Art Industry News: Documentary King Ken Burns Is Working on an Epic Film About Leonardo da Vinci + Other Stories

Plus, a trend forecaster predicts the cultural vibe of a post-pandemic era and the Belvedere Museum turns Klimt's "The Kiss" into an NFT.

Leonardo da Vinci, Self-Portrait (1512–15). Photo by DeAgostini/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, February 17.


Trend Forecaster Warns of Impending “Vibe Shift” – Trend forecaster Sean Monahan, who cofounded the now-defunct art collective K-HOLE and helped coin the term “normcore,” has some solid predictions about where culture his headed in the post-pandemic era. He anticipates a “vibe shift” away from world-spanning tech platforms, hyper-productivity, and highly polished Instagram filters toward making things “personal again.” That might involve a return to “early-aughts indie sleaze”—think irony, flash photography, and messy makeup. Sign us up! (The Cut)

Roxane Gay on Jordan Casteel – “I haven’t conquered anything at all,” the 33-year-old painter and McArthur “Genius” award winner said after the opening of her recent solo show in London. The artist, who has been regarded as one of the most vibrant talents in the U.S., was in some ways relieved to find her U.K. debut fairly empty. “This trip showed me how naïve I am,” she said. In conversation with Roxane Gay, Casteel reflects on what she wants next: to only do work that she enjoys, to paint subjects that she really wants to paint, and to nurture her personal relationships. (The Cut)

Ken Burns Is Doing a Leonardo da Vinci Documentary – The king of documentary film, Ken Burns, is working on a new project about Leonardo da Vinci. Details are thin, but it’s his first film to unfold entirely outside the continental United States. The filmmaker is pretty booked through 2029: alongside the Leonardo project, he’s got documentaries in the works on Lyndon B. Johnson and the Great Society, the buffalo, the American Revolution, and Reconstruction. (Variety)

There’s a New, Well-Connected NFT Marketplace in Town – Los Angeles-based collector Jason Li has launched a new NFT platform called Outland, which is releasing its first commissioned NFT by the renowned Chinese painter Fang Lijun this week. The platform works with Christopher Y. Lew, a former curator at Whitney Museum, and May Xue, formerly the director of education and institutional relations at K11 Art Foundation, to develop and commission digital art projects. (The Art Newspaper)


Spark Art Fair Announces Galleries for Second Edition – The Vienna art fair returns to Marx Halle from March 24 to 27 with a continued focus on solo presentations by a mix of emerging and established artists. Notable exhibitors for the sophomore edition include Galerie Lelong, Kamel Mennour, and König Galerie. (Press release)

SculptureCenter Names New Director – Sohrab Mohebbi, the curator of this year’s Carnegie International, has been named director of SculptureCenter. Mohebbi worked as a curator at the Queens kunsthalle between 2018 and 2020, and currently serves as its curator-at-large. He will begin his new role in March, while continuing work on the Carnegie International through October 2022. Kyle Dancewicz, SculptureCenter’s interim director, will become Mohebbi’s deputy. (Press release)

Zimbabwe and Uganda Reveal Venice Lineups – Four artists—Kresiah Mukwazhi, Wallen Mapondera, Terrence Musekiwa, and Ronald Muchatuta—will represent Zimbabwe at the Venice Biennale in a presentation entitled “I did not leave a sign?” curated by Fadzai Veronica Muchemwa. Uganda, which is participating in the Biennale for the first time, will showcase work by two Kampala-based artists, Acaye Kerunen and Collin Sekajugo, in a presentation curated by Shaheen Merali. (Contemporary &ARTnews)

World Photography Organization Partners With Photo London – Photo London has sold a 25 percent stake in the event to the World Photography Organization, which also organizes Photofairs Shanghai. The U.K. photography fair—which hopes to foster closer connections with Asian collectors—will return to Somerset House in London from May 12 to 15. (Financial Times)


The Belvedere Museum Is Making The Kiss an NFT – The Vienna museum that owns the largest collection of Gustav Klimt paintings is turning the artist’s most famous—The Kiss—into an NFT. The NFT has been divided into 10,000 individual shares that cost 0.65 ETH, or $2,100, each. The drop came, appropriately, on Valentine’s Day, but as of Thursday, only some 1,700 shares have found buyers. (Coin Telegraph)

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