Art Industry News: Sotheby’s Turns Its Staff Into Jewelry Mannequins as In-Sale Advertising Opens New Revenue Stream + Other Stories

Plus, the Louvre launches its own online store and the Taipei Fine Arts Museum names a new director after an abrupt resignation.

A Selection of Elizabeth Taylor's Bulgari Jewels. Courtesy of Bulgari 2018.

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 Tuesday, February 2.


The Louvre Has Launched Its Own Online Store – As lockdown continues to keep much of the public away from museums, the Louvre has launched an online store to tempt art fans to open their wallets from home. Offerings include a t-shirt from Uniqlo designed by Peter Saville featuring the Mona Lisa; a snow globe that holds JR’s famous installation on the building’s exterior; and a series of Swatch watches depicting famous artworks including Eugène Delacroix’s Liberté, égalité, fraternité. (Journal des Arts)

How Three Arts Leaders Are Living in Lockdown – Adam D. Weinberg, Shirin Neshat, and Ariana Rockefeller share what they are up to during the lockdown. Weinberg, the director of the Whitney Museum, has been reading The Freedom Artist by Ben Okri. Artist Neshat says she worked on finishing her film, Land of Dreams, which stars Isabella Rossellini, Matt Dillon, and Sheila Vand. And designer and heiress Rockefeller has been attending to her five horses in England. (New York Times)

UK Art Students Say They Are Being Pushed to Work Less – A higher education funding body, UK Research and Innovation, has asked students to adapt their doctoral projects and theses due to funding cuts caused by the coronavirus crisis. Now, some 770 academics have signed a letter criticizing the move. While the funding body says “the priority for students now is to… adjust research projects to mitigate the delays caused by COVID-19,” one student says that the body is instead asking students “to produce less rigorous and ambitious projects because they cannot offer us the proper funding or protections.” (The Art Newspaper)

Emmett Till’s Chicago Home Is Now a Landmark – The house of Emmett Till, who was brutally murdered in 1955 at 14 years old after being falsely accused of whistling at a white woman, has been declared a historic landmark by Chicago’s city council. Till’s mother, Mamie Till-Mobley, continued to live in the apartment at 6427 S. St. Lawrence Avenue until 1962. Blacks in Green, a local nonprofit, purchased the property last year and plans to transform it into a museum. (Hyperallergic)


Is Product Placement the Future of Art Auctions? – Last week’s Old Masters sale at Sotheby’s was padded with product placement from a sponsor: luxury jeweler Bulgari. During the event, auctioneer Oliver Barker mentioned that he was wearing a watch by the brand and specialists were decked out in Bulgari earrings, necklaces, and brooches. In a way, the partnership makes sense: Sotheby’s is streaming into scores of rich people’s houses. It’s better than advertising on Hulu. (The Art Newspaper)

Derek Fordjour Heads to David Kordansky – The acclaimed painter has joined the roster at Los Angeles-based David Kordansky. The gallery will present a new, monumental piece by Fordjour online in April and a solo exhibition in spring 2022. The artist will continue to be represented by Petzel gallery in New York. (ARTnews)


Influential Stedelijk Museum Curator Dies – Rini Dippel, a former longtime curator and deputy director of the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, has died. Dippel, who was born in 1931, worked at the museum for more than two decades and organized shows by Richard Serra, Ellsworth Kelly, and Gilbert & George. (ARTnews)

Taipei Museum Names New Director – The Taipei Fine Arts Museum has named artist, curator, and educator Jun Jieh Wang as its new director. She replaces Ping Lin, whose abrupt resignation followed criticism from city officials of political content in an exhibition she co-curated at the museum in October. Wang currently serves as associate professor at the Department of New Media Art at Taipei National University of the Arts. (Art Asia Pacific)

The Gwangju Biennale Pushes Back Opening  South Korea’s major art exhibition will push back from its original opening date of February 26 to April 1. It will still close, as planned, on May 9. (That’s a pretty short run for all that work!) (ARTnews)


Martine Syms Will Host a Museum’s Podcast – Looking for a new podcast (other than the Art Angle, of course)? The Carnegie Museum of Art is launching a weekly mini-series called Mirror with a Memory. The six-part podcast will be hosted by American artist Martine Syms and will explore the intersections of photography, surveillance, artificial intelligence, and society. Artists Sondra Perry and Stan Douglas will be among the guests. (Press release)

Tony Cokes Lights Up London – Throughout February, artist Tony Cokes will bring his text-based works to the large billboard at London’s Piccadilly Circus. With 4 Voices / 4 Weeks, Cokes will present his own interpretation of words from singer John Lydon, theorist Judith Butler, civil rights hero John Lewis, as well as Elijah McClain, a 23-year old Black man who died from a chokehold at the hands of police in 2019. (Press release)


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