Art Industry News: A New Gallery in Chinatown Is Selling Art That You—Yes, You—Can Actually Afford + Other Stories

Plus, Broadway's hottest playwright is organizing a performance festival on the High Line and Hitchcock star Kim Novak gets a museum show.

Madeleine Mermall and Catherine Fenton Bernath, founders of the New Yorl gallery Public Swim. Courtesy of Public Swim. Photography by Carl Michael Knight.

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 Monday, January 13.


Germany’s Major Art Projects Have Blown Their Budgets – In Germany, new opera houses, airports, and major museums have a tendency to run late and bust their budgets—but politicians don’t seem to mind. Berlin’s Humboldt Forum, which is due to open in the fall, is a year late, and $54 million over budget. The upgrade of the city’s Pergamon Museum won’t be ready until 2023, and its cost has soared to north of $530 million. Meanwhile, the planned Herzog and de Meuron-designed museum of 20th century art in Berlin has more than doubled in cost to $450 million. Why is overspending so common? Initial estimates are often deliberately understated to secure political approval. (New York Times)

Climate Activists Turn Up the Heat on the British Museum – Climate activists are unimpressed with the British Museum’s attempt to distance its forthcoming Arctic exhibition—which includes objects that have been revealed by melting permafrost—from longtime sponsor BP. The show, which opens in May, is supported by American bank Citi, not the energy company. But the nonprofit Culture Unstained points out that Citi has also funded “major fossil fuel projects” such as the Dakota Access Pipeline, and that the sponsor shuffle is simply a way to avoid criticism. The exhibition will address the impact of climate change on indigenous communities from the region. (The Art Newspaper)

Poland Is Not Looking Hard Enough for Nazi Loot – Many Old Master paintings stolen by the Nazis in the Netherlands could be in Poland—but the country is dragging its feet over their restitution. Experts have identified seven paintings in the Gdansk National Museum’s collection that are listed as looted, including Jan van Goyen’s 1638 painting Huts on a Canal. Willi Drost, the director of the Gdansk art museum during World War II, was an avid buyer of Dutch Old Master paintings. But Poland tends to wait until it gets a formal request from the Dutch government before it takes heirs’ restitution claims seriously. “The Polish government wants to have as much as possible back but they don’t want to give anything back to others,” said Kamil Zeidler, a law professor at the University of Gdansk. (NYT)

A Hitchcock Star Turns to Art – Kim Novak, one of Hollywood’s biggest stars in the 1950s and ’60s, has returned to the public eye with a new role: artist. Novak, who had originally set out to be a painter but moved to Los Angeles after she earned her first modeling gig, starred in Hitchcock’s Vertigo, among other films. But when the fickleness of Hollywood’s studio system left her at sea in the late ’60s, she left Hollywood and returned to her first love, painting. An exhibition of her work was recently on view at the the Butler Institute of American Art in Youngstown, Ohio. Painting, she says, “was a tool for me.” (CBS)


New Chinatown Gallery Offers Actually Affordable Art – New York’s newest gallery, Public Swim, is targeting collectors with modest budgets. Co-founders Madeleine Mermall and Catherine Fenton Bernath are showing works in the inaugural group show that range from $150 to around $8,000. The gallery opens on January 17. (Observer)

Major Swiss Private Collection Is Deaccessioning – The Swiss-based Daros Collection is downsizing. Around 700 works by the likes of Warhol, Twombly, Richter, and Ryman have been quietly sold off, leaving fewer than 300, Kenny Schachter reports in his latest column. (Artnet News)

Christian Deydier Expands to Hong Kong – The veteran French dealer of Asian art, Christian Deydier, gets the profile treatment following the opening of his gallery in Hong Kong. He says Chinese collectors won’t come to France to buy, so he must come to them, despite the ongoing pro-democracy protests roiling the city. (South China Morning Post)


Star Broadway Playwright Will Organize High Line Festival – Jeremy O. Harris, the young playwright behind Broadway’s much-talked-about Slave Play, will curate the 2020 edition of the High Line’s annual “Out of Line” series, which features experimental and multidisciplinary artistic performances. It will be held this summer and be presented over a three-day period for the first time. (NYT)

New Partners Named at Hauser & Wirth – Partner and vice president Marc Payot, who has been with the mega-gallery for two decades and leads its operations in New York, has now been named president, joining co-presidents and gallery founders Iwan and Manuela Wirth. The gallery has also named eight new partners from the global Hauser & Wirth team: Stacen Berg, Florian Berktold, Cristopher Canizares, Barbara Corti, James Koch, Mirella Roma, Graham Steele, and Neil Wenman. (Press release)

Minneapolis Institute of Art Curator to Retire – Patrick Noon is stepping down as senior curator and chair of MIA’s department of paintings after more than two decades. During his long tenure, he helped acquire some 200 paintings, including works by Wilhelm List, Claude Lorrain, and Alexander Roslin. He will retire on January 31. (Artforum)


China’s Independent Film Festival Closes, Citing Censorship – The China Independent Film Festival is suspending operations “indefinitely,” saying that it is “impossible” to operate with a “purely independent spirit” amid increasing media censorship in China. “We are just back to the usual rule under the Party,” one of the project’s organizers said. “We just went back to 20 years ago, when there was no room and opportunity for independent films.” (Reuters)

New Twist in Looted Schiele Legal Saga A judge in New York has granted a motion that will allow lawyers to petition the Court of Appeals in Albany to reverse its decision on the issue of liability over two works by Egon Schiele. Heirs of the Viennese actor and art collector Fritz Grünbaum, who was murdered by the Nazis, had won a landmark decision in July against the art dealer Richard Nagy, who contested their claim to Woman Hiding Her Face (1912) and Woman in a Black Pinafore (1911). (Press release)

Hudson Yards Slammed for Latest Development Proposal  After unveiling major high-rises, custom art, and, of course, the towering Vessel, Manhattan’s Hudson Yards is ready to begin phase two of its mega-development project. However, the promise of a large public green space seems to have all but faded. The new plan is to bring in millions more square feet of  high-end office space and residences as well as a public school. There is also the plan to build a 700-foot-long wall on the side adjacent to the High Line, which would effectively turn the whole area into a gated community. (NYT)

Wu Tsang and Boychild Walk in Florence Fashion Show – The New York-based fashion brand Telfar recruited some extremely hip models for its most recent runway show. Artists and frequent collaborators Wu Tsang and boychild—who recently took the Venice Biennale by storm—pounded down the large banquet table that doubled as a catwalk. The brand’s futuristic fall/winter presentation debuted at the Grand Palazzo Corsini in Florence, Italy. (ARTnews)

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