Art Industry News: Art Dealers Are Shocked to Realize That 2020 Was Actually a Historically Good Year for Business + Other Stories

Plus, the California African American Museum names a new director and Maurizio Cattelan shoots the cover of Vanity Fair.

Andy Warhol's 200 One Dollar Bills during an auction preview, Photo: Emmanuel Dunand/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 on this Wednesday, February 24.


Nicole Eisenman Gets the New Yorker Profile Treatment – The star painter goes to visit her mom in Scarsdale, New York, in her recent New Yorker profile. Kay Eisenman explains that Nicole had trouble in school (one psychologist said she had a “grave mental disability”), but Kay says she was “an amazing child from the minute she opened her eyes—she took everything in.” Eisenman recalls life in gritty 1980s New York, when she began combining a cartoon sensibility with political art. She recalls her burgeoning style as “subjecting Richie Rich to whatever torturous fantasies I had.” (New Yorker)

David Adjaye Helped Recreate a Famed Mural – The 1199 Service Employees International Union managed to entice leading architect David Adjaye to take on the redesign of their new building. Even though it was a small project for his firm, Adjaye says he took the job because he admired the organization’s social commitment. The project came with one wrinkle: Adjaye had to reproduce the group’s famous social-realist mosaic mural by Anton Refregier, which is now facing demolition and unable to be moved. The architect remade the mural as separate pieces throughout the new building and added extra glass tiles documenting the recent history of the union. (New York Times)

American Museums Ask Congress for Relief Funds – The American Alliance of Museums has asked federal lawmakers to approve a funding boost for museums that are still suffering from shutdowns. The organization declared Monday and Tuesday as Museum Advocacy days, during which its supporters will petition Congress to increase funding for shuttered venues and expand charitable tax deductions to encourage more Americans to donate to museums. (The Art Newspaper)

Bank of England Will Remove Images of Slave Owners – As a culture war brews in the UK over controversial historic monuments, the Bank of England has vowed to move ahead with a review of its art collection to identify imagery of former governors with links to slavery. The goal is “to ensure none with any such involvement in the slave trade remain on display anywhere in the bank,” according to a statement. The news clashes with a recent announcement from the UK government encouraging institutions to “retain and explain” problematic monuments. (TAN)


Galleries Are Thriving During Lockdown – The art market “is raging,” according Los Angeles dealer François Ghebaly. His best year to date was 2020, despite the global pandemic and curbs on art fairs and travel. And he’s not alone. The main reason for the surprising success is that, while sales were down in some cases, there were no major expenses, which helped to balance the books. (Bloomberg)

Collector Who Bought Kanye’s Teenage Art Trove Speaks Out – Vinoda Basnayake was only a law student when he helped promote a Kanye West performance at a Washington, DC, club. Years later, after seeing one of West’s relatives present the music star’s childhood art on Antiques Roadshow, he tracked them down to buy it for himself. “I’ve always been really interested in the origin of artists, and where the art comes from,” Basnayake said. (Complex)


Cameron Shaw Named Director of California’s African American Museum – The museum’s deputy director and chief curator since 2019, Shaw plans to focus on four themes for the museum in upcoming programming: Black abstraction, Black spirituality, liberating the Black archives, and environmental justice. (LA Times)

Artist James Bishop Dies at 93 The Missouri-born minimalist abstract painter died in the French town of Dreux, not far from his residence in Blévy. The artist, who described himself as “an Abstract Expressionist of the quieter branch,” was known for compositions of just a few colors. (ARTnews)


Spain Removes Last Statue of Franco – In a Spanish town on the border of Morocco, the last statue of the Spanish dictator Francisco Franco has come down. The monument was erected in 1978 to commemorate the fascist leader’s role in the Rif War between the Berber tribes and Spaniards in the 1920s. (Guardian)

Maurizio Cattelan and Pierpaolo Ferrari Shoot Vanity Fair’s Hollywood Issue – The artists, who founded the cult favorite magazine Toiletpaper, managed to pull off a remote fashion shoot for the most recent cover of Vanity Fair, which features leading lights of Tinseltown including Spike Lee, Michael B. Jordan, and Zendaya. (Vanity Fair)

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