Art Industry News: The Obamas’ Official Portraits Will Be Unveiled Next Month + More Must-Read Stories

Plus, Felix Salmon digs into the Met's finances and Google helps you find your art doppelgänger.

Former first Lady Michelle and former president Barack Obama at the inaugural Obama Foundation Summit on October 31, 2017 in Chicago. (Photo by Scott Olson/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 11.


Felix Salmon on the Met’s Finances – The Met’s president says the controversial new admission policy is necessary because the museum’s revenue hasn’t increased proportionally with its attendance. But Salmon crunches the numbers and finds that revenue has actually grown faster than visitation. Weiss’s argument might carry more weight, Salmon says, if there weren’t plenty of money sitting in the Met’s multibillion-dollar, largely unrestricted, endowment. (Cause and Effect)

Sculptures by Claudel Go on Show at Musée d’Orsay – After six major French museums pre-empted the auction of a group of Camille Claudel works in November by matching the prices to keep them in the country, 11 sculptures by the French artist—who was also Rodin’s lover and assistant—are on view at the Orsay through February 11. (The Art Newspaper)

The Obamas’ Portraits Are Coming to Washington – The National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC, announced plans to unveil Michelle and Barack Obama’s official portraits on February 12. Kehinde Wiley, who painted the former president, and Amy Sherald, who painted the first lady, will be in attendance, as will their subjects. Wiley’s painting will be permanently installed in the gallery’s “America’s Presidents” exhibition, and Sherald’s work will go on view in the recent acquisitions corridor. (Press release)

How Artists Have Responded to Trump – At the end of Trump’s first year in office, The Art Newspaper examines how artists have responded to the US president in their work. There’s been a proliferation of political artwork, from painters restricting their palettes to black and white to artists making grotesque caricatures and unflattering nudes—as well as a little room left for utopian visions of an alternative America. (TAN)


Hartung’s Spray-Gun Art on the Rise – The German artist Hans Hartung’s late work is having a posthumous heyday as his estate mounts simultaneous shows this month at Simon Lee Gallery in London and Emmanuel Perrotin and Nahmad Contemporary in New York. This body of work—made after the artist had a stroke in his 80s and was confined to a wheelchair—remained overlooked until recently. Both Lee and Perrotin showed it in Basel last year and nearly sold out. (The Telegraph)

Michael Williams to David Kordansky – The Los Angeles dealer is now representing the painter Michael Williams, who has been based in LA since 2015 but did not have a West Coast gallery until now. Williams is also represented by Gladstone Gallery in New York and Eva Presenhuber in Zürich and New York. (ARTnews)

Art Exports Help Reduce UK Trade Deficit – Between September and November 2017, the UK saw a deficit reduction of £2.1 billion ($2.83 billion) thanks to art exports to non-EU countries. All told, shipments of works of art rose by 45.6 percent, the largest contributor to the total—and surely thanks in large part to the storm of UK auctions and the Frieze Art Fair. (TAN)

Sies + Höke to Represent Ajay Kurian – The Brooklyn-based artist known to “press a finger to the open wounds of American society” is now being represented by the Rhineland gallery Sies + Höke in Düsseldorf. His solo exhibition “American Artist” is on view at the gallery until January 13. (Press release)


New Director for UK’s Photoworks – Shoair Mavlian, currently assistant curator at Tate Modern, will become Photoworks’s new director in February. Mavlian has significant experience presenting and commissioning photography, having organized shows such as “The Radical Eye: Modernist Photography From the Sir Elton John Collection” at Tate in 2016. (Artforum)

Taft Museum Gets $5 Million – A gift from the late philanthropist Sallie Robinson Wadsworth will beef up the endowment for the chief curator position. Lynne D. Ambrosini, currently the museum’s chief curator, will take a new title as Deputy Director and the Sallie Robinson Wadsworth Chief Curator. (WCPO)

Chicago Architecture Biennial Draws 550,000 – Last year’s exhibition drew more than half a million visitors and featured 140 architects and designers from 20 countries. The organization has also announced the dates for its third edition, which is set to open on September 19, 2019, aligning once again with the art fair EXPO Chicago. (Press release)

NYC Releases Cultural Impact Grant List – Mayor de Blasio’s $500,000 grant will support seven city partnerships with cultural organizations that tackle civic issues ranging from public safety to literacy. The winning projects are with ARTs East NY, Bronx Documentary Center, Carnegie Hall, Cool Culture, Gibney Dance, the National Book Foundation, and People’s Theatre Project. (Press release)


Google Will Find Your Art Doppelgänger – The staff at Good Housekeeping tries out the latest Google Arts & Culture app, which pairs your selfie with a work of art that resembles you. They also try the app out on a picture of Prince Harry (whose image pulls up a Wilhelm Leibl self-portrait), his fiancé Meghan Markle (Portrait of Agung Rai Suartini) and Beyoncé (untitled street art). (Good Housekeeping)

Rodney McMillian Takes on the White House – The White House and the KKK both figure into new work that the Los Angeles-based artist Rodney McMillian is creating for a solo show that opens next month at Austin Contemporary. In the new film, hooded figures dance in a neoclassical gazebo, a nod to the style of architecture’s racist history. (LA Times)

Mellon Supports Berlin Museum’s Syrian Heritage Project – A project to document Syria’s endangered cultural heritage co-organized by Berlin’s Museum of Islamic Art has been awarded a “significant” grant by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. There are around 100,000 digital images in the archive assembled by German and Syrian experts, which first launched in 2013. (Art Daily)



“Lois Dodd: Selected Paintings”
Alexandre Fine Art Inc. – New York
Through January 27th

“Lois Dodd is the most unconventional person I know,” the artist Alex Katz wrote in a new monograph, and the 90-year-old artist’s verdant paintings of country life in New England charmingly convey her unique view of the world. To celebrate the release of Dodd’s monograph, written by Faye Hirsch as part of Lund Humphries’s “Contemporary Artists” series, Alexandre Gallery is presenting 34 of the artist’s works from the 1906s to today.


Lois Dodd’s White Pine Cone (2017). Courtesy of Alexandre Gallery.

Lois Dodd’s Chicken House, Laundry + Leafy Branch (2017). Courtesy of Alexandre Gallery.

Lois Dodd’s Shadow Painter (2010). Courtesy of Alexandre Gallery.

Follow Artnet News on Facebook:

Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.


Subscribe or log in to read the rest of this content.

You are currently logged into this Artnet News Pro account on another device. Please log off from any other devices, and then reload this page continue. To find out if you are eligible for an Artnet News Pro group subscription, please contact [email protected]. Standard subscriptions can be purchased on the subscription page.

Log In