Art Industry News: Someone Wants to Build a Bratwurst Museum at a Former Concentration Camp + Other Stories

Plus, pressure mounts to clean up financial crime in freeports and Alejandro Jodorowsky speaks out about the cancellation of his retrospective.

A bratwurst with mustard. (Photo by Unkel/ullstein bild 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 Friday, February 1.


Pressure Mounts to Clean Up Shady Freeports – A German member of the European parliament has urged the president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, to crack down on the tax loopholes at a freeport in Luxembourg. Wolf Klinz says Le Freeport Luxembourg is “fertile ground” for money laundering and tax evasion because clients can trade objects inside the facility while avoiding customs and sales tax. To help improve financial transparency, new EU regulations obliging freeports to identify the owners of the stored goods (already in force in Luxembourg) will be widely enforced beginning in January 2020. (The Art Newspaper)

How Luchita Hurtado Rocketed to Fame at Age 98 – The Venezuelan-born, California-based painter is the latest artist to receive overdue international recognition late in life. Yesterday, she opened a show at Hauser & Wirth in New York of her early figurative drawings; in May, she will present a seven-decade retrospective at the Serpentine Sackler Gallery in London. When she turns 100 in 2020, Hurtado will have her first international retrospective at the Museo Tamayo in Mexico City. “Women artists have not had the visibility they should have and we need to protest, systematically, against forgetting,” says Hans Ulrich Obrist, director of the Serpentine Galleries. (T Magazine)

Outcry at Plans to Build a Sausage Museum at a Former Concentration Camp – OK, this food museum thing is really getting out of hand now. Yesterday, Germans protested against a proposal to build a Bratwurst Museum at a site that was part of the former Buchenwald Nazi camp, where an estimated 56,000 people died. A representative for the Buchenwald memorial foundation said the controversial plans showed a “lack of sensitivity” and a “lack of historical awareness.” (AFP)

Jodorowsky Speaks Out After Retrospective Cancellation – After his major exhibition at El Museo del Barrio was canceled following criticism of Alejandro Jodorowsky’s claim that he raped his co-star in the 1970s film El Topo, the filmmaker has responded publicly to the matter for the first time. “They were words, not facts, Surrealist publicity in order to enter the world of cinema from a position of obscurity,” he said in a statement. “I do not condone the act of rape, but exploited the shock value of the statement at the time.” (Artforum)


A Heart-Shaped Meteorite Is Heading to Auction for Valentine’s Day – A meteorite in the shape of a heart that plummeted into Siberia from space back in 1947 is up for auction at Christie’s on February 6. The so-called “heart of space,” which is a relatively rare type of space debris made of iron, carries a pre-sale estimate of $300,000 to $500,000. It’s the perfect Valentine’s Day gift for that hard-to-buy-for partner. (CNN)

India Art Fair Opens Amid the Rising Tides of #MeToo – As the art fair opened Thursday in New Delhi, its director, Jagdip Jagpal, says she is mindful of the growing concerns over sexual harassment in India’s art world. “If there’s anything that could cause distress or disruption then I have a duty of care to my staff and to the fair,” she said. Since last October, the Instagram account “Scene and Herd” has been exposing misconduct across the country, leading to the resignation of several powerful figures. (Financial Times)

Brooklyn Galleries on the L Train Fiasco – A number of galleries including Journal Gallery and Victori & Mo, moved out of Brooklyn or closed down ahead of the planned multiyear L train shutdown, which was due to begin this year. So, understandably, these businesses are not pleased about the eleventh hour decision to keep the train, which links parts of Brooklyn and Queens to Manhattan in New York, open with reduced service while it undergoes repairs. “It’s been an emotional rollercoaster,” says dealer Celine Mo. (TAN)


Philadelphia Museum of Art’s Chinese Galleries Reopen – After being closed for 10 months for a $2 million renovation, the museum’s Chinese galleries will reopen on Sunday. The PMA’s collection of 7,000 works of Chinese art, many of which have been newly restored, can now be displayed in full glory. The project is part of a series of refurbishments running alongside the museum’s $525 million Frank Gehry expansion. (Philadelphia Inquirer)

A New Interim Co-Director for the Carnegie – Eric Crosby, the curator of contemporary art at the Carnegie Museum in Pittsburgh, has been promoted to acting co-director of the museum. He will share the role with Sarah Minnaert, the former deputy director, who stepped in after the departure of the museum’s longtime leader Lynn Zelevansky in 2017. Catherine Evans, who previously served as acting co-director, will take on a new role as director of strategic initiatives. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)


Beirut Museum Carries On After Jailing of Board Chair – The fundraising campaign to build the Beirut Museum of Art is forging ahead despite the imprisonment of the private museum’s board chair, Carlos Ghosn, for financial misconduct while he was an executive at the car company Nissan. A representative for the nonprofit association for Lebanese art backing the project said that construction of the modern art museum isn’t dependent on funds from Ghosn. (TAN)

The History of Art-World Unions in New York City – On the heels of the New Museum’s landslide vote to unionize, it is clear that museum unions have the potential to transform the labor market in New York’s art world. But don’t forget the longer history of art-affiliated unions, which began with artists during the Great Depression. The Artist’s Union, founded in 1933, included well-known figures like Mark Rothko. (Artspace)

Olafur Eliasson’s Your Blind Passenger Is Coming to Tate Modern – For his next trick, the artist who recently brought 30 ice blocks from Greenland to London to make a point about climate change will next install a 150-foot-long tunnel of fog at Tate for his forthcoming retrospective, “In Real Life,” which runs July 11 through January 5, 2020. Only accessible to a small number of people at once, the blinding fog installation challenges the senses. (Guardian)

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