Art Industry News: Jewish Groups Call on Germany’s Culture Minister and Documenta’s Director to Resign Over Antisemitic Art Controversy + Other Stories

Plus, legendary Black art patron Vivian Hewitt dies at 102, and four locations are in the running for new Smithsonian museums.

View taken on June 15, 2022 shows a part of the Fridericianum Museum, one of the venues of the documenta fifteen contemporary art exhibition, with painted columns with drawings by Romanian artist Dan Perjovschi, in Kassel, central Germany. Photo by Anton Roland LAUB / AFP 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 Thursday, June 23.


Fort Worth’s National Juneteenth Museum Takes Shape – The vision of Opal Lee, the 95-year-old “grandmother of Juneteenth,” to build a permanent home to commemorate the holiday will soon be realized as construction on the $70 million National Juneteenth Museum is scheduled to begin at end of the year. Designed by Bjarke Ingels Group, the Fort Worth, Texas museum is expected to open in time for Juneteenth in 2024. (New York Times)

Influential Collector Vivian Hewitt Dies at 102 – The librarian who amassed one of the biggest and most prominent private collections of Black art with her husband, John Hewitt Jr., a professor turned medical journalist, died on May 29 at her home in Manhattan, her family said. The Hewitts’ collection features some 500 works, including examples by Jacob Lawrence, Henry Ossawa Tanner, and Ernest Crichlow. (New York Times)

Documenta Has Taken Down Controversial Artwork – The mural by Indonesian collective Taring Padi, which was covered up on Tuesday in light of its antisemitic imagery, has now been dismantled and removed from view. But the controversy didn’t end there. The Central Council of Jews in Germany has called on Minister of State for Culture, Claudia Roth, to resign, while the new president of the German-Israeli Society, Volker Beck, called for the resignation of Documenta general director Sabine Schormann. (Deutsche Welle)

William Kentridge Has an Idea About Monuments – The U.K. should come up with “imaginative solutions” to confront with the country’s “shameful” colonial past, the South African artist said in a recent interview ahead of his retrospective at the Royal Academy of Arts in London, which opens on September 24. “I think [the U.K.] could just take some of these monuments off their plinths and dig a hole in the ground, then bury them up to their waists,” he said. “So you can see them, but you’re looking down on them.” (The Art Newspaper)


Four Locations in the Running for Future Smithsonian Museums – The forthcoming National Museum of the American Latino and the American Women’s History Museum are one step closer to realization with the announcement of four potential locations. Among the finalists are the Arts and Industries Building and a plot of land near the Tidal Basin—each prospective location is complicated by its proximity to the National Mall, as well as its proximity to other national monuments. (TAN)

Five Indigenous Tribes Will Manage Utah’s Bear’s Ears Monument – In a historic agreement with the U.S. government, five Indigenous tribes will manage the historic site, which spans more than 3,000 square miles and is filled with ancient Indigenous artifacts and pictographs. The Trump administration opened the site to uranium mining, threatening its survival, but President Joe Biden overturned the decision. (TAN)

Notorious B.I.G. NFT Unveiled – Crypto platform OneOf unveiled its NFT partnership with the late rapper Christopher Wallace’s estate, “Sky’s the Limit: The Notorious B.I.G. Collection.” Anyone who purchases an NFT from the collection will be given the rights to license a never-before-released audio clip of the rapper’s freestyle, recorded when he was 17. The collection is available beginning July 25. (Complex)

Rupert Murdoch and Jerry Hall to Divorce – The 91-year-old media mogul and the model-actress (as well as muse of Andy Warhol) are reportedly getting divorced. The two tied the knot in 2016; this will be the fourth divorce for Murdoch, who owns major media outlets Fox News and the Wall Street Journal. His son James controls 49 percent of MCH Group, the parent company of Art Basel. (BBC)


U.K. Launches Colorful Stamps to Celebrate Pride – Royal Mail has released a set of eight illustrated stamps by artist Sofie Birkin, with art direction from NB Studio, to mark the 50th anniversary of Gay Pride in the U.K. The country’s first Gay Pride rally took place on July 1, 1972 in London’s Trafalgar Square. (Guardian)

Follow Artnet News on Facebook:

Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.