Art Industry News: Banksy’s Wales Garage Mural Could Become the Centerpiece of a New Museum + Other Stories

Plus, the anti-Sackler campaign prompts the Met to review its gift policy and Florence floods a Marina Abramović show.

Banksy's mural on a garage wall in, Port Talbot, south Wales. Photo by Ben Birchall PA/Getty Image.

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 22.


The Met Will Reconsider Its Gift Policy – The museum is reviewing its policy on accepting gifts as some members of the philanthropist Sackler family are embroiled in lawsuits over the sale of the opioid OxyContin. Last week, the City of New York added eight of the Sacklers to its $500 million lawsuit, which was filed to alleviate the cost of the ongoing opioid crisis. In a statement, the Met’s president Daniel Weiss said that members of the Sackler family had been making substantial donations decades before the crisis, but that pending the review, the museum “will have more to report in due course.” (The Art Newspaper)

London’s New Concert Hall Looks a Lot Like Tate Modern – Design déjà vu? The Guardian‘s architecture critic Oliver Wainwright notes that Diller Scofidio + Renfro’s design for London’s forthcoming £288 million ($371 million) concert hall looks remarkably similar to Herzog and de Meuron’s Tate Modern Blavatnik Building. He thinks the proposal for the flashy glass-and-timber ziggurat might be out of kilter with the rest of the adjoining Brutalist Barbican. What’s more, he addresses the elephant in the room, a four-story commercial block necessary to fund the operation of the music center, which he dubs “an apt reflection of an era when culture—in an era of public funding cuts—must find a way to pay for itself.” (Guardian)

Banksy Buyer Plans Urban Art Center in Wales – The British art dealer John Brandler, who recently dropped a six-figure sum on Banksy’s Christmas mural in a Welsh industrial town, is planning a new urban art center in the area. Brandler visited the town of Port Talbot last week and met with local representatives to discuss potential sites for the new cultural destination, the centerpiece of which would be the street artist’s Season’s Greetings. (The Art Newspaper)

Government Shutdown Threatens Women’s Vote Show – The ongoing partial US government shutdown is jeopardizing an exhibition at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts celebrating 100 years since women in the US won the right to vote. The show, which is scheduled for next summer and would include around 50 works of art by women, depends on a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, for which PAFA cannot apply while NEA staff are furloughed. The deadline to submit the Art Works federal grant is next month—but if the shutdown continues, the government might delay distribution of its grants, making it impossible to mount the show. (Philadelphia Inquirer)


Art Los Angeles Contemporary Releases Exhibitor List – The art fair in Santa Monica’s Barker Hangar will host 102 exhibitors for its 10th edition, which runs February 13 to 17, coinciding with Frieze Los Angeles and Felix LA. The fair has added two new sections this year: “Salon,” dedicated to curated displays, and “Publishers,” for presses and book shops. Several previous exhibitors, including David Kordansky and Vermelho, are absent; they will be participating in Frieze LA. (ARTnews)

Chinese Stamp Sells for Record $770,000 – Auctioneer Spink Hong Kong sold a rare Dowager stamp for a record HK$6.1 million ($777,000) during the auction of the collection of Lam Man Yin, the CEO of Shirble Department Store Holdings. The stamp collection generated a total of HK$31.2 million ($3.9 million). (Art Daily)

SP-Arte Announces Highlights – The fair’s 15th edition will celebrate Latin American art in a specially curated section called “Solo,” with single-artist booths selected by the Chilean curator Alexia Tala. The fair runs April 4 through 7 in São Paulo’s Bienal Pavilion. (Press release)


Leading Female Iraqi Archaeologist Has Died – The woman who helped rebuild the National Museum of Iraq, Lamia Al Gailani Werr, has died. An expert on Mesopotamian antiquities, she was one of Iraq’s first female archaeologists. After the fall of Saddam Hussein, she returned to Baghdad to advise colleagues on the looted Iraq Museum’s reconstruction. (The National)

KGB Spy Museum Lands in New York – New York’s new KGB Spy Museum might be open to the public, but its management remains a secret. The owners of the for-profit institution in Chelsea are anonymous. The museum’s curators, father-and-daughter duo Julius and Agne Urbaityte, have lent their family’s extensive collection of KGB memorabilia to the mysterious museum, including uniforms, a prison door, and an interrogation chair. (New York Times)

Paris Is Getting a Banksy Show – The Musée du Graffiti in Paris has announced via its Facebook page that it is organizing a Banksy show in June. The museum’s director Grégory Jubé did not reveal any additional details or confirm whether the British street artist has given his official blessing to the project. For the past year, an unauthorized exhibition of Banksy has been touring the globe with the help of entertainment company Live Nation. (SortiraParis)


New York Mayor’s Mansion Gets a Feminist Rehang – Gracie Mansion, the historic home of New York’s mayor, has been transformed by an installation of work by 44 female artists and collectives. “She Persists” includes pieces by Kara Walker and Carmen Herrera alongside rising stars like Jordan Casteel and Kaveri Raina. The radical rehang was the brainchild of New York’s first lady, Chirlane McCray, and organized by the art historian Jessica Bell Brown. Public tours start in February. (NYT)

Experts Fooled by “Ancient” Stone Circle in Scotland – Archaeologists and heritage professionals thought they had located a 4,000-year-old stone circle in Scotland—but the farmer who used to own the land has now admitted that it is a modern replica. An Aberdeenshire Council spokesman said officials were disappointed to learn the stones were less than 20 years old. (BBC)

Marathon End for Marina Abramović’s Florence Blockbuster – The Palazzo Strozzi’s blockbuster Abramović show in Florence ended with a marathon finale. Visitors stood in line for hours to catch the closing day of the retrospective, which drew 180,000 visitors over the past three months—more than Ai Weiwei’s solo show and even a Picasso exhibition. Many museumgoers squeezed between the performers who restaged Abramović and Ulay’s legendary Imponderabilia. (Instagram)

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