Art Industry News: Seoul Is Getting a Robot Museum, Built by Robots + Other Stories
Plus, the Dallas Art Fair opens a permanent showroom and the Art Basel sponsor UBS is hit with a $4.2 billion fine.
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 Thursday, February 21.
Jerry Saltz on Why Frieze Clicked in LA – The New York art critic wonders why, after so many failed art fairs in Los Angeles, the debut edition of Frieze LA clicked with the city’s collectors. “I often say about art fairs that they are a spectacle of art having sex with money in public,” he writes. “At Frieze, they went at it like a gaggle of pent-up bonobo monkeys.” He credits the exclusivity of the fair and its hip Britishness (“Americans can’t make fairs this exclusive”) for its success. (Vulture)
Protestors Converge on the Jewish Museum in San Francisco – Activists have accused the San Francisco institution of pink-washing. On February 9, protestors took to the steps of the museum with signs and projections reading “Unmask Israeli Apartheid” and “Palestinian Liberation Is Self-Determination.” The demonstration comes in the wake of the museum’s new exhibition “Show Me as I Want to Be Seen,” which looks at fluid identity; opponents claim the museum is using LGBTQ discourse to gloss over Israel’s alleged human rights abuses. (Hyperallergic)
Seoul Will Get a Robot Museum, Built by Robots – Robots and drones will construct the building housing the Robot Science Museum in Seoul. The futuristic structure, designed by Turkish firm Melike Altınışık Architects, will be molded, assembled, and polished by robots, while the concrete landscaping will be created using 3D-printers. Barring technical hitches, the museum is due to open in 2022. (Dezeen)
European Parliament Calls for Restitution Overhaul – The European Union’s parliament has asked the European Commission to update its legal framework for international restitution of art and cultural goods looted from its members during wartime. Some Eastern European nations have been reluctant to adopt the Washington Principles, non-binding propositions for the restitution of Nazi-looted cultural goods. New proposals include a pan-European looted art database and additional funds for provenance research. (The Art Newspaper)
What Will a No-Deal Brexit Mean for the Art Market? – Though the UK is not the economic powerhouse it once was, it is still one of the strongest forces in the international art market. With the prospect of a no-deal Brexit looming on March 29, dealers, auction houses, and artists are scrambling. Modern Art gallery is sending Eva Rothschild’s work to the Venice Biennale early and Tornabuoni Art is cutting short its London exhibition of works by Alberto Burri and Lucio Fontana in case artworks fall under new export rules. (New York Times)
Do We Still Need Printed Auction Catalogues? – The publication of auction catalogues is on the decline. Ten years ago, Sotheby’s held 310 auctions and printed 2.5 million of the hefty tomes. Last year, the house had 334 sales and published 1.1 million catalogues. Audiences are divided over whether their publication is an environmentally inconsiderate, outdated custom or a welcome opportunity for reflection and repose in a frenetic art world. (Apollo)
Dallas Art Fair Gets a Year-Round Space – As art fairs worldwide seek to differentiate themselves, the Texan art fair is opening a permanent space where invited dealers can exhibit work throughout the year. Called 214 Projects, the new enterprise will be housed in a 2,500-square-foot exhibition space in Dallas’s Design District. (ARTnews)
Galleries Join the New Art Dealers Alliance – NADA has taken on a slew of new members, including Atlanta Contemporary, New York’s Jack Barrett and Essex Flowers, and Franz Kaka from Toronto, Canada. Nine will participate in the inaugural edition of the NADA New York Gallery Open from March 4 to 10, including 17ESSEX and 321 Gallery. (Press release)
COMINGS & GOINGS
Art Basel Partner UBS Hit With Multibillion-Euro Fine – The Swiss bank UBS, the main sponsor of Art Basel and a supporter of the fair since 1994, was hit with a €3.7 billion ($4.2 billion) fine by a criminal court in Paris on Wednesday for assisting its wealthy French clients with tax evasion. UBS also supports several other art institutions, including the Louisiana Museum near Copenhagen, the Nouveau Musée National de Monaco, Basel’s Fondation Beyeler, and the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art in Moscow. (TAN)
A Sackler Launches a Fashion Line – Joss Sackler unveiled her first fashion collection during New York Fashion Week at a private event. Inspired by her passion for climbing and keeping fit, it mixed neon hoodies with rugged boots. Asked if her name—she’s married to David Sackler, whose family owns Purdue Pharma, the makers of OxyContin—was a liability in her new venture, “Mrs. Sackler fell silent and looked away.” (New York Times)
Japan Is Getting a Poop Museum – OK, now we’ve really gone too far with the whole Instagram trap thing, right? An pop-up “museum” of turds is due to open in Yokohama next month to coincide with the city’s traditional cherry-blossom festival. Called the Unko Museum (Poop Museum), its mascot is a walking pile of poo called Unberuto who carries a toilet like a boombox. (Mental Floss)
FOR ART’S SAKE
Giacometti Is Peter Lindbergh’s Newest Supermodel – The artist’s institute in Paris has given the German photographer carte blanche to photograph Alberto Giacometti’s sculptures as if they were supermodels. As part of the collaboration, he also installed sculptures and drawings from the sculptor’s archives alongside his own portraits of Jeanne Moreau, Julianne Moore, and Kate Moss, among others. (Eye of Photography)
Sexy Abraham Lincoln Sculpture Turns Heads on Twitter – An 80-year-old sculpture of a young Abraham Lincoln has become a sensation on social media. James Henson’s portrayal of the US President as a smooth-chested stud has been called worthy of Sports Illustrated. The 22-year-old artist used his beach body as a model for the New Deal commission in 1939. (Paper Mag)
Steve Cohen Is Selling an Apartment for $35.5 Million – The billionaire art collector has listed his three-story condo in the West Village. The $35.5 million property in the Abingdon has ample wall and floor space for big works of art, although Cohen’s own works are artfully pixelated on the website of Christie’s Real Estate. (Forbes)
Beyoncé and Jay-Z Accept Award in Front of Meghan Markle Portrait – The Carters reprised the opening scene from their video Apeshit for a pre-taped segment to accept a BRIT Award for Best International Group. But instead of standing in front of the Mona Lisa at the Louvre, they stood in front of a portrait of the one and only Meghan Markle. The portrait, by TIME cover artist Tim O’Brien, shows Markle wearing a tiara and looking every inch a duchess. (Vulture)
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