Art Industry News: Damien Hirst’s Notorious Shipwreck Sculptures Will Go to Rome’s Most Exalted Renaissance Gallery + Other Stories

Plus, Mexico files a claim against Christie's over 33 pre-Columbian artifacts and Kehinde Wiley's Black Rock residency names its new class.

Damien Hirst, Hydra and Kali Discovered by Four Divers. Image: Photographed by Christoph Gerigk © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS/SIAE 2017.

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 3.


Has the Final 5Pointz Ruling Opened the Floodgates? – Following the US Supreme Court’s decision in October to let stand a landmark ruling against a real estate developer who painted over the 5Pointz graffiti hub in New York, artists who work in public spaces are leaning more and more on the protections afforded to them by the Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990. Typically, just three or four cases a year are filed relating to the law; in the three months since the Supreme Court declined to take up the case, some half a dozen VARA claims were filed. (Bloomberg Law)

UC Purchases Debt of San Francisco Art Institute – The University of California has bought the embattled San Francisco Art Institute’s debt for around $19.7 million. The move saves SFAI from bank foreclosure on its main campus—but it leaves unanswered the fate of the institute’s beloved Diego Rivera mural, which could still be sold to shore up its finances. (The California Aggie)

Damien Hirst’s Shipwreck Is Coming to the Galleria Borghese – One of this decade’s most talked-about—and hated—bodies of work is coming to one of the world’s most august museums. Sculptures from Damien Hirst’s notorious exhibition “Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable,” which debuted at François Pinault’s Venice museums in 2017, will resurface at Rome’s Galleria Borghese from May 10 to October 10. They will be exhibited alongside famous figures from the gallery’s collection ranging from Caravaggio to Titian to Bernini. (The Art Newspaper)

Marilyn Manson Abuse Allegations Cast Art in New Light – Musician and painter Marilyn Manson has been accused of sexual abuse by several past partners, including actress Evan Rachel Wood and an artist named Gabriella, who works under the name Sourgirrrl. Manson has been painting since 1995 and his work has been exhibited at numerous galleries, as well as in a solo show at the Groninger Museum in the Netherlands in 2014. His record at auction is £32,450 ($53,556), according to the Artnet Price Database. (KQED)


Mexico Files Claim Against Christie’s – Mexico’s national institute of anthropology and history has filed a claim for ownership of 33 pre-Columbian artifacts slated to be sold at Christie’s this month. The Mexican government wants the objects to be repatriated. (El País)

Dealers Struggle Under Brexit Rules – UK art dealers are growing frustrated with Brexit red tape that is hampering easy movement between the UK and Europe, introducing new taxes on imports, and bogging down sales with excessive administrative hassle. Dealers on the EU side, however, don’t fear the loss of UK buyers as import VAT to the UK is still relatively low. (New York Times)


Venice Architecture Biennale Set to Go Ahead – The postponed-by-a-year Venice Architecture Biennale plans to open as (re)scheduled on May 22. This bodes well for the Venice Art Biennale, which will hopefully be able to keep its new slot in April 2022. (Surface)

Art-Scene Chronicler Ricky Powell Dies – The photographer who captured New York’s art scene and the ascendance of hip-hop with a point-and-shoot camera in the 1980s has died at 59. His subjects ranged from Cindy Crawford in a nightclub bathroom to Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat outside a gallery opening. (New York Times)

Phillips Gets Diversity Officer Role Endowed – DC philanthropists Lynne and Joe Horning have gifted the Phillips Collection with $2 million to endow the position of chief diversity officer. The Phillips says it was the first art institution in the US to create a diversity leadership position, hiring Makeba Clay to take it on. (Press release)


Kehinde Wiley’s Residency Names Participants – Kehinde Wiley has named the latest talents invited to his prestigious Black Rock residency in Dakar, Senegal. The 16 artists include Congolese painter Hilary Balu, multidisciplinary artist Mbali Dhlamini, Nigerian-American filmmaker Abbesi Akhamie, and Ghanaian-American writer Delali Ayivor. (New York Times)

An Artist Is Behind That Viral Twitter Blue-Check Phenomenon – As a cheeky project, artist Danielle Baskin dreamed up a fictional service that would dole out physical versions of Twitter’s “verified user” blue check mark to the homes of public figures in the Bay Area. People, it turns out, took the project literally, flooding her website with nearly 500 applications. “I did what I thought was a mediocre Photoshop job… I thought, ‘This is all very clickbait-y,’” Baskin says. “All of the copy, I thought, was so obviously satire.” (SF Gate)

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