Art Industry News: Are Auction Houses Burning Out Their Biggest Stars? + Other Stories

Plus, filmmaker Michel Gondry’s son is an art dealer now and Laure Provoust will sing a Brexit song to passengers in London's underground.

Christie's Loïc Gouzer with the Jean-Michel Basquiat painting that sold to Yusaku Maezawa for $57 million in 2016. Photo: KENA BETANCUR/AFP/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 Wednesday, December 19.


UNC Rejects Plan for Museum to House Confederate Statue – The board of governors at the University of North Carolina has voted down a proposal to build a $5.3 million museum on its Chapel Hill campus where the toppled Confederate monument known as “Silent Sam” could be preserved. The board chair, Harry Smith, said the board was worried about public safety, and acknowledged concerns about using public money to conserve a statue that’s been called “a monument to white supremacy.” The trustees are now considering other ways to preserve the statue, including looking at off-campus locations. (The Art Newspaper)

Artemisia Gentileschi’s Self-Portrait Goes on Display at the National Gallery – A rare self-portrait by the celebrated Baroque painter is now on view at the London institution. Self-Portrait as Saint Catherine of Alexandria was recently discovered before it was acquired by the National Gallery in 2017. Though questions about gaps in its provenance abound, they have been dismissed by the museum. A first-ever show in the UK of Gentileschi’s works is in the works at the National Gallery for 2020. (Press release)

On the Exodus of Talent from Auction Houses – The recent departures of Francis Outred and Loïc Gouzer from Christie’s has left some wondering whether these high-profile auction house executives are burning out from the pressure of today’s fast-paced, 24/7 art market. The result, in some cases, is even more competition for the auction houses, who will have to compete with alumni—many of whom go on to work privately—to advise top clients. As Melanie Gerlis notes, “this more boutique approach is reminiscent of the niche investment banks that emerged out of the bulge-bracket finance firms these past ten years.” (TAN)

Renzo Piano Picked to Design New Genoa Bridge – City officials in Genoa chose Renzo Piano’s design to replace an important city bridge that collapsed in August, killing 43 people. The famous architect donated the design—a steel bridge he promises “will last for 1,000 years”—for free to his hometown in September. The streamlined white structure will also incorporate some reference to boats, which are part of the local culture in the northern port city. The mayor has asked Piano to oversee its estimated $229 million construction by three Italian companies, Salini Impregilo, Fincantieri, and Italferr. (AFP)


Jho Low’s Yacht Goes on Sale – Malaysia is selling the art collector and fugitive financier’s luxury yacht at a discounted price of $130 million ($120 million less that what Low paid for it in 2014) after no one bid on it at auction on November 28. The luxury vessel (complete with a helipad and a Turkish bath, naturally) is among $1.7 billion in assets that the US is trying to seize. Prosecutors in Malaysia and the US claim Low conspired to misappropriate billions in funds from the Malaysian state fund, 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB). (Bloomberg)

Filmmaker Michel Gondry’s Son Has a Gallery in Brooklyn – Orient 15 is the name of an exclusive gallery in a Brooklyn townhouse established by Paul Gondry and Shelby Jackson. They have been organizing exhibitions, mostly of work by their artist friends, since 2016. Paul’s father, the filmmaker Michel Gondry, owns the building, and the gallery space used to be a living room. Visits are by appointment only. (Vulture)

Altman Siegel to Represent Richard Mosse – The San Francisco-based gallery now represents the Irish photographer. Mosse, who is best known for his work using military-grade thermal cameras to capture the refugee crisis across Europe, will have his first solo presentation with the gallery at FOG Fair in January 2019. (Press release)


Paris Goes Crazy for Its Digital Klimt Show – The immersive digital exhibition in France has drawn more than one million visitors, according to the organizers at L’Atelier des Lumières in Paris. The show features 140 massive projections of works by Austrian master Gustav Klimt. The inaugural exhibition will be followed by a show looking at Vincent Van Gogh. (Press release)

Dia Announces 2019 Program – New York’s Dia:Beacon has announced an ambitious program in Hudson, New York, for next year, while it begins renovating its Chelsea site. German artist Charlotte Posenenske will get her first US retrospective, while new acquisitions by Lee Ufan and Sam Gilliam will make their debut. (Press release)

Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum Restores Caravaggio’s Saint Catherine of AlexandriaOne of the most iconic works in the museum’s collection has undergone a major restoration, and now, the results and the methodology are on view in Madrid. The show includes a film about the restoration process, the museum’s most significant discoveries along the way, and interesting details from its X-ray and reflectograms. (Press release)


Laure Prouvost Sings a Brexit Song for Commuters – The Turner Prize-winning artist who is representing France in the Venice Biennale next year is planning to serenade passengers on the London Underground about Brexit as part of the 2019 Art on the Underground program. The theme for the commissioned works is the state of being “on edge” individually, collectively, politically, and socially in the run-up to the UK’s departure from the EU on March 29. Prouvost’s Brexit song will be performed with the Transport for London choir. (TAN)

Tania Bruguera Picks Her Top Art Moments of 2018 – The artist, who was recently released from jail and filed a lawsuit against the government, has selected her highlight of the year: the coming together of Cuban artists to oppose Decree 349, a new law trying to legalize artistic censorship. Bruguera also gives mention to Judson Dance Theater and Charles White’s exhibitions at New York’s MoMA, which remind her “of those times when artists were more innocent because art was not made for large institutions.” Her favorite discovery is the work of Bangladeshi photographer Shahidul Alam. (El Pais)

Fordham Upcycles the Met’s Reproduced Sistine Chapel – A reproduction of Michelangelo’s famous ceiling fresco has been acquired by Fordham University. The Met created a quarter-scale reproduction of the 1,754-square-foot masterpiece for its show “Michelangelo: Divine Draftsman and Designer.” (Fordham)

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.