Art Industry News: Oprah Joins Forces With Agnes Gund to Sell Art for an All-Girls School + Other Stories

Plus, the Venice Architecture Biennale names its curator and Mark Bradford transmits a Morse code message with a new public sculpture.

Oprah Winfrey. Courtesy of Kevin Winter/Getty Images for NAACP Image Awards.

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 Thursday, December 20.


How People Are Turning Online Harassment Into Art – Some victims of cyberbullying are turning their experiences into art to raise awareness of the kind of harassment that exists online. Haley Morris-Cafiero is one such artist. In her latest series, the photographer and photography professor dresses up like the profile pictures of her bullies and creatively incorporates their negative comments into the portraits. Often, the harassers-as-muses are not aware of her appropriation, but that is beside the point for Morris-Cafiero, who is more interested in exploring the current state of online performance. (WIRED)

Baltimore Museum Acquires New Works With Deaccession Funds – The Baltimore Museum has added 48 works to its collection, including four acquired with proceeds from its controversial sale of work by white male artists earlier this year. The new acquisitions acquired with funds generated by the auction are: Melvin Edwards’s barbed wire-and-chain sculpture Scales of Injustice (2017), Meleko Mokgosi’s painting Acts of Resistance I (2018), Senga Nengudi’s braided nylon sculpture R.S.V.P. Reverie-0 (2015), and Carrie Mae Weems’s photograph of two black girls, May Flowers (2002). (Press release)

Oprah and Agnes Gund Team Up to Sell Art For Miss Porter’s – The all-girls prep school in Farmhouse, Connecticut, is getting some celebrity leadership for its upcoming art sale at Sotheby’s on March 1, which will raise money for the prestigious institution’s financial-aid program. “By Women, for Tomorrow’s Women” is being marketed as the first all-female-artist benefit auction at a major auction house. The sale will include work by more than 25 artists, including Cecily Brown, Jenny Holzer, and Carmen Herrera. Agnes Gund, an alumna of Miss Porter’s, and Oprah Winfrey will serve as honorary chairwomen for the sale. (New York Times)

Moscow Residents Protest Garage Museum’s New Sponsor – A petition on calling for the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art to end its sponsorship deal with the Russian property developer PIK is gaining traction in Moscow. The developer has been accused of building high-rise buildings around the city that are, in some cases, environmentally unsound for residents. (One building was erected close to a landfill.) PIK currently provides museum membership cards to new home buyers. (The Art Newspaper)


UK Museums Acquire $34 Million of Art in Tax Scheme – A group of 76 ceramics by Picasso collected by the late actor and film director Richard Attenborough and his wife have been acquired by a museum in his hometown of Leicester in the English Midlands. They are part of a trove of art worth £27 million ($34 million) accepted by the UK government as part of tax settlements. Works range from Old Masters to a Damien Hirst from his manager Frank Dunphy’s collection. (Museums Journal)

Brooklyn’s 315 Gallery Moves and Gets a New Name – The downtown Brooklyn-based gallery will move to the Lower East Side, around the corner from Reena Spaulings Fine Art and Sargent’s Daughters, in January. The gallery will double its square footage when it opens at 173 Henry Street and also get a new name, trading in 315 Gallery for the name of its director, Jack Barrett. (ARTnews)

Sotheby’s Books and Manuscripts Auctions Make $6.1 Million – A series of six live and online sales of nearly 700 rare books and manuscripts achieved a total of $6.1 million at Sotheby’s this month. Among the highlights: a contract dissolving the Beatles as a band, which sold for $118,750, and the first book that ever described a stock exchange from 1688 ($375,000). Another top lot was a recently discovered manuscript by poet John Donne, which sold for $595,315, setting a new high mark for a price achieved by the auction house in an online-only sale. (Press release)


Curator Named for 2020 Venice Architecture Biennale – The Beirut- and Boston-based architect Hashim Sarkis will organize the next Venice Architecture Biennale. Sarkis, who is the dean of the School of Architecture at MIT, leads an award-winning practice best known for its housing projects. The biennial will run from May 23 to November 29, 2020. (Designboom)

Remai Modern’s Director Heads Home – Gregory Burke, who oversaw the transformation of Saskatoon’s Mendel Art Gallery into the 130,000-square-foot Modern art museum Remai Modern, is leaving Canada. He will step down in March 2019 to return to New Zealand, where he will become the director of Auckland Art Gallery. (Press release)

Beirut Museum Names Announces Its Architect – The Beirut Museum of Art has announced that the Lebanese architect Amale Andraos and WORKac, the firm she co-founded, will design the new institution. BeMA is due to open by 2023 on a site that formerly marked a dividing line during the Lebanese civil war. (Press release)


How Digital Photography Will Change Radically – Photography is about to go through some serious evolution in the next decade, thanks to two important advancements in camera technology. Mirrorless cameras allow companies to do away with a long-held reflective device, enabling the development of an even smaller high-quality camera. Meanwhile, computational photography, which uses processors to improve an image, allows smartphones to take increasingly sharp photos. Both advancements will tighten the arms race between phone manufacturers and camera companies. (CNET)

Artist Adds Kanders Protest to Whitney Performance – American performer and playwright Sibyl Kempson is giving out posters designed by the activist group Decolonize This Place at the Whitney in solidarity with the group’s protest against the museum’s vice chair Warren B. Kanders. The flyers are available for the taking outside the museum’s theater, where Kempson has been conducting an ongoing performance, 12 Shouts to the Ten Forgotten Heavens, this week. (ARTnews)

Tim Burton Will Organize His Own Las Vegas Retrospective – The filmmaker and animator behind Beetlejuice will organize a retrospective of his work—the first in the US in around a decade—at Las Vegas’s Neon Museum. The show, which is due to open in October 2019, will include new work as well as previously exhibited pieces and will extend outside the museum to the park across the street. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)

Mark Bradford Creates a Tall Sculpture With a Powerful Message – The LA-based artist has unveiled a sculpture on the La Jolla campus of University of California, San Diego, that sends a message in Morse code. A lamp blinks on top of a 195-foot-poll transmitting the first message ever sent by electric telegraph: “What Hath God Wrought.” The latest addition to the institution’s Stuart Collection, the sculpture contains 300 LED lights that can be adjusted for intensity and color, shining brighter on sunny days and dimmer at night. (LA TimesSan Diego Community News)



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