Art Industry News: A Sculpture of the Saudi Flag as a Giant Piece of Candy Is Raising Eyebrows at Ground Zero + Other Stories

Plus, the National Gallery of London sends Japan its biggest loan ever and Elmgreen & Dragset's Prada Marfa gets airtime on "The Simpsons."

The Oculus Subway terminal and Freedom Tower, The World Trade Center, Lower Manhattan, designed by Santiago Calatrava, over 9/11 Museum. (Photo by: Joe Sohm/Visions of America/UIG via 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 Thursday, January 10.


London’s National Gallery Will Send Van Gogh’s Sunflowers to Japan – The National Gallery in London has agreed to send an unprecedented loan of 60 works, including Van Gogh’s Sunflowers, to Japan for nine months. The traveling exhibition in Tokyo and Osaka will coincide with the Tokyo Summer Olympic Games in 2020. The exhibition, “Masterpieces From the National Gallery,” represents the largest loan the UK museum has sent abroad in its nearly 200-year history. The gallery declined to say how much it was charging in loan fees. (The Art Newspaper)

Mindfulness Comes to the Museum – Mindfulness has become an omnipresent trend—and now, museums are getting in on the action. The Museum of Modern Art, the Brooklyn Museum, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Hammer, and the Rubin Museum all offer some form of mindfulness programming, from yoga classes to meditation sessions. But the events leave something to be desired. Often, they are held in auditoriums and basements with only projections of artwork—or no artwork in sight at all. (Baffler)

Saudi Arabia Sculpture Raises Eyebrows at Ground Zero – A sculpture of Saudi Arabia’s flag as a giant piece of candy installed at the World Trade Center in New York has been greeted with skepticism. The work is part of a display of 20 nine-foot-tall flag-candies by the French artist Laurence Jenkell on view around the Oculus shopping center; each one represents a G20 country. The display of “Candy Nation” was organized by the Port Authority to coincide with the G20 Summit. As some on Twitter were quick to note, 15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia. (Observer)

DC Tourists on the Government Shutdown – As the government shutdown enters its third week, all 21 federally funded museums on the National Mall in DC have closed. One enterprising Slate reporter went downtown to talk to disappointed tourists, who are either flocking to privately owned institutions like the Newseum or simply resigning to their hotel rooms. The result, for many, is a historically anticlimactic DC trip. “We’re disappointed because, so far, we’ve only been able to see the Bureau of Engraving,” said one man visiting from Georgia. (Slate)


1-54’s New York Fair Announces New Location for 2019 – New York’s African contemporary art fair is moving. The fifth edition will take place at Industria, a photography studio in the West Village, from May 3 through 5, to coincide with Frieze New York. The fair was previously held in Red Hook, Brooklyn. (ARTnews)

Judith Lindbloom’s Estate Goes to Lawrence Fine Art – The estate of the abstract painter, who hung out with the likes of Franz Kline at the famed Cedar Tavern, will be represented by the East Hampton-based Lawrence Fine Art. Her notes include an account of hearing of Jackson Pollock’s death at the volatile Greenwich Village bar. (Press release)


Director of Canada’s National Gallery Steps Down – Marc Mayer is leaving the National Gallery next week after a decade in what he calls “the national hot seat.” In an exit interview, Mayer says he “achieved pretty much what [he] set out to achieve” during his tenure, despite various controversies and setbacks, including the museum’s aborted sale of a Marc Chagall work. As for what’s next, he says, “I’m going to be assessing the relative merits of my suitors while I’m smoking a celebratory cigar on my farm in the Catskill Mountains. (Ottawa Citizen)

High Line Names New Curator of Public Programming – Formerly a special projects manager for New York’s department of cultural affairs, Diya Vij will take up the role of associate curator of public programs at the High Line on January 14. Vij will work with New York-based artists on new projects and expand the High Line’s public engagement. (ARTnews)

Chillida Sculpture Park Will Reopen in April – The newly restored Chillida-Leku cultural center, which has been open by appointment only since 2011, will reopen to the public in April. The farmhouse museum just outside of San Sebastién in Spain’s Basque region was founded by the late Modernist sculptor Eduardo Chillida. Hauser & Wirth, which represents the late artist’s estate, is helping with the revamp. (El País)

Peabody Essex Museum Awarded $1.3 Million for Native American Fellowship – The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded the Salem museum $1.3 million in support of its Native American fellowship program. Founded in 2010 in response to the notable underrepresentation of Native American people in the museum field, the program seeks to provide on-the-job training and leadership intensives to fellows each year. (Press release)


Did Banksy Crash Another Artist’s Solo Show? –  An anonymous artist known as Frizk claims that Banksy sent him a direct message on Twitter and asked him to hang an original painting by the famous artist inside the Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Center’s exhibition of work by the Finnish artist Mamma Andersson. With the help of two students who distracted the guards, Frizk hung the painting of a peeled banana. But the painting was removed from the wall in minutes—and the Observer isn’t buying Frizk’s story about the stunt. (Observer)

Massive LGBTQ Art Exhibition Comes to Asia – The Bangkok Art and Culture Center is collaborating with the Sunpride Foundation to bring the largest-ever exhibition of LGBTQ art in Asia to Bangkok in November. A sequel to Sunpride’s series launched at the Taipei Museum of Contemporary Art in 2017, “Spectrosynthesis II—Exposure of Tolerance: LGBTQ in Southeast Asia” will run November 23 to March 1, 2020. (TAN)

Prada Marfa Gets a Cameo on The SimpsonsElmgreen & Dragset’s “Prada Marfa” installation was featured on an episode of The Simpsons this week. As the cartoon family traveled through the small Texas town to track down one of Grandpa Simpson’s World War II companions, Homer stopped to take a leak on the iconic storefront installation. The Scandinavian duo celebrated their entry into the zeitgeist on their Instagram. And really, what better validation is there for an artist than to have been acknowledged by both Beyoncé and The Simpsons for the same work? (Instagram)

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