Art Industry News: Activists Demand Tate Sever Ties With Patron Anthony D’Offay + More Must-Read Stories

Plus, a zany Roman museum director wants to replace his art with his staff and Sherri Geldin steps down from the Wexner Center.

British art dealer, collector, and curator Anthony d'Offay with a work by Phyllida Barlow at Tate Modern. Photo: NIKLAS HALLE'N/AFP/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 Thursday, February 22.


Kara Walker’s Wagon Sculpture Arrives at Last – The artist’s noisy, performative sculpture—a steam-powered calliope inside a covered wagon—rolled into New Orleans just in time for the close of Prospect 4. Kara Walker ended up self-funding the $250,000 production cost of Katastwóf Karavan. But the exhibition’s artistic director Trevor Schoonmaker admitted that the process caused both “headaches and heartaches” as artist and organizers disputed who would pay for what. (New York Times)

Expert Commission to Examine Russian Works Disbands – The expert committee appointed to examine the controversial cache of Russian avant-garde works loaned to the Museum voor Schone Kunsten in Ghent dissolved within hours because, one member said, there was “a de facto veto of our work from the start.” The next day, the city of Ghent announced the loan had officially been cancelled and the works returned to their owners. Some fear the episode will cause lasting damage to the region’s reputation. (TAN)

Activists Demand Tate Sever Ties With D’Offay – The group “We Are Not Surprised” is demanding that Tate sever all ties with donor and former art dealer Anthony d’Offay, who has been accused of sexual harassment. (He denies the claims.) The group has asked for d’Offay’s name to be removed from the Turbine Hall entrance and from Artist Rooms, a touring collection of contemporary art that he part-gifted, part-sold to Tate and National Galleries of Scotland. (The Art Newspaper)

Artist’s Anti-Trump Art Rejected by College – Artist and visiting professor Serhat Tanyolacar has accused Polk State College in Florida of censorship after his anti-Trump work was rejected from an exhibition. Death of Innocence includes images of pornography, President Trump, and Vladimir Putin. While a visiting professor at the University of Iowa in 2014, another work by Tanyolacar was removed from a show due to its use of Ku Klux Klan imagery. (Free Beacon)​


David Zwirner Appoints Third London Director – David Zwirner has named Harry Scrymgeour a co-director of his London gallery, joining James Green and Rodolphe von Hofmannsthal. Scrymgeour was a partner at Clearing gallery and before that director of Michael Werner Gallery in London. (ARTnews)

Ingleby Gallery Moves to Historic Edinburgh Space – The Edinburgh-based Ingleby Gallery is moving to a former church meeting house in the center of the Scottish capital. The restored 1834 building will reopen as a contemporary art gallery on May 12. (ARTnews)

Tommy Hilfiger Drops Price of Pop Art Mansion – The fashion mogul and his wife Dee have dropped the price of their home in Golden Beach, Florida, which they decorated to match their Pop art collection. One of the rooms is inspired by Warhol’s Mickey Mouse and another by the artist’s Flowers. The beachfront mansion is now on offer for $23.5 million, down from $27.5 million. (Architectural Digest)​


Sherri Geldin Steps Down From the Wexner Center – Geldin, who has helmed the arts center at Ohio State University for the past 25 years, will depart at the end of 2018. Under her directorship, the Wexner sustained an artist residency program that hosted Barbara Kruger, Kerry James Marshall, and Chris Marker, among others. She also oversaw an extensive $15 million renovation. (Press release)

Despite Crisis, Construction of documenta Institute Is Underway – With an ongoing investigation of its spending practices and a financial crisis still largely unresolved, documenta is moving forward with its plans to build an institute that will explore the history of the exhibition. The construction costs are estimated at €24 million ($29 million). (DPA)

NEH Boosts Award Money – Looking to research and write an article or book on art or other topics in the humanities? Good news: The NEH just bumped up the monthly stipend for its fellows to $5,000 (an increase of $800), meaning they can now pull in some $60,000 a year. (Press release)

PAMM Boosts African American Art Fund – At PAMM’s annual fundraiser for its African American art fund, the Knight Foundation announced it would match every dollar raised this year to support the cause. Knight has already matched more than $250,000 raised during the event itself for a total of $500,000 that will support the growth of the museum’s collection of African American art. (Press release)


Restored Masterpiece Goes on View in Florida – The largest existing painting by the American landscape painter Albert Bierstadt, The Domes of the Yosemite, is finally going on view at the Morse Museum of American Art in Florida. It is the first time since 1873 that the work has been exhibited outside the Athenaeum in Vermont. (Press release)

Controversial New Museum Director Plans Radical Project in Rome – Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Roma has a new and controversial director, Giorgio de Finis, who wants to transform the museum for 15 months into “Macro Asilo” (“Macro Asylum”), an open laboratory where there will be no exhibitions. Instead, the daily activity of the museum’s staff will be on view. Not everyone is thrilled. (TAN)

Judge Says Bombing Victims Cannot Seize Museum Artifacts for Payment – The US Supreme Court has ruled that the Americans injured in a 1997 Hamas suicide bombing cannot seize clay tablets and other Iranian artifacts from the University of Chicago in order to satisfy a $71 million judgement of money owed to them by Iran. (Courthouse News)

Rammellzee Is Coming to New York – Red Bull Arts New York is presenting the largest survey to date of the hip-hop pioneer Rammellzee, who created exuberant costumes, paintings, and sculptures. RAMMΣLLZΣΣ: Racing for Thunder will run from May 4 to August 26 and present oral histories recorded by his contemporaries. (Press release)

Rammellzee as ‘Crux the Monk’, July 2002. Photograph by Keetja Allard.

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