Art Industry News: Teacher Takes Facebook to Court Over Explicit Courbet Painting + More Must-Read Stories

Plus, Huma Bhabha nabs this year's Met rooftop commission and museums race to secure Leonardo loans.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg delivers the keynote address at Facebook's F8 Developer Conference on April 18, 2017 at McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, California. The conference will explore Facebook's new technology initiatives and products. Photo by Justin Sullivan/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 2.


Met Selects Huma Bhabha for Roof Commission – The Metropolitan Museum of Art has selected the Pakistani artist for its next high-profile rooftop commission. Bhabha will create a multipart installation titled We Come in Peace, that will operate like a “dramatic mise en scène.” Bhabha, who lives and works in Poughkeepsie, often uses found materials and quotidian detritus to tackle themes of colonialism, war, and displacement. (NYT)

Noguchi Public Sculpture Threatened – The Cultural Landscape Foundation is up in arms about a proposal to redesign a downtown New York plaza that has long been home to Isamu Noguchi’s beloved Red Cube. The proposed placement of a large tree planter threatens to destroy the work as it is meant to be seen, the landscape advocates say. The Noguchi Foundation agrees that the new plaza design undermines the artist’s original vision. (Hyperallergic)

Origin of the World Trial Begins in France – long-running lawsuit between Facebook and teacher Frédéric Durand is coming to a head in France this week. Durand sued the social media giant in 2011 for deactivating his account after he posted a link to an article about Courbet’s famous painting of a woman’s genitals. In court, Facebook’s lawyers said the cancellation of his account was due to “a simple contractual dispute,” not his posting of nude imagery. (Guardian)

Museums Race for Leonardo Loans – As museums prepare for the upcoming 500th anniversary of Leonardo da Vinci’s death in 2019, loan requests are piling up. A back-to-back string of major exhibitions will unfold across Europe next year, kicking off at the Teylers Museum in the Netherlands, which will show 30 drawings borrowed from the UK’s Royal Collection (October 5, 2018–January 6, 2019). (The Art Newspaper)


Photo London Program Announced – The fair, which takes place at Somerset House from May 17 to 20, will offer special presentations on the work of pioneering 19th-century photographer and inventor William Henry Fox Talbot and Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky, who has also been selected as this year’s Master of Photography. (Press release)

Dealer Victorious in Suit Over Stolen Jasper Johns – The Canadian gallery Equinox has won a civil suit against the New York dealer Fred Dorfman, who it claimed knowingly sold more than 30 unfinished or discarded works by Jasper Johns that had been stolen by his former assistant. Now, the gallery can seek a racketeering claim against Dorfman, from whom the gallery bought a Johns in 2008 for $800,000. (TAN)

The State of the Art Market Is Uncertain – Looking ahead to 2018, dealers everywhere are reconsidering their strategies, increasingly focusing on secondary market sales, and questioning whether the operation of large physical spaces remains viable. “I am feeling like garbage,” one dealer said. (Art Agency, Partners)


Brooke Lampley Joins Sotheby’s After Gardening Leave – The former head of Christie’s Impressionist and Modern art department—a role she held since 2012—has officially joined Sotheby’s as vice chair of the auction house’s fine art division. Her appointment was first announced last year. (Press release)

Philadelphia Contemporary Appoints Spoken Word Curator – The American poet Yolanda Wisher has been named curator of spoken word at the new Philadelphia museum. Her position is funded by a grant from the Barra Foundation. “Philadelphia has one of the most influential poetry and spoken word scenes in the country,” she notes. (Press release)

DMA Adds New Senior Staff – The Dallas Museum of Art has two new updates to its roster: Tamara Wootton-Forsyth, who has worked there for more than 17 years, will take on the role of deputy director, while former High Museum of Art curator Sarah Schleuning has been named senior curator of decorative arts and design. (Press release)

Barr Foundation Launches Community Arts Partnerships – A new Barr Foundation initiative called Creative Commonwealth will bring five Massachusetts community foundations together to strengthen arts and creativity across the region. A total of $2.5 million in grants will be given to the foundations over 24 months to improve philanthropy for local artists and arts organizations. (Press release)


Artists Break Into Mexico City Museum – That’s one way to register your disagreement. A group of artists calling themselves “Los Hemocionales” scaled the walls the Museo Experimental El Eco while the museum was closed and set off smoke bombs in a “symbolic takeover” to protest its not-so-experimental programming. The museum is now filing charges for damage done to artwork during the action. (Hyperallergic)

New Art Foundation Plans Christopher Wool Show – Visitors to Art Basel in Hong Kong will get a preview of the Hill Art Foundation, which is set to open in New York in September. The foundation will present 13 works by Christopher Wool—who has never had a survey in Asia before—in Hong Kong’s new H Queens development from March 27 through April 8. (Press release)

National Portrait Gallery Selects Architect for Refurbishment – James Fobert Architects have been appointed to design the £35.5 million ($50.48 million) expansion and refurbishment of London’s National Portrait Gallery. Construction is due to begin in 2020 and last two years. The architects are well suited for the job: They recently oversaw expansions of Tate St. Ives in Cornwall and Kettle’s Yard House and Gallery in Cambridge. (The Architect’s Journal)

See Nadia Benchallal’s Striking Images of the Djibouti Refugee Camp – A new show at NYU’s New York and Abu Dhabi galleries presents photographs of refugees living in Markazi, a UN Refugee Agency camp in Djibouti that is currently home to around 1,500 individuals. The show is a collaboration between the award-winning French-Algerian photographer Nadia Benchallal and Nathalie Peutz, an assistant professor of anthropology at the university. It also features works by nine Markazi residents. (Press release)

Nadia Benchalal's photo of Yemeni refugees at Markazi Camp, Obock, Djibouti, 2017.

Nadia Benchalal’s photo of Yemeni refugees at Markazi Camp, Obock, Djibouti, 2017.

Nadia Benchalal's photo of Yemeni refugees at Markazi Camp, Obock, Djibouti, 2017.

Nadia Benchalal’s photo of Yemeni refugees at Markazi Camp, Obock, Djibouti, 2017.

Nadia Benchalal's photo of Yemeni refugees at Markazi Camp, Obock, Djibouti, 2017.

Nadia Benchalal’s photo of Yemeni refugees at Markazi Camp, Obock, Djibouti, 2017.

Nadia Benchalal's photo of Markazi Camp, Obock, Djibouti, 2017.

Nadia Benchalal’s photo of Markazi Camp, Obock, Djibouti, 2017.

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