Art Industry News: Damien Hirst Loves That You Hated His Over-the-Top Venice Show + More Must-Read Stories

Plus, art historians sign a letter supporting the removal of racist monuments and the feds want to confiscate Martin Shkreli's Wu-Tang album.

Damien Hirst in 2013. Photo: Mireya Acierto/Getty Images for Soho Beach House.

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 Monday, December 4.


The Feds Want Martin Shkreli’s Wu-Tang Album – Authorities are looking to seize $7.3 million in forfeitures from the disgraced pharmaceutical CEO. Luckily, he has a few pricey objets d’art, including a Picasso painting and the Wu-Tang Clan’s one-of-a-kind album Once Upon a Time in Shaolin, for which he paid a hefty $2 million in 2015. (The Art Newspaper)

More Than 120 Scholars Protest Racist Monuments – In a letter to New York’s advisory commission on art and monuments, a group featuring the prominent art historians Lucy Lippard, Claire Bishop, and Hal Foster and the artist Martha Rosler, among many others, has advocated for the removal of statues dedicated to Christopher Columbus, J. Marion Sims, and Teddy Roosevelt. (Hyperallergic)

Damien Hirst Says He Sold More than $300 Million in Venice – The reviews of his Venice exhibition “Treasures of the Wreck of the Unbelievable” may have been dismal, but the show has garnered an estimated $330 million in sales, according to Hirst. (It cost $65 million to produce.) As for those critical slams? “As an artist, the best you can hope for is people arguing, mixed reviews,” Hirst says. “If everyone loves or everyone hates it, you’re in trouble.” (Vulture)

documenta 14 Artists Write Second Letter in Support – After first putting their names to a letter defending the show’s artistic director Adam Szymczyk, 74 artists who participated in documenta 14 have now written a second letter in retroactive support of the controversial—and expensive—choice to expand this year’s presentation to Athens. (Artforum)


Robert Colescott Estate Joins Blum & Poe – The gallery will represent the estate of the late painter, who was the first black artist to have a solo show at the Venice Biennale’s US pavilion in 1997. Colescott will be included in a show at the Seattle Art Museum next February titled “Figuring History: Robert Colescott, Kerry James Marshall, Mickalene Thomas.” (ARTnews)

Lisson Adds Two Artists – The race for estates continues as Lisson Gallery adds those of monochrome painter Ted Stamm and Italian minimalist Antonio Calderara to its roster. Stamm will have a solo show at Lisson’s New York space in March; Calderara’s estate will make its debut at the gallery in London in January. (Press release)

London Art Fair Releases 2018 Exhibitor ListThe fair has announced the 131 participants in its 30th edition, to be held between January 17 and 21. The fair has a history as a platform for discovery; Chris Ofili and Jenny Saville were tapped as “rising stars” in its 1996 iteration. In 2018, the fair will partner with Art UK to exhibit some of the country’s publicly owned art. (Press release)


V&A Helps Open a Design Society in Shenzhen – The Victoria and Albert Museum in London and China Merchants Shekou have joined forces to open the $200 million Design Society in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen. The venue, which has four galleries featuring V&A loans, is part of the Fumihiko Maki-designed Sea World Culture and Arts Center. (TAN)

Vincent Honoré Will Serve as Curatorial Advisor for Independent Brussels – The curator has been busy since leaving his position at David Roberts Art Foundation in October. He is now senior curator at London’s Hayward Gallery, which will reopen after a two-year revamp in January, and has taken on the role of guest curator at the Independent Brussels art fair. (Financial Times)

Journalist Who Sparked Tate Bricks Controversy Has Died – The investigative journalist Colin Simpson has died at age 86. Simpson’s great art scoop, in 1976, was spotting that the Tate had paid £3,000 ($4,000) for Carl Andre’s Equivalent VIII, provoking media and moral outrage. He also exposed the tricks of the Old Master trade in his 1987 book, “The Artful Partners: Secret Association of Bernard Berenson and Joseph Duveen.” (The Times)


Kerry James Marshall on His Public Sculpture The artist best known for his paintings discusses a planned monument in Des Moines, Iowa, to the 12 black lawyers who founded the National Bar Association in 1924. Due to be unveiled next spring, a decade after it was first commissioned, A Monumental Journey is a 25-ton, 30-foot-tall black sculpture inspired by a West Yoruba talking drum. (ARTnews)

In Miami, How Many Museums Is Enough? – As the billionaire-backed ICA Miami opens in the city’s Design District, the Times checks out the finances of South Florida’s many private and public art institutions, including the Pérez Art Museum Miami, the Bass Museum, and the planned American Museum of the Cuban Diaspora. (NYT)

New Athens Museum Prepares to Open – Greece’s beleaguered National Museum of Contemporary Art in Athens is due finally to open in full next year, two years after its “soft” opening. This summer, works from the collection were shown in Kassel for documenta 14. A promised grant of $3.6 million from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation will allow the collection to be displayed back home in Athens. (TAN)

Meet El Museo Del Barrio’s New Director – El Museo del Barrio’s new director, the Mexico-born curator Patrick Charpenel, says he will “try to avoid idealizing our histories and our cultures” as the New York institution founded to celebrate Puerto Rican cultural life continues to broaden its mission to show the work of Latino, Caribbean, and Latin American artists. (NYT)


A revered artist who passed away last year, Thornton Dial was the son of an Alabama sharecropper who became renowned as a master synthesist of hardscrabble materials, fusing bone, scrap meta, fabric, and other detritus into glorious assemblages redolent of the American South. Here, in honor of his powerful work as well as the 28th anniversary of Bill Lowe Gallery, watch a video exploring the manifold textures of Dial’s surfaces, which can now be admired in the Metropolitan Museum of Art and other major institutions.

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.
Article topics