Art Industry News: Steve Wynn Just Dropped More Than $100 Million on Two Picassos From the Marron Collection + Other Stories

Plus, critics love a show of Mexican muralism at the Whitney and Dior Men's creative director is curating an auction for Sotheby's.

Steve Wynn is doubling down on Picasso. Photo by Ethan Miller/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 Tuesday, February 25.


Steve Wynn Paid More Than $100 Million for Marron’s Picassos – The casino mogul is reported to have snapped up two Picassos, Woman With Beret and Collar (1937) and the 1962 portrait Seated Woman (Jacqueline), from the estate of the late Don Marron for $105 million. Wynn is believed to have already told friends about the purchase, though a spokesperson for his art business did not confirm or deny the sale. Another collector who was offered works from the estate, which is being sold by Gagosian, Pace, and Aquavella galleries, says that artworks worth more than $200 million from the collection have already found new homes. (Wall Street Journal)

Korean Museums Close Amid Coronavirus Outbreak – Museums in Seoul have been forced to shutter because of the coronavirus, as South Korea now has more than 600 confirmed cases. Institutions affected include the Leeum Samsung Museum of Art, the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, and the National Museum of Korea. The Ghibli Museum in Tokyo, which focuses on animation, has also closed. Meanwhile, several museums in Northern Italy have been shuttered, including institutions in Milan, Venice, and Castello di Rivoli, outside Turin. (ARTnewsDazed)

Is the International Art World Ignoring Asian Museums Amid the Outbreak? – Philip Dodd, the head of the arts consultancy Made in China, is calling on the Western art world to support struggling Chinese museums and galleries as they deal with the fallout from the coronavirus. With Art Basel Hong Kong cancelled this year and loan shows in peril, Dodd is asking for financial and logistical support. “Hold an auction, [and] invite Chinese galleries (when the masks are off) to take up residence in Western capitals temporarily,” he writes. He is also urging Westerners to work with institutions in cities like Shenzhen, which he predicts will soon become the center of China’s art industry. (The Art Newspaper)


Dior’s Kim Jones Will Curate a Sotheby’s Auction – In yet another sign of the increasing ties between high fashion and the upper echelons of the art world, Dior Men’s artistic director Kim Jones has picked 20 works for a Sotheby’s-curated sale slated to take place on March 6 in New York. His selection includes pieces by Cindy Sherman, David Hockney, Ed Ruscha, Nick Cave, Richard Prince, and Kerry James Marshall. “It’s an organic relationship for me,” Jones said in a statement. “From the beginning of fashion, designers [have] work[ed] with artists and artists [have] work[ed] with designers, it kind of goes hand-in-hand.” (WWD)

Invader’s Mona Lisa Sells for €480,000 – The French street artist Invader’s version of the Mona Lisa, made in 2005 from Rubik’s Cube tiles, soared well past its presale estimate at an Artcurial auction in Paris. The riff on Leonardo’s masterpiece hammered for €480,200 ($520,680), far surpassing the €150,000 auctioneers publicly predicted they could fetch. (France24)


LA Gets Its First World Heritage Plaque – Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hollyhock House in East Hollywood has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The designation “underscores what we already know,” LA city councilman Mitch O’Farrell said at a ceremony this week. “The structure represents an unparalleled symbol of cultural heritage and an outstanding contribution to design in the city of Los Angeles and the world.” The house, built between 1918 and 1921, was almost destroyed in the 1940s. (Los Angeles Times)

Artist James Brown Dies at 68 – The American-born, Mexico-based painter and his wife died in a car crash on Saturday in Mexico. The artist, who was born in 1951 and is known for his neo-Cubist collages and abstract gouaches, studied in Paris at the École des Beaux-Arts and had shows early in his career with Leo Castelli and Tony Shafrazi. (Artforum)

Athens Contemporary Museum Finally Opens – After repeated delays, the National Museum of Contemporary Art in Athens is ready to open to the public this Friday, February 28, ahead of its official inauguration in April. Organizers are still searching for a director to lead the institution, which is funded by a €44.6 million government grant. More than 170 works by nearly 80 artists are included in the inaugural exhibition. (Greek Times)


Don’t Forget Your iPhone – The founders of the selfie-friendly Museum of Ice Cream say their next plan is to come up with attractions where phones are not permitted. But if you’re planning on a trip to the already existing experience, definitely your device; otherwise, you may have a lame trip. Anna Silman, a New York magazine journalist, visited the attraction recently without her phone and felt like she had “shown up a swim class without my bathing suit.” Surveying a group of teenage visitors, she asked if any of them would be willing to leave their smartphones at the door. “Probably not, unless they had cameras embedded in the walls taking photos of you so you could still have them,” said one skeptical teen. (The Cut

A Plan to Move Budapest’s Natural History Museum Has Sparked an Outcry – The Hungarian government is facing stern resistance over its plan to banish a 200-year-old natural history museum from the country’s capital to a small town more than 120 miles away. A collection of 10 million items would be relocated if the plan goes through, but scientists say that specimens could be damaged, and that the move could make future research and projects logistically difficult. (Nature)

The Whitney’s “Vida Americana” Gets a Rave Review… – Critic Jerry Saltz says a new exhibition at the Whitney focusing on Mexican muralism from 1925 and 1945 is “the most relevant show of the 21st century.” It includes political art by Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, David Siqueiros, and José Orozco, among others, and highlights the cultural exchanges between American and Mexican artists in the lead up to the end of the Second World War. (Vulture)

… While the Guggenheim’s New Show Is Getting Panned – Architect Rem Koolhaas’s new show at the museum, “Countryside, the Future,” has divided critics, some of whom find what it includes and excludes troublesome. The architect’s examination of the present and the past “is populated largely of people just like him: big-picture thinkers and privileged dispensers of wisdom,” according to one writer for New York magazine. (Intelligencer)

Tracey Emin Mourns the Death of Her Muse, Docket the Cat – The famous artist’s 19-year-old cat, who was a major inspiration for several of her works and drawings, has died at age 19. The cat was given to her by a former boyfriend, artist Mat Collishaw, in 2002. (Daily Mail)

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