Art Industry News: The Brooklyn Museum Has Hired a Powerhouse Obama Administration Alumna as Its New COO + Other Stories

Plus, Steve McQueen makes a deeply personal PSA for British television and Christie's first on-chain NFT sale fails to ignite.

KP Trueblood. Photo by Ezra Mechaber.

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 Thursday, December 9.


Christie’s First On-Chain NFT Sale Was Meh – Christie’s first NFT auction on the OpenSea platform totaled 862.5 ETH ($3.6 million)—middling results compared to previous NFT sales organized by the house, despite “Gateway” being heavily marketed at Art Basel Miami Beach. ARTnews asks: “Is the NFT market simply slowing down, no longer dazzling audiences with eyebrow raising results, or did Christie’s old-world cachet, diluted by the use of OpenSea, prove unattractive to NFT buyers?” (ARTnews)

U.K. Museum Union Urges Mask Mandate – As the U.K. issues new rules to curb the spread of the Omicron variant, including a new work-from-home order and mask mandate in most public spaces, museum workers fight to be included. Prospect Union, which counts curators and museum workers among its 140,000 members, is advocating for the government to “urgently address safety and mask-wearing in museums and galleries,” said general secretary Mike Clancey. Museums and galleries may remain open for now. (Press release)

Steve McQueen’s Latest Film Is a Two-Minute PSA – Artist and award-winning filmmaker Steve McQueen has released a two-minute public health film raising awareness about prostate cancer among Black men. Called Embarrassed and starring actor Chiwetel Ejiofor, the film warns that a quarter of Black men will be diagnosed with the disease; it will be fatal for one in 12. McQueen’s father died from the disease 15 years ago, at the age of 67. He now has a clear message: get checked. “There’s a 98 per cent success rate if you catch it early,” McQueen said. “So it’s upsetting that we didn’t have this knowledge, although the knowledge was out there. But it’s not deemed as important enough to be given a platform where the broader public know about it. So that’s why, for me, this was a sort of passion project.” (Evening Standard)

Hauser and Wirth Buys New Flagship Space in London – Brexit who? The mega-gallery is more than doubling its footprint in London with the purchase of a 15,000-square-foot Grade II-listed Victorian building in Mayfair. Hauser and Wirth will retain its 11,000-square-foot white-cube space on Savile Row alongside the new flagship at 19 South Audley Street. “We are competing with a lot of noise and a generation increasingly absent from real life,” Hauser president Iwan Wirth said. “We need to get their attention with history, character, and experience.” (Financial Times)


A New President for the Brooklyn Museum – The Brooklyn Museum has named Kimberly Panicek Trueblood as its new president and chief operating officer. Trueblood was previously chief of staff at the American Civil Liberties Union and director of White House operations for the Obama Administration between 2013 and 2015. (New York Times)

Gurr Johns Acquires Auction House – The art advisory firm Gurr Johns has acquired the U.K.-based Forum Auctions, which specializes in works on paper and multiples. This marks the second auction acquisition for the company, which bought Dreweatts and Bloomsbury in 2017. (Press release)

Meet the Art World’s Favorite Caterer – Petra Lindbergh and Rose Chalalai Singh’s Paris-based catering company Rose Kitchen has gained a loyal following in the art and fashion worlds, with clients including Gagosian and Thaddaeus Ropac galleries as well as LVMH and Chanel. Their passion: bringing the flavors of South and Southeast Asia to the table. (Wall Street Journal)

Mucha Museum in NFT Collab – The Mucha Foundation in Prague has partnered with VIVE Arts to launch an NFT sale of Art Nouveau masterworks by Czech artist Alphonse Mucha. The sale on December 17 marks the debut of the tech film’s new NFT trading platform. (Press release)


The National Gallery of Victoria’s Pond Goes Pink – Melbourne’s National Gallery of Victoria now has a bright pink pond thanks to architecture firm Taylor Knights and artist James Cray, who won the gallery’s architecture commission. The work, called pond[er], references the region’s many inland salt lakes and draws attention to the political importance of water as a natural resource. It also includes a patch of indigenous wildflowers that will bloom at different times throughout the installation. (Monopol)

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