Art Industry News: Protestor Attacks Notorious Statue at the BBC’s Headquarters That Drew the Ire of QAnon + Other Stories

Plus, the Serpentine finally actually removed the Sackler name, and MOCA says non-surgical masks won't cut it in the galleries.

Police officers look on as a protester attempts to damage a statue by sculptor Eric Gill at the BBC Broadcasting House on January 12, 2022 in London. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)
Police officers look on as a protester attempts to damage a statue by sculptor Eric Gill at the BBC Broadcasting House on January 12, 2022 in London. (Photo by Leon Neal/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 13.


MOCA Is Requiring Visitors to Wear Surgical (Non-Cloth) Masks – The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, has become one of the first major U.S. museums to ban cloth masks in a bid to improve public safety in its galleries. On Tuesday, amid the Omicron surge in Los Angeles, the museum upgraded its mask policy to require medical-grade face masks (N95, KF94, or KN95), posting on Twitter that “cloth masks are no longer acceptable.” (Los Angeles Times)

Travis Scott Sued Over Centaur Art – The French artist Mickaël Mehala (who also goes by Black Childish) is suing the rapper Travis Scott for hundreds of thousands of dollars in U.S. court for allegedly infringing his copyright. Mehala claims Scott stole his artwork depicting Scott as a centaur for the cover of his “Travis La Flame” compilation project. Scott’s lawyers have said the lawsuit is “frivolous and baseless” because the illustration for the compilation project was fan-made and uploaded to streaming services by fans, not Scott. (TMZ)

Man Attacks Statue at BBC Broadcasting Office – A protester took a hammer to a statue by Eric Gill at the BBC’s headquarters in London while another live-streamed a rant about the artist’s history of pedophilia. Diaries published after the death of the prominent early 20th-century British artist in 1940 revealed that he had sexually abused his daughters and the family dog. BBC officials said the presence of Gill’s sculpture, which was installed in 1933 and depicts Prospero and a partially naked Ariel from the Shakespeare play The Tempest, had been “an obsession” for far-right activists and conspiracy groups criticizing the broadcaster. (Guardian)

The Serpentine Finally Actually Removed the Sackler Name – After officially pivoting away from the controversial Sackler name and rebranding to Serpentine North last spring, the London gallery has finally removed the “Serpentine Sackler” lettering from above its entrance. (The Art Newspaper)


Jean-Paul Engelen Named President of Americas at Phillips – Phillips auction house has promoted deputy chairman Jean-Paul Engelen to the newly created role of Americas president. Engelen will continue to oversee the contemporary art department as well as new responsibilities for business strategy in the U.S. and South America. (Press release)

London Gallery Weekend Will Go Ahead in 2022 – After its successful first edition last year, London Gallery Weekend will return from May 13–15, 2022, with a focus each day on central, south, or east London. New funding from Art Fund will enable regional institutions around the U.K. to send 20 curators to London for the event. Art Fund will also organize a focus group to explore how the museum and commercial gallery sectors can better support one another. (Press release)

Marcel Duchamp Prize Finalists Announced – The four finalists for France’s most prestigious art prize, the Prix Marcel Duchamp, have been announced. They are painter Giulia Andreani, sculptor Ivan Argote, multidisciplinary artist Mimosa Echard, and new-generation Op-artist Philippe Decrauzat. (Le Figaro)

Richard Klein Steps Down at Aldrich Contemporary – The exhibitions director at Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Connecticut, Richard Klein, is stepping down after 30 years to pursue independent projects. He will remain at the museum through June 2022 before departing to focus on creating and exhibiting his own work. (Artforum)


National Gallery to Stage Winslow Homer Show – London’s National Gallery will mount an exhibition of the great American realist painter Winslow Homer, who made his name as an artist-reporter during the American Civil War and whose stark imagery confronted leading issues facing the U.S. and its relationship with Europe and the Caribbean. The show opening in September 2022 will include more than 50 paintings, and it will be the first in-depth U.K. exhibition of an artist who is a household name in the U.S. (Guardian)


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