Art Industry News: French Art Critic Leads Opposition to #MeToo Movement + More Must-Read Stories

Plus, artists contribute to an anthology about Trump’s America and a lost Sol LeWitt reappears in Houston.

Art critic Catherine Millet, who has emerged as a detractor of the #MeToo movement, at the Digital Life Design women conference in 2010 in Munich. (Photo by Andreas Rentz/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 Wednesday, January 10.


Has This Museum Discovered a New Leonardo? – The Worcester Art Museum in Massachusetts is planning a scholarly show around a Renaissance painting in its collection that, according to the museum, should be attributed to Leonardo (at least in part). One expert said it was “plausible,” but others are less confident. (The Art Newspaper)

Sanford Biggers Gets the New Yorker Treatment – In a lengthy profile, the 47-year-old artist discusses his tendency to mix comedy into his often-political subject matter—something he says the audience is not always ready for: “Black artists can be held back—not being able to be abstract, humorous, visceral, abject.” (The New Yorker)

Art Critic Joins Pushback Against #MeToo Movement – Around 100 French women, including art critic and curator Catherine Millet and award-winning actor Catherine Deneuve, signed an open letter published in Le Monde yesterday arguing that the “puritanism” of the social-media anti-harassment campaign poses a threat to sexual freedom. They object to the fact that men whose “only wrong was touching a knee, stealing a kiss, talking of intimate matters at a professional dinner” have seen their careers destroyed. (The Times)

NYT Readers on the Met’s Admission Policy – While the paper’s critics largely criticized the new policy, readers had diverse opinions. One suggested alternatives that might be less divisive, like a $10 flat rate for all visitors. Another argued that tourists already spend top dollar when visiting New York, so what’s another $25? (New York Times)


Adrian Cheng’s K11 Invests $10 Million in AI – The K11 “art mall” in Hong Kong, backed by billionaire entrepreneur Cheng, has invested in ObEN, a company that uses artificial intelligence to create avatars with whom consumers can interact. The tech is due to be released at K11 early this year. (Business of Fashion)

Morgan Lehman to Launch a Second Gallery – The New York gallery will open Morgan Lehman 2 on West 26th Street in Chelsea on Thursday. The inaugural show will feature work by Osamu Kobayashi and Erica Prince. The gallery will maintain its location on West 24th Street. (ARTnews)

Rybolovlev Gets Permission to Use Confidential Documents – A December order by a New York court could make it possible for the Russian billionaire to launch a fresh case against his former advisor Yves Bouvier in the UK. The order granted Rybolovlev permission to introduce confidential documents that allegedly show that Sotheby’s and its vice chairman of private sales were involved in inflating the prices of works sold. Sotheby’s calls the claims “baseless.” (TAN)

Esther Schipper Now Reps Simon Fujiwara – The Berlin-based British artist has gained recognition with multilayered and complex exhibition projects that delve into uneasy questions about how identities are constructed. His work Hope House, a life-size recreation of a foldout model of the Anne Frank House sold at the site’s gift shop, opens at Kunsthaus Bregenz this month. (Press release)


Co-Curators of Taipei Biennial Announced – The Taiwanese artist Mali Wu and Francesco Manacorda, the artistic director of the V-A-C Foundation, will co-curate the exhibition. This marks the first time the biennial has been organized by multiple curators; Manacorda is also its first guest curator. The event will run from November 17, 2017 to March 10, 2019. (Press release)

Morgan Library Gets $5 Million Grant – New York’s Morgan Library and Museum has received a $5 million grant from the Sherman Fairchild Foundation to support the conservation department and the restoration of the building’s exterior. (Artforum)

Rockefeller Fund Finances New Award – The David Rockefeller Fund will invest $50,000 in a four-year sponsorship of the new David Rockefeller BCA pARTnership Award (capitalization intentional) to honor annually one company that has been involved in the arts and one arts organization or artist for an exceptional project. (Press release)

Three Artists Chosen as 2018 TED Fellows – Artists Jorge Manes Rubio and Paul Rucker have been tapped as senior fellows and Zena el Khalil as a fellow for TED’s 2018 fellowship program, which brings together international innovators from an array of fields to tackle some of the world’s most pressing problems. (Fast Company)


A Conceptual Art Conundrum in Houston – A wall painting by the conceptual artist in the former Houston home of the late architect William F. Stern is slowly re-emerging from behind plaster. The 30-foot-tall work was covered up by the Menil Collection when it sold the property bequeathed by Stern, a former trustee. Now, the home’s new owner has begun unpicking the plaster and chronicling his progress online. But there is a twist: Because the Menil owns the conceptual work, the wall drawing being uncovered is not really a LeWitt at all. (Glasstire)

Frank Lloyd Wright Building Faces Demolition – A building designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in northwestern Montana could be demolished if a buyer with $1.7 million and the will to preserve the Lockridge Medical Clinic in Whitefish cannot be found by January 10. The architect designed the clinic in 1958 and it was completed in 1964, after his death. (Artforum)

Artists Opine on Life in Trump’s America – Visual artists including Art Spiegelman, Roz Chast, Marilyn Minter, and Eric Fischl, have contributed to an anthology about Trump’s America, which features Jasper Johns’s Three Flags on the cover. Writers Alice Walker, Richard Russo, Walter Mosley, Joyce Carol Oates, among others, have also written short stories for the book and donated their royalties to the American Civil Liberties Union. (SF Gate)



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