Art Industry News: The Man Who Sifted Through Gerhard Richter’s Garbage for Art Will Defend Himself in Court + Other Stories

Plus, Yayoi Kusama's Thanksgiving Day parade balloon gets grounded and the Baltimore Museum's pledge to female artists is met with skepticism.

Garbage cans in Cologne, Germany. (Photo by: Bildagentur-online/Universal Images Group via 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 know on this Tuesday, December 3.


Are Art Museums Getting Too Crowded? – Blockbuster shows have long been an ordeal for visitors, but the scourge of overcrowding is worse than ever, according to the Guardian’s Sirin Kale. She upset at London’s art museums, which stuff their galleries with people who have paid as much as $25 a pop—and she is not alone. One visitor to the King Tut show at Saatchi Gallery left after witnessing a scuffle between two people jostling for a better view of a sarcophagus. When asked, art museums stress that visitor numbers are kept within safe levels and demand at the box office is carefully managed. But an unnamed Tate staffer admits that today, publicly funded museums are businesses like any other that want to make money. (Guardian)

Calvin Tomkins on David Hammons – The artist grants a rare interview to the New Yorker‘s Calvin Tomkins—but he won’t allow their conversation to be recorded. “We sat around a small table, and because our conversation was random, and unrecorded, and at times a bit arcane, the parts I remember may not be the ones that needed remembering,” Tomkins writes. But nevertheless, he captures the artist’s ability to enchant and his dedication to building a myth around himself—one that he understands we desire. Hauser & Wirth’s Los Angeles director recalls watching Hammons sitting on a bench in the gallery’s garden ahead of his major exhibition there. “When I asked what he was doing, he said, ‘I want to know what kind of medicine they need,'” she recalled. (New Yorker

Man Who Sifted Richer’s Garbage Appeals His Conviction – The man who was fined for taking sketches by Gerhard Richter from the artist’s garbage is appealing his conviction. In April, a court in Cologne found the 50-year-old man guilty of theft. He was fined €3,150 (nearly $3,500) for scavenging artworks with the intention of selling them. The artist was alerted to the scam when the man approached the Gerhard Richter Archive in Dresden to authenticate the drawings. The latest hearing is due to take place today, December 3. (Monopol)

The Baltimore Museum’s Pledge Is Met With Skepticism – The Baltimore Museum of Art’s announcement that it would acquire only works by female artists in 2020 grabbed headlines. But some wonder how much difference 12 months and $2 million will make, given the historic imbalance of the collection (and, indeed, museum collections around the world). Just 4 percent of the museum’s 95,000 works of art and objects were made by women, leading some skeptics to wonder whether museum director Chris Bedford’s pledge is tantamount to tokenism. Donna Drew Sawyer, the chief executive officer of Baltimore’s arts council, asks: “Why did a male’s call to action seem to resonate so loudly in this instance when women are the subject and have been calling for the same action forever?” (City Paper)


Batman and Robin Costumes Hit the Auction Block – Collector John Azarian is selling a pair of original Batman and Robin outfits—but they come with a string attached. The collector insists that the costumes remain a dynamic duo. The lot is expected to sell for up to $200,000 as part of a sale of his TV memorabilia collection at the Profiles in History auction house on December 17. (NY Post)

Dan Flavin’s Light Sculpture for Donal Judd Sells for $5 Million – In an unusual press announcement about a sale from a gallery exhibition, David Zwirner revealed it had sold Flavin’s Untitled (1970), which the artist first installed in his friend Donald Judd’s Spring Street home. The work was purchased by a collector for $5 million. It is currently on view at David Zwirner’s Flavin show in Paris. (Press release)


Leslie-Lohman Museum Hires New Curator – The Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art in New York has hired the curator and art historian Stamatina Gregory as its new director of curatorial programs. Gregory, who has organized shows at the ICA Philadelphia and the Venice Biennale, will take up the new post on January 6. (Artforum)

Tracey Emin Creates New Work for Jupiter Artland – The YBA is mounting a show of brand new work at collector Nicky Wilson‘s Edinburgh sculpture park, Jupiter Artland. Emin will show new paintings and drawings as well as a new bronze sculpture in the show, which is slated to open next June. (Scotsman)


Kusama’s Balloon Couldn’t Fly – Despite successful test runs, Yayoi Kusama’s much-talked-about art balloon for Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade never ended up leaving the staging area. A spokesperson for the parade explained that poor weather conditions meant that some of the balloons—including Kusama’s—tore during overnight inflation. (Hyperallergic)

Alabama Welcomes Its Rosa Parks Statue – A new statue of the civil rights activist Rosa Parks has been unveiled in Montgomery, Alabama, on Sunday. The bronze sculpture was inaugurated on the 64th anniversary of Parks’s 1955 arrest, which sparked the Montgomery bus boycott, an important part of the civil rights movement. (AP)

Virgil Abloh Unveils His Latest Collaboration – Virgil Abloh is collaborating with the French crystal company Baccarat on an exhibition to coincide with Art Basel Miami Beach. Abloh announced the exhibition “Crystal Clear” on Instagram, teasing a Baccarat crystal chain-link, among other shiny objects. (Hypebeast)

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