Art Industry News: An Android Artist Will Exhibit Its Creepy Self-Portraits at London’s Design Museum + Other Stories

Plus, the Cy Twombly Foundation decries an "odious affront" from the Louvre and Shepard Fairey releases an adapted print of his Paris mural.

Ai-Da the artist robot with her self-portraits. Photo by Lucy Seal, courtesy the Design Museum and Aidan Meller.

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 Monday, February 15.


Where Is the Met’s Board? – Art critic Christopher Knight has called out the Met’s trustees for not ponying up more cash to help the institution during the pandemic. As the institution considers deaccessioning works to cover a projected $150 million shortfall—a policy turn that he argues would open the floodgates for museums around the country to adopt similar measures—Knight says the $25 million the Met board has raised to help with the crisis is “pathetic,” adding that he doesn’t “know how many billionaires sit on the board of trustees, arguably the most prestigious and desirable in Manhattan, but I am comfortable going with the adjective ‘plenty’… Time to start writing lots more checks, or time to step aside.” (Los Angeles Times)

Cy Twombly Foundation Denounces the Louvre’s “Odious Affront” – The Cy Twombly Foundation has written to the Louvre chief Jean-Luc Martinez to complain about renovations made to the museum’s bronze room, which is adorned by an enormous Twombly mural on its ceiling. The foundation, which has also written to France’s culture minister about the issue, has denounced the modifications to the room, which it calls an “odious affront.” It has demanded an immediate correction before the museum reopens to the public. (Le Monde)

AI Robot Gets an Exhibition at the Design Museum – An android artist called Ai-Da is getting an exhibition at London’s Design Museum. The show, called “Ai-Da Self Portraits,” will include three large self-portraits created by the robot. Ai-Da has cameras in its eyes and its self-portraits were created using AI and computer vision programs that guided its drawing hand as it “looked” into the mirror. (The Times)

Shepard Fairey Releases an Adapted Print of His Paris Mural – The US street artist has created an adapted print edition of his large-scale mural of Marianne, the French symbol of liberty, in Paris. The artist said he made it in response to activists who vandalized the original to add tears of blood in December last year as a comment on the French state’s separatist policies and the evictions from migrant camps in the middle of winter. The mural has now been restored but Fairey added his own teardrop to the print, and has promised that profits from its sale will go to benefit underserved communities. “I actually side with people who oppose injustice, especially when it comes to human rights,” he says. (Le Monde)


Restituted Van Gogh Heads to Christie’s – A Van Gogh drawing is estimated to sell for as much as $10 million at Christie’s New York on March 1. The rare drawing depicting a young female sitter was once in the Stedelijk Museum before it was restituted to heirs of its former Jewish owners in 1956. It is being sold from the family collection of London dealer Thomas Gibson. (ARTnews)

Artcurial Is Selling Objects From Kenzo Takada’s Collection – Objects from the collection of the late Franco-Japanese designer Kenzo Takada will go on sale May 11 at Artcurial in Paris. The 600 items include a Han period hinoki wooden horse estimated at €40,000 ($48,000) and a William Eggleston Cadillac image estimated at €5,000 ($6,000). (Financial Times)

Sotheby’s Pulls Obama Sneakers From Sale – Sotheby’s has pulled a pair of Nike Hyperdunk sneakers designed in honor of Barack Obama ahead of their planned sale on Friday. The auction house said the sneakers, which were estimated to fetch $25,000, were withdrawn at the request of the consignor. (CNN)


CAA Awards Samella Lewis Highest Honor – The College Art Association has awarded the artist and scholar with its Distinguished Artist Award for Lifetime Achievement. Lewis was the first African American to earn a PhD in art history from Ohio State University, and her art history scholarship has been pivotal in creating a critical space for Black artists since the 1970s. (ARTnews)

Artist Teresa Burga Dies at 86 – Peruvian conceptual artist Teresa Burga has died, aged 86. Burga is known as a pioneer of Latin American Conceptualism, who made trailblazing conceptual work despite three decades working a bureaucratic job in Peru’s customs office while the country was under authoritarian rule. (The Art Newspaper)

The British Museum Has Hired A Curator to Look at Its Collection’s History – The British Museum has hired Isobel MacDonald to “look at the wider patterns of how different types of object from different parts of the world entered the collection and place those in a broader historical context.” She was hired last March, though furloughed due to the pandemic and she is still waiting to start her work, which should have implications in the debates around the Parthenon Marbles and colonial era objects. (The Art Newspaper)


Local Man Charged in Memorial Art Gallery Theft – A local man who lifted a $60,000 Robert Mapplethorpe print off the wall at the Memorial Art Gallery in upstate New York has pleaded not guilty to charges of grand larceny in court. The 37-year-old George Haag said that he had not intended to steal the portrait of Andy Warhol, and that he just wanted to move it “to make people laugh.” (The Art Newspaper)

See Images of Meow Wolf’s New Experience in Las Vegas – See inside experience art collective Meow Wolf’s new Omega Mart exhibition in Las Vegas. Opening February 18, the installation billed as “America’s Most Exceptional Grocery Store” is a vast complex of four large and 60 smaller Instagram-ready installation environments. (Press release)

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