Art Industry News: Billionaire Art Collector Buys America’s Most Expensive Home + Other Stories
Plus, W.A.G.E. asks artists to boycott the Whitney Biennial and the Arts Council England publishes a guide to a no-deal Brexit.
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 24.
W.A.G.E. Calls on Whitney Biennial Participants to Withhold Work – The nonprofit organization Working Artists and the Greater Economy (W.A.G.E.) has published an open letter asking artists who are invited to participate in the upcoming Whitney Biennial to withhold their work in solidarity with Whitney staff. Late last year, staff members called for the resignation of controversial board member Warren B. Kanders, who owns a weapons manufacturer that creates tear gas used on migrants and protesters. W.A.G.E. also asked that participating artists affirm their right to be paid, a central component of the nonprofit’s mission. (Hyperallergic)
Arts Body Publishes “No Deal” Brexit Guide – Arts Council England has released a guide offering advice for the art world in the event that the European Union and the UK do not reach a Brexit transition deal by the fast-approaching deadline of March 29. Organizations moving art across the border need to allot extra time, especially when works are large, delicate, or of high value. Meanwhile, EU artists must be advised that they will no longer be able to move freely across the border. The guide also warns that UK organizations will no longer be eligible to receive arts funding from the EU, so they should plan to reorganize their finances. (The Art Newspaper)
Billionaire Collector Buys London and New York’s Most Expensive Homes – The hedge-funder and philanthropist Ken Griffin, whose high-flying purchases include a de Kooning and Pollock for a combined $500 million, has added some new high-end real estate to his portfolio. He snapped a $238 million penthouse with views of Central Park days after buying London’s most expensive residence, a mansion overlooking St. James’s Park for $122 million. The man likes a park view. (Bloomberg)
Lubaina Himid Becomes a Royal Academician – The Turner Prize-winning artist Lubaina Himid, a pioneering member of the Black Art movement in Britain, has been elected a Royal Academician. She is joined by two new architecture RAs, Adam Caruso and Peter St John, whose joint firm has designed galleries for Larry Gagosian and Damien Hirst in London. (Press release)
Frieze Los Angeles Reveals Latest Plans – Three weeks ahead of the inaugural fair, which runs February 14 to 17 at Paramount Studios, Frieze has shared more details about the art that will be on view. Hauser & Wirth will present Mike Kelley’s installation Unisex Love Nest for the first time in the city, while LA artist Kathryn Andrews will debut a new series inspired by the 1947 “Back Dahlia” murder in the city at David Kordansky. (Hollywood Reporter)
Hauser & Wirth Donates $1 Million to Filmmaking Initiative – Cal State LA’s film department just got an injection of cash from the mega-gallery’s West Coast branch. The five-year partnership will provide $200,000 a year to support students specializing in documentary film, including funding for equipment and visiting instructors. (Los Angeles Times)
Casa Triângulo Names New Director – The former director of Galeria Leme in São Paulo, Camila Siqueira, has been named the new director of Casa Triângulo. The Brazilian gallery, which was founded in 1988, represents artists Assume Vivid Astro Focus and Yuri Firmeza, among others. (ARTnews)
COMINGS & GOINGS
Singapore Biennale Announces Curators – The seven-person curatorial team for the 2019 Singapore Biennale will be led by Patrick Flores, who is a professor at the University of the Philippines and a curator at the Vargas Museum in Manila. The exhibition, called “Every Step in the Right Direction,” is due to open in November. (ARTnews)
Warhol Foundation Announces Curatorial Research Grants – The Andy Warhol Foundation’s latest round of curatorial research fellowships total more than $400,000, its largest award given through the program to date. Winners include Naima Keith and Diana Nawi’s Prospect 5, the New Orleans triennial due to open in 2020. (ARTnews)
Tate Launches a Global Research Initiative – Korean car maker Hyundai is expanding its sponsorship of Tate to fund five curatorial posts as part of a new research center focused on expanding the canon of contemporary art beyond Europe and North America. The center, which will organize symposia and workshops, will be led by Sook-Kyung Lee, a senior curator of international art. The sponsorship deal lasts until 2024. (Press release)
FOR ART’S SAKE
Family Cites New Evidence to Support “Jane Austen” Portrait – New research supports a family’s claim that the subject of a portrait it owns could be the author Jane Austen at age 12. A note by Austen’s great-niece appears to confirm that the artist Ozias Humphry painted the young Austen in 1788—but the National Portrait Gallery remains skeptical about the attribution. The painting, which failed to sell at auction in 2007, is owned by the Rice family, who are among Austen’s descendants. (Guardian)
Vox’s #Russiagate Explainer Features Ben Davis’s Verdict – Vox asked our own Ben Davis to help sum up—and debunk—the money-laundering conspiracy theory swirling around the $450 million Salvator Mundi. The theory links the royal families of Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi, Donald Trump, an Israeli intelligence firm, and the Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev through the record sale of the Leonardo. Davis says: “If you’re going to do something really, really shady, you might not want to do it in a way that’s designed to put a big arrow over your head that says, ‘Look at me! Investigate me!’” (Vox)
Miroslaw Balka Warns of Trump-Style Walls – The Polish artist has created an overheated and claustrophobic exhibition at White Cube in London. “Random Access Memory” is heated to 113 degrees Fahrenheit, and his sculpture resembles barricades and walls. Poland’s leading sculpture says the show was in part inspired by the political situation in his home country, Trump’s US-Mexico wall, and Brexit. “We used to think demolishing walls was a sign of progress,” he said. “Now everywhere we are building them up again.” (Guardian)
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