Art Industry News: Oops! New York MTA Bungled the Spelling of Georgia O’Keeffe’s Name at Grand Central Station + Other Stories

Plus, art critic Blake Gopnik has been blocked from MetaBirkins trial and Brexit is wreaking havoc on the art market.

Georgia O'Keeffe, circa 1944. Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images.
Georgia O'Keeffe, circa 1944. Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/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 Wednesday, February 1.


Blake Gopnik Blocked From Testifying on MetaBirkins – The digital artist Mason Rothschild, who is being sued for trademark infringement by Hermès International SA for riffing on its most famous bag with his “MetaBirkin” NFTs, will not be able to rely on the testimony of art critic Blake Gopnik. The expert on Andy Warhol has been excluded from the novel trademark trial after Hermès argued his opinion wasn’t based on “reliable data or a clear methodology.” The decision will hinder Rothschild’s ability to compare his NFTs to the pop art created by Warhol. (Bloomberg)

Russian Ministry Closes in on Tretyakov Gallery – The Ministry of Culture sent a letter to Moscow’s Tretyakov Gallery, asking the prestigious institution to report “on the issue of bringing the content of permanent displays and exhibitions in the State Tretyakov Gallery in line with spiritual and moral values.” Complaints from the ministry include decrying Alexander Burganov’s 1978 sculpture of La Pieta with the absence of the head as a “devilish interpretation.” The general director of the Tretyakov Gallery, Zelfira Tregulova, must reply by February 6. (The Moscow Times)

Georgia O’Keeffe’s Name Misspelled at Grand Central Terminal – That is one expensive typo. The $11 billion renovation of Grand Central Station’s new Long Island Railroad terminal bears a quote (literally etched in stone)  by the famed Modernist painter, sadly misattributed to Georgia O’Keefe. “We clearly f-ed this one up and it’s being fixed,” said Metropolitan Transportation Authority Communications director Tim Minton. (Bloomberg)

How Brexit Is Wreaking Havoc on the Art Market – Three recently cancelled art fairs in the U.K. are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the knock-on effects of Brexit. A report shared to the House of Lords on January 17 accused the government of a “complacent” and “incoherent” policy towards the arts. Between 2019 and 2020, U.K. cultural goods exports plunged by 47 percent, largely due to the pandemic, but recovery has been slower in relation to other countries due to the heightened export regulation caused by Brexit. (The Art Newspaper)


Marion Papillion Reelected to CPGA – France’s Professional Committee of Art Galleries (CPGA) reelected its president on January 30. The gallery group is also expanding its board of fifteen members. Philippe Joppin from High Art gallery is now vice-president. (Le Journal des Arts)

London’s National Gallery Goes Shopping at Old Masters Sale – The London-based institution is the proud new owner of Bernardo Cavillino’s ca. 1640-45 painting Saint Bartholomew, acquired for $3.9 million with fees, with funds from the American Friends of the National Gallery at last week’s Old Masters sale. The work, which was recently reattributed to Cavillino by the Colnaghi gallery, was consigned by Mark Fish and former judge Rachel Davidson, who are divorcing. (TAN)

David Driskell Prize Winner Named – Artist Ebony G. Patterson is the recipient of this year’s prize, named for the late art educator and curator. The prize, awarded by Atlanta’s High Museum of Art, comes with a $50,000 purse, and recognizes “early or mid-career artists and scholars who have made a significant contribution to African American art. (Press release)

Silverlens Takes on Estates of Carlos Villa and Leo Valledor – The estates of the renowned Filipino-American artists have joined the Silverlens roster; an exhibition of Carlos Villa’s work will helm the gallery’s booth at Frieze New York this May. The artists grew up together in a community of Filipino immigrants, and were both integral in developing the Modernist style of American artists in the 1960s. (Press release)


Botticelli Show Will Feature Newly Attributed Drawings – A major exhibition at San Francisco’s Legion of Honor is set to bring 27 Botticelli drawings together, reuniting some of the preparatory studies for Adoration of the Magi with the finished painting. Newly attributed works on paper will also be included in the show, which opens November 18. (TAN)

The Adoration of the Magi by Sandro Botticelli. From the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC. Photo: GraphicaArtis/Getty Images

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