Art Industry News: Louvre Staffers Join Pension Strikers to Shutter the Paris Museum + Other Stories

Plus, the National Archive apologizes for altering an anti-Trump banner in a news photo and Guggenheim curator Nancy Spector shows off her art tattoo.

Strikers glock the Louvre entrance on January 17, 2020. Photo by Edward Berthelot/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 on this Monday, January 20.


US National Archives Apologizes for Blurring Anti-Trump Slogans – The National Archives has removed from its display a 2017 Getty photograph of the Women’s March after it was called out for blurring signs referencing women’s anatomy and President Trump’s name. “We made a mistake,” the institution said on Twitter, promising to return unaltered images to the display as soon as possible. The archive in Washington, DC, also pledged to conduct an internal review into how it happened. (CNN)

Berlin Returns a Painting to the Heirs of a “Degenerate” Artist – An Old Master painting that had been in the collection of the German artist Hans Purrmann has been returned to his heirs. Documents show that Purrmann probably received the market value for a portrait by Hans Baldung Grien depicting the Biblical figure Lot from 1537 when he sold it in 1937 to the National Gallery. But the Prussian Cultural Foundation deemed the sale to have been effectively forced due to the Nazi’s persecution of Purrmann, whose art the regime declared “degenerate.” (The Art Newspaper)

Pension Strikers Shut Down the Louvre – Around 100 protesters, who included Louvre staffers, blocked the entrance to the Paris museum on Friday to protest President Macron’s proposed pension reforms. Strikes have been ongoing throughout the city for the past few weeks. Dismayed Louvre visitors who had paid for their tickets online were told they would get their money back. Today, the museum warns that some rooms may be closed due to ongoing strike action. The protesters also voiced concerns over the labor conditions at the museum due to staff and funding cuts. (New York Times)

US Companies Enabled Billionaire African Couple’s Alleged Corruption – Some 120 reporters across 20 countries have traced how Africa’s richest woman, Isabel dos Santos, and her art collecting husband, Sindika Dokolo, allegedly transferred millions of dollars of public money out of Angola with the help of Western private firms. The couple’s assets in Angola have been frozen while the country tries to reclaim an alleged $1 billion in state-loans from the duo. Dos Santos’s father ruled the country for 38 years. Leading banks declined to do business with the politically connected couple but the investigation, dubbed the #LuandaLeaks, shows how US private consulting firms helped the family manage their financial empire.  (New York Times)


Alice Walker’s Bill Traylor Painting Sells Over Estimate for $507,000 – A painting that Steven Spielberg gave to Alice Walker blew past its original high estimate of $400,000 at Christie’s Outsider Art sale last week. The work by self-taught artist Bill Traylor, Man on White, Woman on Red / Man with Black Dog, double sided, sold for $507,000. (Christie’s)

Simone Leigh Joins Hauser & Wirth – The US sculptor is the tenth artist the gallery has signed on since 2019. Other recent additions to the mega-gallery’s roster include Avery Singer, Nicole Eisenman, Henry Taylor, George Condo, and Nicolas Party. (ARTnews)


The National Gallery of Australia’s Founding Director Has Died – The founding director of the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra, James Mollison, has died aged 88. Mollison oversaw the historic purchase of Jackson Pollock’s Blue Poles in 1973, before going on to lead the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne. (Guardian)

Gallerist Robert William Burke Junior Has Died – The Paris- and New York-based art dealer and collector, Robert William Burke Junior, has died, aged 71. A former member of Warhol’s Factory, Burke dealt privately after he closed La Remise du Parc gallery in Paris in 1983. (Artforum)

Austrian Artist Oswald Oberhuber Has Died – The well-respected sculptor, painter, and curator died in Vienna at the age of 88. Oberhuber was a central figure of post-war Austrian art scene. (Monopol)


Guggenheim Plans an Alex Katz Retrospective – The 92-year-old painter will get a retrospective at the Guggenheim in New York in 2022. Alex Katz’s exhibition will be co-organized by Katherine Brinson, Nancy Spector, and Levi Prombaum. (ARTnews)

How Artists Get Past China’s Censors – Destination, a Chinese cultural center that began as a gay nightclub, includes an edgy art gallery called ART.Des. Artists are able to show homoerotic works that would probably be censored elsewhere, partly because of its low profile. “Perhaps [Beijing’s] not as free as the West; but it’s not as closed as people think, either. We’re not North Korea,” said an artist who wished to remain anonymous. (New York Times)

Dasha Zhukova and Stavros Niarchos Throw a $6.5 Million Wedding Party – The founder of Moscow’s Garage Museum, art collector, and magazine owner, Dasha Zhukova, and her new husband, the Greek shipping heir Stavros Niarchos, held their glitzy wedding party in St. Moritz on Friday. It was a day earlier than the paparazzi expected. Art dealer Vito Schnabel and Artsy co-founder Wendi Deng were spotted among the A-list guests at the event reported to have cost $6.5 million. (Vanity Fair)

How One Painter Plotted Her Midcareer Comeback – Shannon Cartier Lucy had highs and lows in the New York art world in the early 2000s before she retreated to her home state of Tennessee, to overcome a drug addiction. Now, aged 40, the artist is back for a solo show of her surreal paintings at Lubov Gallery in Chinatown. The show is called: “Home Is a Crossword Puzzle I Cannot Solve.” (Vulture)

Guggenheim Curator Nancy Spector Gets an Art Tattoo – The Guggenheim’s artistic director and chief curator is understandably proud of her new tattoo. No ordinary ink art, Nancy Spector’s circle of dolphins is a work by the late Feliz Gonzalez-Torres, the Cuban-American artist’s 1992 untitled design for a tattoo. The curator showed off her body art, which she describes as an “acquisition,” on Instagram, with a thanks to the artist’s estate for giving its blessing. (Instagram)

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