Art Industry News: Banksy’s Poignant Christmas Mural Is Returning to View for Just 36 Festive Hours + Other Stories

Plus, the curatorial team is appointed for PS1's closely watched "Greater New York" survey and Sotheby's holds record-setting design sales.

Banksy's mural on a garage wall in, Port Talbot, south Wales. Photo by Ben Birchall PA/Getty Image.

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 Tuesday, December 17.


Families Object to a $45 Million Pulse Nightclub Memorial – The debate over how to mark the site of the 2016 Pulse nightclub mass shooting rages on. Survivors and family members of the victims have voiced opposition to a planned $45 million museum and memorial, pushing instead for a smaller and simpler marker of the tragedy in Orlando, Florida. “My son’s brutal death is not a tourist attraction to fill hotel rooms,” said Christine Leinonen, the mother of one of the victims. The club’s owner, Barbara Poma, now head of the OnePulse Foundation, argues that she has broad support for the project. The memorial museum—which has received design proposals from artists including Jenny Holzer and Sanford Biggers—could be complete by 2022. (New York Times)

England’s Culture Minister Carries On – UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is keeping his minister of culture on until at least January, even though she has stepped down as a Conservative MP. Nicky Morgan, who has been in the role since July, will remain part of Johnson’s inner circle. But her term may be only temporary, as a bigger re-shuffle is expected in early 2020. Morgan had previously said that she wanted to leave the post to spend more time with her family, but campaigned energetically for Johnson during the general election. On Twitter, she quipped: “Well it turns out that leaving the Cabinet is harder than leaving the EU!” (Financial Times)

Banksy’s Christmas Mural Goes on Show for 36 Hours Only – The artist’s Seasons Greetings mural, which caused a sensation when it appeared in a Welsh town last Christmas, has returned to public view. But the display will only be open for 36 hours, from Wednesday through Friday, which has upset the mural’s owner. The collector John Brandler has criticized the local council, which is covering the cost of security and staffing. Brandler paid a six-figure sum for the work and agreed to keep it in Port Talbot for three years. The Welsh government paid for the work’s removal from the side of a garage earlier this year. (BBC)

Swizz Beatz Curated an Art Exhibition for His Third Date With Alicia Keys – In a new profile, the producer and collector Kasseem Dean, better known as Swizz Beatz, reveals the starring role art played in his romance with now-wife Alicia Keys. (In the process, he also makes every man trying to woo someone look bad.) For their third date, the music mogul flew works in from around the world to organize a private exhibition of Erté. It was a natural extension of their first date, to which he was late because he was buying his future wife a painting by the Russian-French artist. Keys’s art-themed gifts to her husband include a surprise 30th birthday party at the Guggenheim Museum in New York and, for Father’s Day, enough photographs by Gordon Parks to make their collection the largest in private hands. [For a more in-depth insight into Swizz Beatz’s strategy in the art world, read our interview with him from earlier this year.] (ARTnews)


Collectors Turn to Safety Deposit Boxes – As banks shut down their vaults, political uncertainty spreads across the UK, and people look to invest in stable commodities, more and more collectors have been turning to safety deposit boxes to store small and valuable items. “We are seeing a lot of art and collectibles being moved from England to Dublin,” says Seamus Fahy, the co-founder of safety-deposit box company Merrion Vaults. “People are worried and hedging their bets.”  (The Art Newspaper)

Babe Ruth’s Historic Bat Sells for $1 Million – The baseball bat with which Babe Ruth hit his 500th home run sold for more than $1 million over the weekend. It had been hidden away for decades after the legendary athlete gave it to a friend in the 1940s. David Kohler, president of SCP Auctions, says Ruth memorabilia is among the most prized items it offers. (BBC)

Sotheby’s Design Sales Top $32 Million – The company’s New York design sales generated a record $23.3 million, the highest recorded total for a design sale series in the city. The results were boosted by the $8.2 million sale of designer Marc Jacobs’s collection of European design, which nearly doubled expectations. (Press release)


MoMA PS1 Names Curators for “Greater New York” –  The curators for MoMA PS1’s flagship survey of artists living and working in the New York area, which comes once every five years, has been announced. They are: PS1 curator Ruba Katrib, Ugandan independent curator Serubiri Moses, PS1 director Kate Fowle, and Inés Katzenstein, MoMA’s curator of Latin American art. The fifth edition of “Greater New York” is slated to open in fall 2020, and it will present the work of intergenerational artists with different perspectives on the city. (Press release)

Sarasota Opens Contemporary Art Museum – Sarasota residents have turned the former campus of the city’s high school into a contemporary art museum. The transformation took 16 years, and the Sarasota Art Museum will now host touring exhibitions for around five months each. The inaugural show is a solo exhibition of the Brazilian artist Vik Muniz. (Herald Tribune)

Autry Museum Taps Two New Curators – The Autry Museum of the American West in Los Angeles has appointed the curator Joe Horse Capture, who is known for exhibitions that piece together fragmented indigenous histories, as vice president and curator. The California African American Museum’s curator of history, Tyree Boyd-Pates, has also come on board as associate curator of Western history. (Los Angeles Times)


Jordan Casteel Tapped for Next High Line Mural – The sought-after painter Jordan Casteel has been commissioned to recreate her 2017 oil painting The Baayfalls as a giant mural overlooking 22nd Street on the High Line. (The highly trafficked spot has been previously occupied by commissions from Henry Taylor, Barbara Kruger, and others.) The work is a double portrait of a hat seller and her brother outside the Studio Museum in Harlem; the title references a sect of the Sufi brotherhood to which the brother belongs. (Press release)

Nan Godin’s Sackler Protest Is One of TIME’s Photos of the Year – Footage of the artist Nan Goldin’s protest against the Sackler family and its links to both the opioid crisis and elite museums gets a mention as one of TIME‘s best photos of the year. An image of the artist lying on the floor of the Guggenheim Museum in New York in February, leading a die-in with her anti-Sackler organization PAIN, is included in the magazine’s annual list of top 100 photos. The photograph was taken by Elizabeth Bick for the New Yorker(TIME)

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