Art Industry News: Damien Hirst Is Opening a Chapel Museum in the South of France + Other Stories

Plus, Tate Modern is getting two Kusama Infinity Rooms and Boris Johnson names a culture secretary without much experience in culture.

Damien Hirst. Photo by Pietro D'Aprano/Getty Images for Fondazione Prada.

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 Friday, February 14.


Two Kusama Infinity Rooms Head to the Tate – London’s Tate Modern is marking its 20th birthday in May by unveiling two of Yayoi Kusama’s crowd pleasing Infinity Rooms. They include one originally made by the Japanese artist for her 2012 retrospective at Tate Modern, the other is an old favorite making a Tate Modern comeback. Meanwhile, Louise Bourgeois’s giant spider, Maman, returns to the Turbine Hall where it greeted visitors when the museum first opened its doors, in 2000. (Press Release)

UK Gets a New Culture Secretary – Prime Minister Boris Johnson has appointed Oliver Dowden as the new UK culture secretary. Dowden’s political path does not suggest he has an overwhelming interest in culture, however, and there are rumors that Johnson may soon abolish the department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport and share its current functions between other ministries. (The Art Newspaper)

Olafur Eliasson Compares Picasso to Harvey Weinstein – The Danish-Icelandic artist was in Spain this week for the launch of his new exhibition at the Guggenheim Bilbao. While there, he said that serial philanderer Pablo Picasso was “like a Harvey Weinstein of his time, but whose behavior was considered acceptable.” Eliasson was talking about the need for “a more feminist point of view” to challenge the deeply rooted patriarchy that has allowed powerful men such as the film producer Weinstein to allegedly carry out their abuses of women. (El Pais)

British Dealer Cleared of Defamation – An expert in Russian avant-garde art, James Butterwick, has been cleared by an Italian judge of allegedly defaming an exhibition that the dealer said featured fake works. The judge ruled that Butterwick’s opinion was based on his “proven and recognized competence and experience.” The market for Russian Constructivist art has long been plagued by suspect works and Butterwick wrote that the show in Mantua in 2013 featuring 61 previously unknown works by 37 Russian artists was full of inauthentic works. The works, purportedly by artists including Natalia Goncharova, Mikhail Larionov, El Lissitsky, and Alexander Rodchenko, are said to be owned by a group of Italian collectors. (TAN)


Los Angeles Real Estate Changes the Game for Galleries – Los Angeles’s galleries are as decentralized as the city itself, and often find themselves on the move as new real estate opportunities open up. More dealers are opting to rent rather than buy as they play a “game of musical chairs” to be in the next hot spot, whether that is south of downtown, West Hollywood, or off Wilshire Boulevard. (TAN)

Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac Names a New Director – Thaddaeus Ropac has hired Tom Hunt as a new director based in the London gallery. The dealer leaves the UK art advisory Murphy and Partners. He previously worked at Hauser & Wirth. (Press release)

What Happens When Artists and Galleries Split? – An art lawyer reviews the messy divorce case files to show what often happens when artists and their galleries split. Late payments for sold works and disputes over unsold pieces on consignment are typical scenarios. Written agreements are never bulletproof but they help when artists head for the exit or when a gallery has financial woes. (TAN)


Blanton Museum Gets a $10 Million Gift – The Austin-based foundation Still Water has gifted $10 million to the University of Texas at Austin in support of the Blanton Museum of Art’s plan to transform its grounds and the university’s public art program known as Landmarks, which has placed 40 works of art around the campus. (Artforum)

ICA Miami Adds New Board Members – Daniel Berkowitz, Michele Beyer, Suzi Cordish, Andi Potamkin, Andre Sakhai, Roz Stuzin, and Alex Witkoff have been added to the Institute of Contemporary Art Miami’s board of trustees. Margot Greig has been named its board president. (Artforum)

MoMA Lures Photography Curator from San Francisco – Clément Chéroux will leave his post at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s Pritzker Center for Photography to become chief photography curator at New York’s MoMA. “In the 20th century, the specificity of photography was defended by isolating it. And I truly believe that, in the future, we should defend the medium not by isolating it, but by combining it with the other arts,” Chéroux said. (New York Times)


Hong Kong’s Artist-Politicians Get to Work – Three district councillors from the art world who were recently elected in Hong Kong’s local election discuss the renewed sense of identity in the city. Artists Clara Cheung, Clarisse Yeung Suet-ying, and sculptor Wong Tin-yan, describe the importance of participating in civil life and Hong Kong’s renewed sense of identity. (SCMP)

Art Wynwood Opens in Miami – Following yesterday’s VIP preview, the winter contemporary art fair, now in its ninth edition, returns to Herald Plaza on Biscayne Bay in Downtown Miami. Organized by Art Miami, Art Wynwood showcases emerging talent in the contemporary art market, along with mid-career artists and blue-chip postwar and modern masters. For the second year in a row, the Miami Yacht show will be adjacent to Art Wynwood. Alongside a number of Miami galleries, the show includes galleries from all over the US, as well as South America, Europe, and Asia. (Press release)

Damien Hirst Is Making a Chapel in the South of France – The world-famous artist is in the early production stages of building a chapel that will feature a large bronze hand stretched out to the sky. Two fingertips were spotted on their way to casting. The chapel will be located at the Chateau La Coste in Provence, France, which is known for its public art by celebrated artists like Sean Scully, Louise Bourgeois, and Ai Weiwei. (Instagram)


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