Art Industry News: Two More European Art Fairs Are Rescheduling From March to May Over Public-Health Fears + Other Stories

Plus, a Tate curator is tapped to organize the next Gwangju Biennale, and a Spanish museum director gets acquitted of fraud charges.

Interior view of the Salon du Dessin, 2018. Photo: Tanguy de Montesson.

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 this Wednesday, December 22.


Museum Director Acquitted of Fraud – A Spanish court has acquitted the former director of the Institut Valencià d’Art Modern, Consuelo Ciscar, of embezzlement and fraud in a case concerning the museum’s acquisition of works by artist Gerardo Rueda that were fabricated posthumously by the artist’s son. The court ruled that the works were authentic and must be attributed to Rueda, who had authorized his son to alter the dimensions and materials of his work after death. The son, José Luis Rueda, and the museum’s former CFO, Juan Carlos Lledó, were also acquitted. (El País)

Museum Directors on the Front Lines of U.K. ‘Culture Wars’ – Directors of some of the U.K.’s leading museums are worried that research highlighting their imperial and colonial histories—which has become an expectation of younger audiences—will alienate some of their longtime patrons. “There’s a sense that our traditional National Gallery is being overtaken by unwelcome forces,” director Gabriele Finaldi complained to the Telegraph. “The word ‘woke’ comes up a lot.” Directors feel they are caught between different worlds and are struggling to navigate the terrain. (Telegraph)

More European Fairs Give Up on Early 2022 – Following the postponement of BRAFA and TEFAF, Paris fairs Salon du Dessin and Drawing Now are giving up on early 2022 and shifting their dates from March to May with the hope that by then the disruption caused by the Omicron variant will have calmed down. The older drawing fair (which we’re now calling Drawing Later, get it?) has been rescheduled for May 18 through 23 at the Palais Brongniart; the contemporary drawing fair will run from May 19 to 22. (Le Journal des Arts)

Descendant of Enslaved Person Gives Evidence in Colston Trial – A statement written by a descendant of an enslaved person was read during the trial of the Colston 4, activists accused of criminal damage for toppling a sculpture of a slave trader in Bristol last year. Gloria Daniel said it was “shameful” that the statue had remained in place for so long, and expressed “relief” that it was toppled. “The world had witnessed the public execution of George Floyd and we had finally arrived at a place in history where people would no longer tolerate the continuing dehumanization of Black people,” she said. (Bristol Live)


Tate Curator to Organize the Gwangju Biennale – Sook-Kyung Lee, Tate Modern’s senior curator of international art, has been tapped as artistic director of the (recently postponed) Gwangju Biennale in South Korea. The biennial, due to open in April 2023, will focus on “Gwangju Spirit” while respecting “racial, cultural, and historical diversity.” Lee is the first curator to helm the exhibition solo since 2006. (ARTnews)

Ford Foundation Invests in Film – The Ford Foundation’s social-justice documentary initiative, JustFilms, has donated $20 million this year to 122 independent filmmakers exploring different perspectives and ways of storytelling. Projects addressing confederate monuments, repatriation, and ableism are among those supported by the grants. (Hyperallergic)

Ontario Museum Hires Climate Change Curator – The Royal Ontario Museum has hired a climate curator, a title unique in North America and perhaps the world. Conservation biologist Soren Brothers will take up the new role overseeing programming, research, and communications on climate change and its impact. (Hyperallergic)

Boston to Require Vaccination to Access Museums – From January 15, indoor venues—including museums—in Boston will require visitors to show proof of vaccination. Similar rules are in place in New York. (The Hill)


Nelson-Atkins Acquires Rare Daguerreotype – The Nelson-Atkins Museum in Kansas City, Missouri, has acquired one of the earliest-known U.S.-made daguerrotypes, a profile portrait by American inventor Henry Fitz, Jr. The 1840 work is joining the museum as part of a wider acquisition of 27 objects relating to early photographs. (The Art Newspaper)

Henry Fitz Jr. (American, 1808-1863), Profile View, early 1840, ninth plate daguerreotype.

Henry Fitz Jr. (American, 1808–63), Profile View, early 1840, ninth plate daguerreotype.

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