Art Industry News: Dana Schutz Debuts a New Painting Reflecting on Her Explosive Emmett Till Controversy + Other Stories

Plus, Virgil Abloh installs monumental art to mark his debut at Louis Vuitton and a 40-foot-tall tower by Chris Burden heads to Geneva.

Dana Schutz. Image via Metropolitan Museum of Art Artist Project.

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 Friday, January 11.


Chris Burden’s 40-Foot Tower Heads to Geneva – Gagosian will install a 40-foot-tall tower by Chris Burden, 40 Foot Stepped Skyscraper (2011), at artgenève’s Estate Show, which features a monumental artwork by a historic artist (January 31–February 3). The tower is a descendant of Burden’s earlier work, the 65-foot-tall What My Dad Gave Me, which stood at Rockefeller Center in 2008. Burden once said he’d like to build a tower more than 100 feet tall—but engineers soon put the kibosh on that plan. (ARTnews)

Kaywin Feldman on Her Plans for the National Gallery – Ahead of her move to Washington, DC, to become the National Gallery of Art’s first female director, Kaywin Feldman seems up for the challenge. As director of the Minneapolis Institute of Art, she focused on inclusion, diversity, and ramping up contemporary art collecting. Will she do the same in DC? “Our work here is very much about the community,” she says. “I need to get there and know the people and understand [them] before I figure out what’s the right thing.” Regardless, her diplomatic skills will be crucial amid growing public scrutiny and potential financial pressure from Congress, which currently provides three-quarters of the museum’s $190 million annual budget. (Washington Post)

Dana Schutz Keeps on Painting – The artist who faced vehement criticism for her painting of Emmett Till says that she doesn’t regret making the lightning-rod work, although the backlash has changed her way of thinking. (“I definitely feel conflicted about it and very bad about it,” she said.) Ahead of a show of 13 new paintings and her first-ever sculptures at New York’s Petzel Gallery, which opens this week, Schutz says her critics are now part of her “imagined audience when I’m painting.” As for Open Casket, she keeps it tucked away in her possession, with no plans for it to circulate anytime soon. Her new body of work includes Painting in an Earthquake, which depicts an artist painting a canvas hung on a violently shaking brick wall and is informed by her experience since the 2017 Whitney Biennial furor. (New York Times)

Censored Billboard Becomes Public Art – The artist Alisha Wormsley’s billboard There Are Black People in the Future, which was censored (and then reinstated) by a local landlord last year, will now become a public art project in Pittsburgh. This month, the city’s Office of Public Art will organize workshops around the work and invite artists, teachers, and community members to submit proposals for how they would make Wormsley’s text relevant in their communities. The project is a direct response to the removal of Wormsley’s work last April. (Press release)


Marie Antoinette’s Portraitist and More Coming to Masters Week – Sotheby’s is selling works by 14 female artists from the 16th through 19th century in its “The Female Triumphant” sale on January 30 in New York. The auction features work by Élisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun, who is known for painting Marie Antoinette, and the proto-feminist Baroque painter Artemisia Gentileschi. (The Art Newspaper)

MCH Restates Support for India Art Fair – Is this an effort to calm pre-fair jitters? In a statement ahead of the India Art Fair’s opening on January 31, the event’s owners—MCH Group and Angus Montgomery Arts—”confirmed their ongoing support” of the event. The announcement comes a few months after MCH announced plans to sell its 65 percent stake in the fair, along with its other regional art fair interests. The company stated that it remains committed to the fair “indefinitely” until “an appropriate buyer is found.” (Press release)

LA Art Show Announces Exhibitor List – Frieze Los Angeles may be one of the most anticipated fairs of the year, but it’s not the only one in town. The LA Art Show will host 120 exhibitors of Modern and contemporary art at the Los Angeles Convention Center from January 23 to 27. Organizers of the 24th edition of the fair plan to emphasize exhibitors from the Pacific Rim. (Art Fix Daily)

David Teiger’s American Folk Art Heads to Auction – Works from the renowned collector’s trove of folk art will go on view at Sotheby’s York Avenue galleries on January 11 ahead of the auction on January 20. Highlights include a wooden figure of Captain Jinks likely created by Thomas J. White around 1880, which is estimated to sell for between $400,000 and $600,000. Teiger’s collection of Modern and contemporary art has already generated more than $100 million to date. (Art Daily)


Andy Warhol Foundation Lifts Funding Ban on the Smithsonian – The foundation is ending its eight-year ban on providing funding to the Smithsonian Institution with a $100,000 grant to the National Museum of the American Indian for a traveling Oscar Howe retrospective. The foundation instituted the ban back in 2010, after the Smithsonian removed a video by artist David Wojnarowicz, A Fire in My Belly, from public view under pressure from religious and conservative groups. (ARTnews)

Joan Mitchell Foundation Announces Artists for Residency – Some 32 US-based artists have earned residencies at Joan Mitchell Center in New Orleans this year, including Jamil Khoury, Kristin Meyers, and Jared Theis. Each artist will receive a private studio and a stipend for the five-month residency, which is entering its sixth year. (Press release)

The Barnes Names New Trustees – John H. McFadden and Christine Poggi have been elected to the board of trustees of the Barnes Foundation. McFadden is a founding partner at the international law firm McFadden, Pilkington & Ward LLP; Poggi is the director of the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University and has published several books on art. (Press release)


Where Is the African American Art in European Public Collections?  Prices for work by African American artists may be on the rise, but the work is still underrepresented in institutional collections. And European museums are no better than American ones, notes Ben Luke. Tate Modern and the Pompidou, for example, have noticeable gaps in their collections. “Exhibitions help, of course, but it is through collections that artists are thoroughly absorbed into the canon,” Luke writes. “It will take much creativity and resourcefulness, because many top artists’ prices are propelling them out of increasingly cash-strapped museums’ reach.” (The Art Newspaper)

Baer Faxt’s Year-End Poll Names Our Columnist Best Writer  The art-world readers have spoken: artnet News’s columnist Kenny Schachter has been voted the best arts writer of 2018 in the Baer Faxt’s annual poll. “This is as close to a Pulitzer as he can get,” the newsletter’s founder Josh Baer wrote. (Baer Faxt)

Virgil Abloh’s Louis Vuitton Debut Celebrated With Giants – Off-White designer and art-world favorite Virgil Abloh is making an appropriately artistic debut as artistic director of the French fashion house Louis Vuitton. To mark the debut of his first collection, the house installed larger-than-life sculptures and murals at Vuitton’s New York and Beverly Hills stores. Abloh also marked an “X” on Fifth Avenue to denote the best possible spot to behold—and, likely, take a selfie in front of—the 12-story, technicolor mural. (Instagram)

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