Art Industry News: A Major NFT Operation Has Taken Root in Marfa and the Local Artists Are All Very Confused + Other Stories

Plus, a Mexican bank's 2,000-work art collection is hitting the block, and a cash-strapped Korean museum is selling national treasures.

Robert Irwin, untitled (dawn to dusk) (2016). Photo by Alex Marks. Courtesy of the Chinati Foundation and Robert Irwin.

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 Wednesday, January 19.


Citibanamex Art Collection Will Hit the Block – Citigroup is preparing to sell off its Mexican operation Citibanamex—and with it comes a prestigious collection of Mexican art. Some 2,000 artworks from the 18th century to the present, including examples by Frida Kahlo, José Clemente Orozco, Diego Rivera, and Leonora Carrington, are “a critical and indivisible part of what is for sale.” Mexico’s president has called for the works to stay in the country. (ARTnews)

Artist Will Create Replica of Concentration Camp Gate – Artist Rachel Mars will weld together a replica of the gate to the Dachau death camp as part of a performance art piece called Forge for the Transform festival in Leeds, U.K. The three-day performance aims to raise questions about memorials, who they serve, and who has the right to make them. The Jewish artist said the work is in part a response to the U.K.’s plans to build its own Holocaust memorial, which could offer an overly positive narrative “spin” on its nuanced past. “I have questions about how much this memorial will take responsibility for the U.K.’s ongoing fuck-up with regards to letting immigrants in,” she added. (Guardian)

NFTs Are Coming to Marfa – The New Yorker paid a visit to the physical gallery of NFT platform Art Blocks, which is located in an unlikely place: the minimalist hub of Marfa, Texas. Cautious about the rapid growth of speculative interest in NFTs, Art Blocks founder Eric Calderon established the space to situate his project in a fine-art tradition. Not everyone is convinced. At a town hall meeting about the project, painter and Marfa resident Christopher Wool was perplexed. “It sounds like you’re talking about art without aesthetics,” he said. (New Yorker)

Activist Who Spat on Putin Portrait Wins Big in Court – The European Court of Human Rights has awarded $14,000 to Russian activist Dmitry Karuyev, who was jailed in 2012 for spitting on a portrait of Putin during a protest. The ruling stated that the act of spitting on a photograph of a politician after re-election should be considered “an expression of political opinion” rather than hooliganism. Karuyec was awarded €10,000 ($11,300) in damages €2,400 ($2,700) for his legal expenses. (Courthouse News Service)


American LGBTQ+ Museum Names Director – Ben Garcia has been named the first executive director of the American LGBTQ+ Museum, which will open in New York in 2024. Garcia was previously deputy executive director of Ohio History Connection, where he managed more than 50 museums and historic sites. (New York Times)

TEFAF Maastricht Gets New Dates – The Dutch art and antiquities fair, which normally runs in March, will now be held from June 25 to 30. Its presence adds to an increasingly crowded month that will also include Art Basel (June 16–19), BRAFA (June 19–26), and Masterpiece London (June 30–July 6). “Everyone is pinning their hopes on May and June then September and October—I think people are already getting worried about November,” said the fair’s managing director Charlotte van Leerdam. (The Art Newspaper)

South Korea Museum to Sell “National Treasures” – The cash-strapped Kansong Art Museum has announced it will sell two state-designated national treasures at K Auction on January 27. The two gilt-bronze shrines of Buddha dating to the 11th century and the early 6th century are estimated to sell for more than $20 million each. (Korea Herald)


Remembering André Leon Talley – The legendary fashion journalist and former Vogue creative director died yesterday at the age of 73. Talley often navigated the intersection of the art and fashion worlds, having worked for Andy Warhol’s Interview magazine, assisted former Vogue editor Diana Vreeland on exhibitions at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute, and often incorporated art history into his criticism. (Rolling Stone)


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