Art Industry News: Damien Hirst Reveals His Greatest Fear Is Being Ignored + Other Stories

Plus, a young vandal caused $2 million worth of damage to the Denver Art Museum and the ICA Boston gets a massive Yayoi Kusama Infinity Room.

Damien Hirst. Photo by Oli Scarff/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 Tuesday, January 15.


Vandal Caused Nearly $2 Million Worth of Damage in Denver – The teenager who ran amok in the Denver Art Museum caused nearly $2 million of damage, the museum told police. Police arrested 18-year-old Jake Siebenlist on December 9 after he allegedly smashed exhibits, including Mayan, Chinese, and Tlingit sculptures and artifacts in a show very inconveniently called “Stampede: Animals in Art.” A museum spokeswoman told the Denver Post that officials are still working to tally the total cost of the damage. Siebenlist is next due in court on March 14. (Denver Post)

Museum Group Pens Letter in Support of Turkish Philanthropist – The International Council of Museums has published a letter demanding the release of Osman Kavala, a leading Turkish cultural philanthropist who was imprisoned in fall 2017. Kavala stands accused of being involved in Turkey’s failed military coup in 2016. The museum association’s statement says that “no evidence against him has been presented and at this point there is no indictment against him.” (Hyperallergic)

Damien Hirst Makes the Most of His CBS Moment – The artist takes CBS correspondent Tracy Smith on an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour of his vast studio and reflects on his greatest hits so far. He says that his diamond-encrusted skull For the Love of God (2007) was a game-changer. “I realized it was the first thing I made that I couldn’t have in my own home without security! You think, ‘Wow, you know, people could probably kill each other for this!’ It’s like, you know, you’ve created quite a monster.” His biggest fear, he confesses, is being ignored. His newest series, meanwhile, marks a return to an earlier motif: huge colorful mosaics made from butterfly wings. (CBS)

Dutch Royal Family’s Art Sale Ruffles Feathers – The Dutch prime minister has declined to intervene in the Dutch royal family’s decision to sell a chalk drawing by Peter Paul Rubens at Sotheby’s New York later this month. Local politicians had called for the sale to be postponed, arguing that the work—as well as other treasures from the collection of King William II of the Netherlands headed to the auction block—should be offered to Dutch institutions first. But the prime minster reportedly said the sale, which is expected to generate millions of dollars, was a “private matter for the royal family.” (The Art Newspaper)


Skarstedt Gallery Expands on the Upper East Side – Skarstedt is opening a second New York gallery at 19 East 64th Street in March. The building has a tumultuous history: It was previously owned by the art-dealing Wildenstein family, at one point due to be sold to the Qatari government, and eventually snagged by a Chinese investment group—before being sold again. It is said to be the most expensive townhouse in the city. Skarstedt will open its new 25,000-square-foot space there with a group exhibition of work by artists including George Condo, KAWS, and Christopher Wool. (ARTnews)

Pace Now Represents Lynda Benglis – The American artist will be represented by Pace Gallery although she will continue to “work closely” with Cheim & Read, Blum & Poe in Los Angeles, and Thomas Dane Gallery in London, according to an announcement. (The deal was likely helped by the fact that a former Cheim & Read partner, Adam Sheffer, joined Pace last year.) The gallery plans to present Benglis’s work at the FOG Design + Art fair in San Francisco this week and, come February, at Zona Maco in Mexico City. (Press release)

Vienna Contemporary Names Its New Director – Johanna Chromik is the new artistic director of Vienna Contemporary. She had previously been a director at König Galerie and KOW, both in Berlin, and had worked at Pace Gallery in the US, as well as for Galerie Eigen+Art of Leipzig and Berlin. The next edition of the Vienna fair is due to take place in September. (Press release)

Simon Preston and Thomas Dane Work Together – The trend of dealer collaboration continues: Thomas Dane of London and Naples and the New York art dealer Simon Preston have launched a new collaborative relationship. Preston, one of the gallery’s first employees, will consult for Thomas Dane in North America while maintaining an independent program of artist projects. Meanwhile, American artist Amie Siegel, who is represented by Preston, has a solo show on view at Thomas Dane’s London spaces until February 16. (Financial TImes)


Getty Acquires Spring in the Alps The J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles has acquired a major work by Italian painter Giovanni Segantini from 1897. The four-by-seven-foot Spring in the Alps is on view at the museum until February 12. It joins another significant painting by Segantini in the collection, Study for “La Vita. (Press release)

Doyle Names New CEO – The New York auction house has appointed Laura K. Doyle as CEO and Joanne Porrino Mournet as president. Kathleen M. Doyle, who had previously served as CEO for 25 years, will continue as the company’s chairman. The new CEO is the youngest daughter of the auction house’s founder. (Press release)

A Vacant Detroit Building Will Become Art Space – Henry Ford Health System is reinvigorating an empty 3,700-square-foot property near its hospital in Detroit. With a $200,000 grant, the project, called ArtBlock, will be transformed into an art-focused community center. The project represents Henry Ford Health’s biggest investment in public art. (Crains)


Over 400,000 Visit Bruegel’s Once-in-a-Lifetime Show in Vienna – The Kunsthistorisches Museum’s sprawling exhibition dedicated to Pieter Bruegel the Elder is its most successful exhibition of all time. It took 450 years for a museum to organize a retrospective dedicated to the artist, and it likely won’t happen again. The once-in-many-lifetimes show included 30 paintings and 60 drawings. (Monopol)

Art Handlers Are Working Without Pay in DC – A team of art handlers took down the National Gallery of Art’s Rachel Whiteread retrospective without pay this weekend. No one had been able to see the survey since January 2, when the museum closed as part of the ongoing government shutdown. The show is one of several that needs to be deinstalled and sent to another institution by a skeleton crew. (Washington Post)

Boston Gets an Infinity Room of Its Own – The Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston is now the owner of the largest “Infinity Mirror Room” in North America. The new acquisition, the 2013 installation LOVE IS CALLING, was purchased from David Zwirner Gallery for an undisclosed sum. The expanse of colorful, polka-dotted inflatable squiggles will go on view at the institution this fall. (Press release)

Yayoi Kusama pictured with her work LOVE IS CALLING, 2013 during her solo exhibition I Who Have Arrived In Heaven at David Zwirner, New York, 2013. © YAYOI KUSAMA. Courtesy David Zwirner, New York; Ota Fine Arts, Tokyo/Singapore/Shanghai; Victoria Miro, London/Venice.

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.