Art Industry News: Banksy’s Dealer Reveals the Real Reason Why the Artist Has Never Been Arrested + Other Stories

Plus, another museum dedicates its entire 2020 program to women artists and a Brazilian art museum hires its first indigenous curator.

Banksy, as seen in a press image from Exit Through the Gift Shop.

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 Wednesday, December 18.


Rembrandt and Van Gogh Inspire Names for a Planet and a Star – The Dutch were asked to suggest names for a planet outside the solar system as well as a star. Now, the International Astronomical Association has announced that the exoplanet will be called Night Watch and the star, Starry Night, after the famous paintings by Rembrandt and Van Gogh respectively. But before you feel too jealous of the Dutch commitment to art history, know that these names were actually the second most popular choices: first prize went to Nijntje and Moederpluis, names inspired by Dick Bruna’s cartoon rabbits. Those were nixed by the astronomical association because they fell foul of copyright law. (NLTimes)

Connecticut Museum Dedicates 2020 Program to Women – The Baltimore Museum isn’t the only art institution dedicating its 2020 program to female artists. The New Britain Museum of American Art in Connecticut announced it will do the same to mark the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment, which granted women the right to vote. The program—which the museum’s director says marks the beginning of “a long-term commitment” to increasing the representation of female artists—will include work by Kara Walker, Anni Albers, Shantell Martin, and Helen Frankenthaler. (Hartford Courant)

Steve Lazarides Reveals Why Banksy Has Never Been Arrested – Banksy’s former right-hand man, Steve Lazarides, who has just released a photography book of the elusive street artist at work, reveals how the artist has consistently evaded arrest. “The secret,” he tells the Guardian, “is hi-vis jackets and traffic cones. Nobody stops you if you have them.” (Guardian)

Protests in Australia Over Plans to Scrap Art Department – Backlash is growing against the Australian Prime Minister’s decision to ax the country’s art department. To prove the importance of art in people’s lives, campaigners are petitioning to remove all art from Australia’s Parliament House and are encouraging artists to postpone any live performances. Support for an online petition against the Prime Minister’s move has reached 34,000 signatories. The Australian government insists that moving federal arts funding into a department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, and Communications is an “opportunity” for artists. (SBS)


Kenny Schachter Sells Art to Offest Philbrick Losses – The collector and Artnet News columnist is selling 116 works in a Sotheby’s online auction dubbed “the Hoarder Sale,” which could bring in more than $700,000. Schachter says he had planned to downsize his 1,000-strong collection before the downfall of former business associate Inigo Philbrick. But now that the embattled dealer owes him “well over $1 million,” the need for some cash “took on some urgency, to say the least.” (The Art Newspaper)

Frieze Los Angeles Projects Announced – Frieze Los Angeles has announced the lineup for its projects section, which presents installations on the Paramount Studios backlot. The section, organized by Rita Gonzalez of LACMA and Pilar Tompkins Rivas of the Vincent Price Art Museum, will boast work by 16 artists including Will Boone, Tania Candiani, Sayre Gomez, Gary Simmons, Lorna Simpson, Tavares Strachan, and Mario García Torres. (Press release)

Art Cologne Announces 2020 Gallery Lineup – The company behind Art Cologne has announced some heavyweight exhibitors for the 2020 edition of the fair, including Hauser & Wirth, David Zwirner, and Thaddaeus Ropac. The news follows the announcement last week, that Koelnmesse would ax the other fair in its portfolio, Art Berlin. (Press release) 


Brazilian Museum Hires Its First Indigenous Curator – The Museu de Arte de São Paulo Assis Chateaubriand (MASP) has hired Sandra Benites as its new adjunct curator for Brazilian art. Benites, who is of Guarani Nhandewa heritage, is the first indigenous curator to join a major art museum in the country. (Artforum)

Pérez Art Museum Miami Gets a Christo Trove – PAMM trustee Maria Bechily and her partner, lawyer Scott Hodes, have gifted the museum 16 major works by Christo estimated to be worth around $3 million. (Hodes has also been Christo’s lawyer since the late ’60s.) The donated works include a mixed-media collage of Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s project to wrap the MCA Chicago, as well as a work from their Wrapped Reichstag. (Artforum)


Mellon Withdraws Grant Over Confederate Sculpture – The Mellon Foundation has cancelled a $1.5 million grant to the University of North Carolina that had been earmarked to help the university reckon with its “historic complicity with slavery, Jim Crow segregation, and memorialization of the Confederacy.” The foundation pulled the grant after the university relinquished its toppled Confederate monument, known as “Silent Sam,” to a neo-Confederate group, the Sons of Confederate Veterans, along with a $2.5 million settlement to fund its relocation and preservation. (Hyperallergic)

The Prado Re-Writes the Old Master Canon – The Madrid museum has organized a major exhibition of the work of two pioneering female Renaissance artists. Sofonisba Anguissola and Lavinia Fontana were both born in Italy and have long been overlooked by male art historians. But they share little else in common. Art critic Deborah Solomon questions why their paintings are mixed together in the show, writing, “You wonder if the curators at the Prado think that women need to team up to better confront the patriarchy.” (NYT)

The Eiffel Tower Closes Due to Strikes in France – The Paris monument was closed yesterday because of the massive strike action sweeping France, with people across the labor force protesting over pension reforms. Workers at the Eiffel Tower walked off the job yesterday to resist the raising of the retirement age and to protest other reforms to the welfare system that are being introduced by President Emmanuel Macron. (Courthouse News)

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