Art Industry News: Rosie O’Donnell Makes Anti-Trump Art—and It’s Selling Like Crazy + More Must-Read Stories

Plus, a Catalan museum shows work censored at ARCOmadrid and a new Mexican art-heist movie gets rave reviews.

Rosie O'Donnell in LA in August 2017. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images For Showtime)

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 23.


David Adjaye’s Latvian Museum Hit by Bank’s Woes – The David Adjaye-designed Latvian Museum of Contemporary Art in Riga has hit a major roadblock. The bank funding it, ABLV, has been accused of money laundering by the US government. The bank denies the allegations, but the US Treasury has moved to block it from trading in dollars. The museum was due to open in 2021. (Calvert Journal)

Critics Weigh In on New Museum Triennial – Holland Cotter takes the New Museum Triennial to task for playing it safe, yearning for more forthright polemical works and fewer pieces that “art fairs suck up.” Meanwhile, Jerry Saltz takes issue with the curators’ artspeak and their desire to be “more woke than you.” But he admires much of the art they chose to include. (New York TimesVulture)

Rosie O’Donnell Is Selling Anti-Trump Art – Rosie O’Donnell, who has a long-running feud with US President Donald Trump, has taken it to the next level. She has begun to sell homemade anti-Trump art on Etsy—and her first round is selling like hotcakes. O’Donnell says she will match the proceeds and use the money to fund candidates and causes that oppose Trump’s agenda. (USA Today)

Catalan Museum to Show Sierra’s Censored Portraits – A museum in Catalonia will show Santiago Sierra’s pixelated portraits of political prisoners, which include jailed Catalan separatists. The work was removed this week from ARCOmadrid at the request of the fair’s organizers, who have since apologized. The Museu de Lleida was forced to restitute religious paintings and artifacts to a neighboring region last December. (El Pais)


P.P.O.W. to Rep Joe Houston – The artist Joe Houston will be represented by the New York gallery, where he showed his figurative paintings in the 1980s. P.P.O.W. will present Houston’s new works at the Armory Show next month. The artist abandoned painting for teaching in the mid-’90s. (ARTnews)

Art Basel Announces Hong Kong Films – Art Basel has teamed up with the Hong Kong nonprofit Videotage and the Nam June Paik Art Center to show early videos by the American-Korean artist, among others. The March fair’s film program also includes Bruce Conner’s 1967 classic Looking for Mushrooms. (Press release)

Madrid Mayor Backs Santiago Sierra – Madrid’s mayor has stayed away from ARCOmadrid’s opening events to show support for Santiago Sierra and freedom of expression after the fair removed his portraits of Spain’s political prisoners. But she plans to visit the fair on Sunday. (Guardian)

Art Brussels Channels Old Master for 50th Year – The “epic migrations” of the Ghent Altarpiece by Jan van Eyck has inspired a curated show for Art Brussels’s 50th anniversary. It will feature works by artists who have attended Ghent’s High Institute of Fine Art. The fair has also commissioned a film about the past 50 years of the Belgian art scene. (Press release)


New Curator of Performance for the Whitney Museum – The New York institution has named Adrienne Edwards as the Engell Speyer Family Curator and Curator of Performance. Edwards, who begins her new role in May, is known for her curatorial work with Performa. She also served as curator-at-large at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. (ARTnews)

Remai Modern Taps Adjunct Curator – Gerald McMaster, an expert on Indigenous contemporary art who is also of Indigenous descent, has been named the adjunct curator of Remai Modern in Canada. Currently, McMaster is a professor at the Ontario College of Art and Design in Toronto, where he specializes in curatorial studies, Indigenous visual history, and contemporary Indigenous art. (Saskatoon Star Phoenix)

Crozier Appoints Lisson Alum as VIP – Crozier has appointed Tom Hale as the company’s general manager and senior vice president. He joins from Lisson Gallery, where he was the global commercial director. He began his career as an art handler working with Damien Hirst and Lucian Freud. (Press release)

Director of Quebec’s Musée de Beaux Arts to Step Down – Line Ouellet is stepping down after seven years at the helm of the preeminent French Canadian institution. During her tenure, Ouellet oversaw hundreds of exhibitions, including Le Louvre in Quebec City in 2008, which was the result of a three-year collaboration with the Paris museum. (Le Soleil)


Craft Gets a Boost at the CAA Conference – According to scholars, the time has come for the art-historical canon to fully embrace craft. At this year’s College Art Association conference, which runs through Saturday, an unprecedented number of panels are dedicated to the topic. (The Art Newspaper)

New Film Features Epic Art Heist – A Mexican film titled Museum and directed by Alonso Ruizpalacios debuted in Berlin at the International Film Festival this week. It tells the suspenseful story of two young Mexicans who pull off an amateur robbery of a priceless Aztec artifact. (Hollywood Reporter)

An Artist Sets Out to Capture the World’s Mythical Beasts – Deep in the tiny town of Merano, Italy, artist Iman Joy El Shami-Mader has given herself a herculean task: to draw all the mythical creatures from every corner of the globe, from famous creatures to niche specialties like Peru’s Huayramama (look it up). To help, she is asking people from around the world to send her their local beasties at [email protected]. Below, some standouts from El Shami-Mader’s Instagram. (Atlas Obscura)


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