Art Industry News: ‘Who’s the Snowflake Now?’ Asks Art Spiegelman as His Banned ‘Maus’ Sees Blockbuster Sales + Other Stories

Plus, beloved New York photography dealer Julie Saul dies, and Lebanon returns more than 300 antiquities to Iraq.

Art Spiegelman's Maus, the only graphic novel to have won a Pulitzer Prize, has been banned by a Tennessee school district. Photo by Maro Siranosian/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 Tuesday, February 8.


Photography Dealer Julie Saul Dies – The New York art dealer and curator, who championed avant-garde photography, has died. She was 67. The beloved art-world figure founded Julie Saul Projects in 1986 at a time when painting was all the rage. (ARTnews)

Damien Hirst Faces Another Plagiarism Claim – The art star has been freshly accused of copying another artist—again. British painter Joe Machine says his own cherry blossom paintings, which predate Hirst’s, look eerily similar to the YBA’s newest series. The accused artist has declined to comment thus far on the allegations. Machine pointed in particular to “the very dark branches, the powder-blue skies and the blotches of pink blossom.” We’re not lawyers here but… isn’t that also just what cherry blossoms look like? (Guardian)

Maus Sales Are Through the Roof – A Tennessee school district’s decision to ban Art Spiegelman’s graphic novel about the Holocaust may have had the opposite of its intended effect. The book has garnered new attention and even temporarily sold out at bookstores, including on Amazon. Describing his reaction to the whole drama in an interview, Spiegelman quipped, “Well, who’s the snowflake now?” (Jewish ExponentGuardian)

Lebanese Museum Returns 300 Artifacts to Iraq – A trove of archeological objects were returned to Iraq from Lebanon this past weekend. The 300 items were allegedly looted from several Iraqi archeological sites and on view at the Nabu Museum, a private institution founded by the businessman Jawad Adra, who has denied any involvement in the illicit trafficking of cultural property. (ARTnews)


Destroyed Work by Expressionist Rediscovered – A 1931 painting by Erich Heckel thought to have been destroyed has been found hiding under the backside of another canvas. The Bedini Troupe, which was stumbled upon by restorers, was likely hidden to sneak it into an international exhibition while the Nazis were in power. (Monopol)

Gwangju Biennale Establishes $100,000 Prize – The Gwangju Biennale will gain a $100,000 art prize named after the celebrated South Korean artist Park Seo-Bo. The GIZI Foundation has committed $1 million to funding the prize, which will be given out for the first time during the 2023 biennale. (ARTnews)

Banksy’s Christmas Mural Is Being Moved – A mural by the famous street artist will be moved from its home in Port Talbot, Wales after repeated attempts at vandalism. The work, which dates to 2018, was purchased by the art dealer John Brandler and will be relocated to a temporary storage facility before being loaned to a cultural institution. The mock Christmas scene depicts a boy sticking his tongue out to catch snowflakes, which are actually particle dust from steel production. (Evening Standard)

Blavatnik Donates to the Imperial War Museum – A multimillion-pound donation from the Blavatnik Family Foundation, headed up by London’s richest man Len Blavatnik, will pave the way for new galleries at the Imperial War Museum in the U.K. The new spaces will welcome additional works of art, film, and photography next year. (Guardian)


Sculpture of Algerian Hero Vandalized in France – Vandals badly damaged a sculpture of an Algerian military hero who resisted French colonization hours before the work was due to be inaugurated this past Saturday. The steel sculpture in Amboise was intended to mark the 60th anniversary of Algerian independence. The incident took place in the midst of a heated election year in France that has so far seen harsh rhetoric on Islam. (France 24)

A sculpture in tribute to Algerian national hero Emir Abdelkader, titled Passage Abdelkader created by artist Michel Audiard. Photo: Guillaume Souvant/AFP via Getty Images

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.