Art Industry News: French Politicians Want to Rename the Musée D’Orsay to Honor a Former President Who Died This Week + Other Stories

Plus, the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Latino takes a big step forward and Lithuania names its Venice Biennale pick.

A clock inside the Musée d'Orsay on April 19, 2016 in Paris, France. Photo by Thierry Chesnot/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 Friday, December 4.


Senate Rules Committee Moves Forward on Smithsonian Latino Museum – The public body has unanimously voted to approve the National Museum of the American Latino Act, a bill that would establish the museum on the National Mall. The next step is to bring the legislation to the full Senate for a final vote and then send it to the president’s desk. A museum celebrating the contributions of Latinos throughout US history is long overdue: the Smithsonian acknowledged back in 1994 that such collections are the most underrepresented across all of its museums. (Press release)

Lithuania Names Its Venice Biennale Pick – Robertas Narkus has been chosen to represent the European nation at the Venice Biennale in 2022. For his presentation, the multidisciplinary artist will create a functioning cooperative in one of the last remaining non-gentrified districts of Venice in collaboration with artists, scientists, local Venetian residents, and small businesses. Gut Feeling will be curated by Neringa Bumblienė and commissioned by the Contemporary Art Centre (CAC) in Vilnius. (Press release)

French Politicians Want to Rename the Musée D’Orsay – French politicians are vying for the Musée d’Orsay to change its name to honor the late former French president Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, who died earlier this week at age 94 after contracting COVID-19. The former president paved the way for the creation of the institution as well as the Cité des Sciences, and also granted Paris the power to elect its own mayor. (Le Parisien)

Tracey Emin and Edvard Munch Are an Art Pairing for the Ages – A long-awaited exhibition at London’s Royal Academy pairs the Norwegian Expressionist painter Edvard Munch with the provocative YBA Tracey Emin. Emin has been deeply influenced by Munch, and the pair share an incredibly high tolerance for pain. The New York Times writes that Emin’s unflinching expressions of anguish hit differently in light of her recent revelations about her battle with cancer: “Her work has always grappled with the vulnerability of life, but now the specter of mortality hangs low, and the poignancy of these pictures feels more acute.” (New York Times)


Online Shift May Be Built to Last – The latest Hiscox Online Art Trade Report found that many of the gains made by digital platforms during lockdown are likely to remain in place when the social-distancing era is over. Fifty-six percent of collectors surveyed consider the market’s shift to digital permanent—although only 15 percent said they preferred the online experience to in-person encounters. (Barron’s)

Guitars Used by Music Greats Sell Big at Auction – The “Icons & Idols Trilogy: Rock ‘n’ Roll” sale hosted by Julien’s Auctions brought in more than $400,000 for a trio of guitars played by Eddie Van Halen, the co-founder of his eponymous band who died in October at age 65. Other notable sales from the 900-lot auction included two Fender guitars Kurt Cobain smashed, which fetched $281,600, and Bob Marley’s guitar, the first ever to come to auction, which garnered $153,600. (Rolling Stone)


Carly Fiorina Named Chair of Colonial Williamsburg Board – The former CEO of Hewlett-Packard was elected to helm the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation’s board of trustees, which she has served on since 2017. Fiorina, who ran an unsuccessful presidential bid in 2016, will succeed Thurston R. Moore, who has held the position since 2018. (Press release)

Norton Museum of Art Appoints New Director – The Florida museum has named Ghislain d’Humières as its next director and CEO. Most recently, d’Humières served as director of the Speed Art Museum; before that, he worked as director of the Fred Jones Museum of Art at the University of Oklahoma. His first day at the Norton is January 18. (Press release)


A Phallus Sculpture Appears in the Bavarian Mountains – In other vanishing art news, a six-foot-tall wooden phallus-shaped statue erected on the Grünten mountain in Bavaria years ago mysteriously disappeared over the weekend. German police were dispatched to the site, which was dubbed a “cultural monument” on Google Maps, and found nothing but a pile of sawdust. Now, in a strange turn of events, a new, even larger statue of male nether-regions has cropped up in its place, with supporting wooden beams to boot. Monolith? We don’t know her. (Courthouse News

Emotional Art Class Date Sends Bachelorette Running From the Room in Tears – “Love is a lot like creating art. You have to really invest in yourself and be extremely open to the process,” an art instructor told Bachelorette Tayshia Adams and her suitors on this week’s group date. After some awkward figure drawing with nude models and blindfolded clay sculpting, the men were asked to create self-portraits that revealed something about their inner selves. The date culminated with Ben Smith’s dramatic decision to strip nude, telling Adams, “What you see is only a small part of who I am.” Deeply moved, Adams said “what an art day!” as she dashed outside to cry in private, before returning to tell the men how impressed she was by their vulnerability. Ah, the power of art! (ABC)

See the Courtyard of Palazzo Strozzi All Lit Up – A glowing beacon of hope by the Italian artist Marinella Senatore has been installed in the courtyard of the Palazzo Strozzi in Florence. The work is called We Rise By Lifting Others and is meant to emphasize the power of community in a time of social distancing. It will be accompanied by a program of workshops focused on social activation. (Press release)

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