Art Industry News: Victoria Beckham Is Hosting a Feminist Old Masters Show in London + Other Stories

Plus, MoMA PS1's art handlers are demanding equal pay and New York Times critics appraise the year in art.

Victoria Beckham with paintings by Lucas Cranach the Elder and Circle of Leonardo da Vinci. Photo: Chris Floyd.

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 Friday, December 7.


New York Times Critics Assess the Year in Art – The Times‘s art critics—Roberta Smith, Holland Cotter, and Jason Farago—name the 2018 winners and losers. Shows that revised the art canon received the most plaudits, including Hilma af Klint at the Guggenheim and Adrian Piper’s “un-MoMA” show at MoMA. They also praised some big stories in the art world, such as France’s “momentous” report in favor of returning looted art to Africa and Julian Schnabel’s “outstanding” Van Gogh film. Low points included Banksy’s shredding stunt at Sotheby’s and the Met’s “egregious” $25 admission charge for non-New York visitors. (New York Times)

“Decolonize” Protestors Head to the Whitney – The activist group Decolonize This Place has joined the protest against the Whitney’s vice chairman, Warren B. Kanders, for his financial stake in tear-gas manufacturer Safariland. For a protest planned for this Sunday the organization has produced materials with the collective MTL+ linking Safariland to the Whitney’s Andy Warhol survey, which Kanders helped fund. (ARTnews)

Victoria Beckham Hosts a Show of Female Old Masters – Sotheby’s and the Spice Girl-turned-fashion designer have teamed up once again. Victoria Beckham’s flagship store in London is presenting works by female Old Masters—from Angelika Kauffmann to Elisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun, Fede Galizia, and Marie-Victoire Lemoine—that are on display as part of the show titled “Female Triumphant,” through December 10. The show (and Beckham herself) will head to New York for the sale at Sotheby’s in January. (Vogue UK)

MoMA PS1 Art Handlers Demand Equal Pay – When MoMA organized a two-part Bruce Nauman show to take place between the museum and its outpost in Queens, MoMA PS1, the art handlers in Manhattan got $47 an hour while their colleagues at PS1 got a maximum of $30 an hour. Union representative Robert Wilson says PS1 workers deserve the same pay “or close” to MoMA’s. Members have been demonstrating outside of MoMA PS1 as contract negotiations take place. The museum said it was confident an “amicable resolution” would be reached. (ARTnews)


The Art-Secured Loans Business Is Booming – Collectors love to borrow against their art in the US, where some 80 percent of the art-secured lending business takes place, according to writer Georgina Adam. The loans are also getting bigger, sometimes in the hundreds of millions,  and the business is growing especially “dramatically” among Latin American and Asian collectors. (The Art Newspaper)

Walmart Will Acquire – Walmart is buying the world’s largest online seller of art and wall decor,, which is reported to have a $300 million annual turnover. Around 25 percent of its customers use its virtual “ArtView” feature to see what a work of art would look like on their walls before they buy it, Walmart’s head of online sales Anthony Soohoo said. (CNBC)

Sotheby’s Sinatra Sale Tops $7 Million – Bidders were keen to snap up works of art owned—or, in some cases, made—by Frank and Barbara Sinatra, with 98 percent of lots sold so far. The total of the 120-lot sale is expected to top the  $7.8 million mark. (Art Daily)

Art Cologne Announces Exhibitor List – The preeminent German art fair is trimming down to focus on “concentrated quality,” cutting the number of participants from 200 galleries in 2018 to 176 next year. David Zwirner, Hauser & Wirth, and Thaddaeus Ropac will all return, while Continua and Daniel Templon are among new additions. (Press release)


A Rediscovered Mantegna Goes Up at the National Gallery – Two panels of a single work by the early Renaissance painter Andrea Mantegna have been reunited for the first time in possibly 500 years. The Resurrection of Christ (1492) was in Italy since the 19th century and only recently reattributed to the artist. The bottom half, The Descent of Christ Into Limbo, is on loan to the National Gallery from a private collector. (Press release)

A New York Street Photography Pioneer Has Died  – Sy Kattelson, who captured the everyday life of New York City since the 1940s, has died at age 95. He was a member of the Photo League and became renowned for his intimate portrayals of transient street life. (NYT)

ICA LA’s Director Will Step Down in 2019 – Elsa Longhauser, who helped turn the Santa Monica Museum of Art into the Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, in 2015, will resign from her post as director in the middle of next year. “I just think it’s the right moment to pass the leadership to the next generation,” she told the Los Angeles Times(Los Angeles Times


The Smithsonian Will Open Its First Latino Gallery – A new gallery set to open in 2021 will host bilingual exhibitions focused on Latinos in the US. The announcement comes amid calls for a Latino Museum in Washington, DC. (The Washington Post)

Museum in Opioid-Struck Town Supports Families Hurt by Addiction – The Currier Museum of Art in Manchester, New Hampshire, has launched a new program for those affected by the opioid crisis, which killed approximately 72,000 Americans in 2017. Called The Art of Hope, it aims to provide coping mechanisms for families through art. Nearly a quarter of the fatal drug overdoses in 2015 occurred in Manchester. (Hyperallergic)

Olafur Eliasson Ships Melting Icebergs to London – The artist will present a melting block of glacial ice at Tate Modern and outside of Bloomberg’s European headquarters. Ice Watch will launch December 11 as world leaders meet for a major climate change conference in Poland. The blocks, which are being transported from Greenland, follow previous Ice Watch installations in Copenhagen and Paris. (Press release)

Harvesting ice at Nuuk Port and Harbour, Greenland. © Olafur Eliasson.



Mark Borghi Fine Art
Art Miami – Through December 9th
Booth AM413


Perle Fine’s A Mounting Secrecy, ca. 1970. Image courtesy of Mark Borghi Gallery.

This week, veteran Palm Beach gallery Mark Borghi is presenting a stunning array of paintings by female artists of the Abstract Expressionist era, from Elaine de Kooning and Mercedes Matter to Charlotte Park, Hedda Sterne, and Helen Frankenthaler. The gallery is also offering a rare Giacometti sculpture, a female nude from 1949, that hasn’t been seen for the past 30 years.

Giacometti’s Petite Femme Nue Debout, 1949. Courtesy of Mark Borghi Gallery.

Elaine de Kooning’s Man in Hiding, 1956. Courtesy of Mark Borghi Gallery.

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