Art Industry News: Shirin Neshat Speaks Out About the Ethical Contradictions of the ‘Free-Market’ Art World + Other Stories

Plus, Pantone picks coral pink as the new color of the year and teamLab's Tokyo Museum welcomed its one-millionth visitor.

Shirin Neshat, courtesy of Da Ping Luo.

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 Thursday, December 6.


A Million People Have Already Visited teamLab’s Tokyo Museum— In just five months since the art collective teamLab opened the first digital art museum, in Tokyo’s Mori Building, the space has already welcomed one million visitors. In a special ceremony, the millionth visitor, an Australian woman named Nikky Parker, received a “Borderless Passport,” which gives her lifetime free entry into all teamLab Borderless events. (Press release)

The British Museum Will Stage the Largest Manga Show Outside Japan –The Japanese comic art form is getting its largest dedicated exhibition outside of its homeland next year at the British Museum. “The Citi Exhibition: Manga,” which is set to run from May 23 to August 26, 2019, will digitally recreate the oldest surviving manga bookshop in the London institution (viewers will be able to take books off the shelf); an 1880 Shintomiza Kabuki theater curtain will also be on view, a backdrop that was made by Manga pioneer Kawanabe Kyosai. The University Theater Museum in Tokyo said this is the last time the work will travel. (Financial Times)

Shirin Neshat on the Value and Danger of Political Art  US-based Iranian artist Shirin Neshat shares her opinion on the “thin red line” for political art, one that she finds herself crossing at times. Referencing recent controversies like Dana Schutz’s Open Casket painting, depicting murdered black teen Emmett Till, or Ai Weiwei’s refugee-focused film Human Flow, Neshat wonders if “perhaps the problem resides in our hegemonic system, in which Western free-market consumerism and its cultural production machinery run rampant throughout the practice of art.” (New York Times)

Satanists Install a Sculpture in Illinois’s Statehouse – To celebrate the holiday season, a Satanic Temple has placed a statue in a government building in Illinois’s state capital of Springfield. Called Snaketivity, the work depicts a snake wrapped around an arm holding an apple with the words “Knowledge Is the Greatest Gift” on the plinth. The work stands alongside a Christmas tree and a menorah. (BBC)


Art Dealers Are Worried About a New US Sales Tax – Currently, inter-state sales of art are not subject to the import state’s sales tax, but that could change with an incoming ruling from the US Supreme Court. Dealers expressed anxiety over the issue at the preview days of Art Basel Miami Beach yesterday. The pressure is on if collectors do not want to walk out of the fair with a work, and the burden may fall on smaller galleries that can’t afford to pay for legal expertise during this complicated transition time. (The Art Newspaper)

TEFAF New York Exhibitor List Announced  – Some 90 exhibitors, including 12 new participants, will show at the New York edition of the fair in 2019. Pace Gallery, Almine Rech Gallery, Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, and Sprüth Magers are some of the major galleries that are entering for the first time. The fair is set to take place from May 3 through 7. (Press release)

The KAWS Effect Is Taking Over Miami Beach – The line was long yesterday at the booth of Pace Prints as collectors lined up to try to nab an edition of Brooklyn artist KAWS’s new triptych Last Time, Alone Again & Far Far Dawn, which was being offered for $65,000. There was so much hype that the gallery decided to do a lottery to decide who would get a work. (Bloomberg)


The Designer Who Brought Us the 3D View-Master Has Died – Charles Harrison, the industrial designer who shaped the 3D View-Master among many other domestic objects, has died at age 87. In 1961, he became the first African American to become an executive at Sears, Roebuck & Company, rising to be its chief product designer. (NYT)

The Inaugural Otazu Prize Awarded at Untitled – The Argentinian artist José Luis Landet has won the inaugural Otazu Art Prize. His work at the booth of Madrid gallery NF/Nieves Fernandez at the Untitled fair in Miami Beach will enter the collection of the Fundacion Otazu in Navarra, Spain. Landet will also design a label for the Otazu winery. (ARTnews)

An Eco-Friendly Arts Center Opens in the Yucatan Forest – The founder of a luxury resort near Tulum in Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula has added an art space to his eco-friendly complex. Eduardo Neira, who is better known by the name Roth, designed Azulik Uh May, which houses works by Ernesto Neto, Paulo Nazareth, and Oskar Metsavaht, along with a recording studio. (Press release)


An English Mayor Rejects a Gainsborough Portrait Bristol’s Lord Mayor has replaced a portrait of an aristocrat who profited from the African slave trade with a new painting of a African American woman. Gainsborough painted Lord Nugent, who was a leading member of the African Company of Merchants. In its place now hangs the Bristol-based artist Helen Wilson-Roe’s painting of Henrietta Lacks, whose cells were used by medical researchers after she died of cancer. (Bristol Post)

Sydney’s $15 Million Sculpture Could be Scrapped – Cloud Arch, a monumental loop of steel designed by the artist Junya Ishigami, looks like it will be cancelled. Politicians vote on whether to scrap the 190-foot-tall sculpture after costs doubled and a new transport system in the Australian city will cause further delays. (Sydney Morning Herald)

Pantone Names ‘Living Coral’ the Color of 2019 – Pantone has named a bright but soothing pink called Living Coral the color of 2018. Leatrice Eiseman, the executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, explained that the company traveled the world for clues in “art exhibits and films and, of course, fashion,” before choosing the optimistic hue to supersede last year’s Ultra Violet. The company launched its choice with a pop-up in South Beach, naturally. (Guardian)




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