s racial equity work. Members of the elected board called for the most senior leaders to be removed amid a “disappointing” response to the Black Lives Matter movement. (Hyperallergic)

Pantone’s Colors of the Year Look a Little Familiar – Internet users have pointed out that Pantone’s colors of 2021—a sunny yellow and a dusky gray—recall Maurizio Cattelan’s notorious banana sculpture Comedian from last year’s Art Basel Miami Beach. “In retrospect, Cattelan’s sculpture looks like Nero fiddling while Rome burns,” writer Kyle Chayka notes, “the gesture of a decadent society that future historians will cite as being on the very precipice of disaster—if only they knew.” (ARTnews)

German Museum Leaders Warn Against Banning Israel Sanctions Movement – Dozens of cultural leaders in Germany have signed an open letter rejecting the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement against Israel, but also calling for an end to counter-boycotts, which they see as stifling freedom of expression and the open exchange of ideas. The German parliament passed a resolution in May last year that has designated the sanctions campaign as anti-Semitic and called on local authorities to deny funding to any institution that “actively supports” the movement or questions Israel’s right to exist. (New York Times)


Sotheby’s Old Masters Auction Fetches $14 Million – Sotheby’s Old Masters evening sale in London last week brought in a muted $14.2 million with fees and saw a 72.4 percent sell-through rate. The hammer total fell short of the $12.7 million-to-$19.3 million pre-sale estimate range. Top lots included a work by David Teniers the Younger, which sold around its low estimate for $4.87 million. (Art Market Monitor)

Harry Potter First Edition Sells for £50,000 – A first edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone that was nearly sold by its owners for 70 cents at a car boot sale has been valued by auctioneers at $67,000. The book was among 500 hardback copies published by Bloomsbury in 1997. (Evening Standard)


Philip Tinari to Curate Saudi Arabian Biennial – The director of the UCCA Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing has been tapped to curate Saudi Arabia’s first international contemporary art biennial. The inaugural Ad-Diriyah Biennale will debut in 2021. (Artforum)

Manifesta 2026 Will Happen in Germany – The 16th edition of the roving biennial Manifesta will take place in Germany in 2026. Germany’s Ruhr region has officially green-lighted a budget for the biennial, which will explore the theme of globalization. The 2024 edition will be held in Spain. (Press release)

Japanese Artist Tatsuo Ikeda Dies – The Japanese draughtsman has died at age 92. Ikeda was known for his detailed, disquieting drawings of monstrous forms, which drew from his real-life experiences of World War II. (ARTnews)


Noguchi Installation Disappears From New York Building – A property developer has removed a site-specific sculpture by Isamu Noguchi—once described by the artist as a “landscape of clouds”—from the lobby of a high-rise across the street from New York’s Museum of Modern Art. After deciding to renovate the building, the developer donated the 1957 sculpted ceiling to the museum, which is now investigating whether it can be relocated to a public space. (The Art Newspaper)

Seth Rogen on His Other Pot Habit – The actor’s latest crop of Ken Price-inspired psychedelic ceramic vases have charmed the internet. Rogen makes pottery at his home studio in Los Angeles, and says he finds the practice “meditative.” While he has been approached by galleries, he is not interested in selling his handiwork, but he has given them away and swapped them with other artists. (The Cut


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