Art Industry News: At Last, Nigeria Has Welcomed Home Two Long-Awaited Benin Bronzes + Other Stories

Plus, David Adjaye’s Holocaust Centre in London faces another hurdle and a Peter Paul Rubens might soar at a Polish auction.

The King, known as Oba of Benin, Omo NOba Uku Akpolokpolo, Ewuare II (R), and Nigeria High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Sarafadeen Tunji Isola, pose for a photo while receiving repatriated artifacts that were looted from Nigeria over 125 years ago by the British military force in Benin City. Photo: Kola Sulaimon/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 this Monday, February 21.


Inside Brazil’s Museum of Black Art – More than 70 years after the late Afro-Brazilian activist Abdias do Nascimento envisioned a museum of Black art, it has finally been realized temporarily at the Inhotim Institute in Brumadinho, Brazil. On view until December 23, the Black Art Museum was created based on the collection built by the late activist and his wife Elisa Larkin Nascimento. It takes the form of an exhibition showcasing works that aim to explore and discuss the influence of African roots in Brazilian art. (New York Times)

Another Hurdle Mounts Against David Adjaye’s Holocaust Centre – London Historic Parks and Gardens Trust has filed an application to block the plans to build the U.K. Holocaust Memorial and Learning Center in Victoria Tower Gardens next to the Palace of Westminster, calling the plan the “right idea in the wrong place.” Campaigners argued that the construction of David Adjaye’s institute will have an impact on the site’s heritage setting, and that green space in London should be protected. The High Court will review the appeal on Thursday. (Evening Standard)

How Tomás Saraceno Teaches Us About the Future – The showcases of major works by the Argentina-born, Berlin-based artist at the Shed and Tanya Bonakdar Gallery in New York are not just about Saraceno’s love of spiders, but about how these creatures can be an inspiration for a better future, according to critic Roberta Smith. “Tomás Saraceno: Particular Matter(s)” at the Shed, the largest presentation of the environmentalist-artist in the U.S., is “part education; part collaboration; part out-of-body experience,” she writes. (NYT)

Two Benin Bronzes Are Returned to Benin Royal Palace – A pair of historic artifacts, a sculpture of a cockerel and the bronze head depicting an Oba or king, have finally made their way to their ancestral home in Nigeria. They were honored in a ceremony attended by traditional leaders held at the Royal palace in Benin City last Saturday after the University of Aberdeen and Cambridge University’s Jesus College restituted the pieces to the Nigerian High Commission in October last year. (Guardian)


Rubens Could Break a Record in Poland – Portrait of a Lady (1620-25), executed by Peter Paul Rubens and his workshop in his Antwerp studio, could be the most expensive artwork ever sold in the country if it can achieve its pre-sale estimate of $4.5 million to $6 million when it goes on sale on March 17 at DesaUnicum in Warsaw. The last auction record in Poland was achieved last November with the sale of Two Married Women (1949) by Andrzej Wróblewski, which fetched $3.4 million. (The Art Newspaper)

Australian National Bank Will Sell Its $7.2 Million Collection – The bank plans to auction off its collection of 2,500 works next year, saying that its holding of art is no longer core to its role. The collection includes works by Jeffrey Smart, John Olsen, and Howard Arkley. To start, 73 pieces will be sold at Deutscher and Hackett on February 22, and another 131 works will go for sale on February 23 at Leonard Joel. The proceeds of the sale will go to the bank’s climate change grant program, a move questioned by the Australian artist Ben Quilty because the bank, according to him, is “one of the biggest financial facilitators of fossil fuel developments.” (TAN)

Art Cologne Absorbs Another Fair – The Cologne Fine Art & Design fair will be integrated into Art Cologne, according to its parent company Koelnmesse. It means an end to the traditional art fair that focused on art, antiques, applied arts and design was inevitable amid the changing dynamics of the art market, organizers said. The fair will be reincarnated as a new “Art + Object” section within Art Cologne, which takes place in November. (FAZ)

Chinese Dissident Artist’s Anti-Beijing NFTs Are Under Attack – A fake website mirroring that of artist Badiucao’s Beijing 2022 NFT collection drop is claiming that the transactions of the artist’s NFTs has been terminated. The Australia-based Badiucao tweeted that a reverse IP investigation suggested that a fake website was operating out of Hong Kong and Brisbane. The artist also said that he has received death threats after the launch of his Olympic-themed NFT collection, which mocks China’s poor human rights track record. (Twitter)


See David Hockney’s Newest Self Portrait – The exhibition “Hockney’s Eye: The Art and Technology of Depiction” will be opening on March 15 to August 29 at Fitzwilliam Museum and the Heong Gallery, Downing College, at the University of Cambridge. The show will feature the artist’s acrylic on canvas self-portrait painted in November last year in Normandy as well as a number of works that have never been exhibited. (Guardian)

"Self Portrait, 22nd November 2021". David Hockney. Acrylic on canvas, 36 x 30 inches / 91.4 x 76.2 cm unframed. © David Hockney

David Hockney, Self Portrait, 22nd November 2021. © David Hockney

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.