Art Industry News: Artist Sues Kendrick Lamar and SZA for ’Black Panther’ Damages + More Must-Read Stories

Plus, consider arbitration if you want to sue someone in the art world and a topless version of ex-pope’s bust divides opinion.

Rapper Kendrick Lamar and SZA at the Grammys. (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for NARAS)

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 Wednesday, February 21.


Malaysian Artist Jailed for Cartoon – The Malaysian artist-activist Fahmi Rezah has been jailed for a month and fined $7,700 for his cartoon of the country’s prime minister. The artist will appeal the sentence for his caricature of Najib Razak in clown makeup, which went viral after it was posted on social media. (BBC)

Topless Version of Ex-Pope’s Bust Divides Opinion – The sculptor Jago’s controversial new portrait bust of former Pope Benedict undressed is on display in Rome. The Italian sculptor denies that he meant any disrespect by removing the papal robes (apart from a skull cap) and adding eyes to his 2009 bust, which was praised by Benedict XVI. (Crux Now)

Artist Files Lawsuit Over “Black Panther” – Claiming that Kendrick Lamar and SZA used three of her artworks for their video “All the Stars” despite her repeated refusal to grant them the rights, the artist Lina Iris Viktor is suing the musicians behind the blockbuster film’s hit soundtrack for damages and an injunction. (TMZ)

Tania Bruguera Gets Tate Modern Commission – The Cuban artist-activist will return to London to create a new work for the museum’s vast Turbine Hall in the fall. The former Tate Modern artist-in-residence’s Hyundai Commission is due to be unveiled on October 2, accompanied by a publication. (Press release)   ​


Want to Sue Someone in the Art World? Consider Arbitration – Court proceedings can have disastrous consequences, both pecuniarily and due to their very public nature. Arbitration offers a platform to resolve art disputes in private and in a neutral venue, rather than in a national court of law, with all parties agreeing to exclude the court’s jurisdiction prior to the proceedings. Decisions granted by arbitration are enforceable in most countries under a 1958 New York Convention, and they are very difficult to appeal against. (Apollo Magazine)

Marciano Steps Aside From Guess Amid Sexual Misconduct Investigation – Guess Inc. co-founder Paul Marciano, the art collector behind LA’s Marciano Art Foundation, will take a step back from his role at the fashion company while a sexual misconduct investigation into his behavior is being conducted. Guess will not continue to pay the executive chairman and CCO while he is away. Marciano denies the allegations, which were first aired by the model Kate Upton. (Associated Press)

Sotheby’s Readies South Asian Art Sale – The 2018 edition of the annual sale held during Asia Week New York will include over 70 lots carrying an overall estimate of $4.7–5.6 million, and will feature work by Sayed Haider Raza, Raja Ravi Varma, and Maqbool Fida Husain, as well as examples of 19th- and 20th-century photography for the first time. The work on offer will show at Sotheby’s New York from March 14, ahead of the March 19 sale. (Press release)

Ellie Goulding to Co-Curate Sotheby’s Contemporary Curated Auction – The singer-songwriter will curate the March 2 sale with her art-dealer partner Caspar Jopling. They have chosen 15 of their favorite works from the sale’s more than 260 lots, including works by Charline von Heyl, Ed Ruscha, Richard Serra, George Condo, Sherrie Levine, and Andy Warhol. An exhibition in New York will open on February 23. (Press release)


Pelham Art Center Taps New Executive Director – Charlotte Mouquin will succeed Lynn Honeysett, who is retiring in March. The new director is both a curator and artist, who previously helmed the Rush Arts Galleries of Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation. (Press release)

Manchester Museum Appoints its First Female Director – The new appointee Esme Ward will be the first woman to hold the position in the institution’s 125-year history. Ward was previously the Head of Learning & Engagement at Manchester Museum and the Whitworth. (Press release)​

2018 Infinity Award Winners Announced – The International Center of Photography has named the 2018 honorees of its annual Infinity Awards, including Juergen Teller and Bruce Davidson. The 34th annual ICP Infinity Awards ceremony will be held in New York City on Monday, April 9, at Spring Studios. (Press release)

Cooper Hewitt Creates First-Ever Chief Experience Officer Position –  The Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum has announced some shifts in its board of trustees, as well as the recruitment of its first-ever chief experience officer (abbreviated to CXO), Carolyn Royston. (Press release)


Artists’ Benches Coming to the Lower East Side – The Lower East Side Partnership is seeking three to five artists to design benches to brighten up pedestrian plazas across the New York neighbourhood. Colorful, pattern-based proposals for the new seating that will double as planters will be preferred by the community group. (The Low-Down)

Black Panther Is a Hit With New Smithsonian Director – The new director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art, Gus Casely-Hayford, is impressed by the blockbuster filmsaying the superhero movie’s “rich, confident Africa leaves you questioning what you thought you knew about the continent—and for a continent that is so often misunderstood, or misrepresented, that can only be good.” (Smithsonian)

Baltimore Museum Appoints First Landscape-Artist-in-Residence – Paula Hayes, the visual artist and landscape designer known for her blown-glass terrariums, has been tapped as the BMA’s inaugural honoree. Hayes will orchestrate the creative development of the 7.5 acres of the museum’s grounds over the next two years. (Press release)

Italian Americans Push for Landmark Status for Columbus Statue – Mayor de Blasio’s proposal to alter the Christopher Columbus statue at Columbus Circle to include contextual information—warts and all—is being opposed by a coalition of Italian-American groups, who view the explorer as a cultural icon. The objectors are asking for landmark status and have filed a petition for review with the Landmark Preservation Commission. (NY Post)



“Latin American Works on Paper”
The Mayor Gallery – London
Through March 1st

Featuring works on paper by seven artists and art collectives from Latin America, the Mayor Gallery’s current show in London provides a dazzling look at the vibrant creativity that has flourished in the region since the 1950s—a period characterized by political upheaval and artistic resistance to oppressive regimes. The show ranges from such classic figures as Brazil’s Waldemar Cordeiro and Cuba’s Wifredo Arcay to contemporary talents like Hamlet Lavastida and the acclaimed collective Los Carpinteros, who are represented by their largest watercolor artwork to date.

Mira Schendel’s Untitled (1960s)

Wilfredo Arcay’s Untitled (c. 1950)

Los Carpinteros’s Edificio Rio-Mar

Follow Artnet News on Facebook:

Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.