Art Industry News: Over $100 Million of a Late Sports Mogul’s Fortune Will Help Revitalize Upstate New York’s Art Museums + Other Stories

Plus, Sotheby's and Bonhams face calls to withdraw antiquities from planned sales, and Italy moves to clamp down on museum ticket scalpers.

The late Ralph C. Wilson circa 2011 in Rochester, New York. (Photo by NFL 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 7.


On the Future of Art in the Metaverse – Critic Dean Kissick reflects on the way the company formerly known as Facebook re-introduced itself to the world with promotional videos involving A.R. street art and a visit to the Cleveland Museum of Art. One thing is clear, he writes: Mark Zuckerberg “has no idea what he’s making or selling.” And having no idea what you are selling is “bad for a company but not for artists, who flourish with an open brief.” Kissick suggests that artists need to wrest the metaverse from the hands of technologists and help dream up new aesthetics. (New York Times Magazine)

Jorge Pérez Is Not Into NFTs – At a Bloomberg panel in Miami, the mega-collector and real-estate kingpin said he didn’t understand all this “new art” and won’t be buying NFTs. Ark Investment Management’s Cathie Wood, also on the panel, disagreed and called NFTs “the greatest thing to happen to artists” and a “thing of beauty” like other art. Time will tell! (Bloomberg)

Late Sports Mogul Leaves $200 Million to Museums – A foundation established by the late American sports magnate Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. has pledged $200 million to support museums in upstate New York and Detroit. The gift will come in the form of annual donations of between $100,000 and $500,000 to 13 of the largest art institutions in the region, including the Buffalo AKG Art Museum, the Detroit Institute of Arts, and the Shea Performing Art Center. (ARTnews)

Antiquities Up for Auction Could Be Illegally Sourced – Christos Tsirogiannis, an archaeologist and thorn in the side of auction houses everywhere, claims that two lots in upcoming sales at Sotheby’s and Bonhams were illegally excavated. He says he has images that tie the objects to discredited dealers linked to the illicit trade of antiquities. Bonhams and Sotheby’s said they have no knowledge of any checkered history associated with the objects, a pair of decorative Etruscan bronze attachments and a Sardinian bronze boat-shaped lamp. (Guardian)


San Antonio Museum of Art Names New Director – One of the many museum director vacancies in the U.S. has been filled. Emily Ballew Neff, who previously served as executive director of the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, will take up her new role at the helm of the San Antonio Museum on January 18. (Artfix Daily)

Italy Moves to Block Museum Ticket Scalpers – Scalpers in Florence are reselling standard adult tickets to the Uffizi and the Galleria dell’Accademia for as much as four times their original price of €16 (just under $18). As tourism slowly returns to the museums in Italy, the institutions are trying to put a stop to the scam by encouraging the government to create and enforce a nationwide law against ticket resales. (TAN)

Artnet Auctions Plans Buy Now Sale – Artnet Auctions is launching In Technicolor, its inaugural “Buy Now” sale on the platform. In partnership with Tchotchke Gallery, a digital gallery committed to showcasing promising artists, In Technicolor will feature 13 unique paintings by seven vibrant artists at approachable fixed price points. You can explore the sale preview here—artworks will be available for purchase online starting Thursday, December 9. (Press release)


Natural History Museum’s T-Rex Gets a Christmas Sweater – Truly, what else could get you more into the holiday spirit than a picture of the animatronic Tyrannosaurus Rex at London’s Natural History Museum in a festive Christmas sweater? Produced by a family-run design studio in Leicester, the sweater was its biggest job yet and took 100 hours to complete. Human-sized versions of the same sweater are available for purchase at the museum gift shop. (BBC)

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