Art Industry News: Pussy Riot Refugees Seek Asylum in Sweden + More Must-Read Stories

Plus, comedian Tiffany Haddish gives an art history lesson and see Mickalene Thomas’s LA Metro mural.

A protester at a solidarity vigil for Pussy Riot in 2013 in Washington, DC. Photo: Kris Connor/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 Thursday, January 25.


Jessi Reaves Designs Seating for John Galliano – Maison Margiela creative director John Galliano commissioned the American artist to make four site-specific sculptures to appear during the fashion house’s couture show this spring. The deconstructed artworks form a blobby patchwork of designer furniture that will double as seating for guests of the show. (NYT)

Comedian Tiffany Haddish Gives an Art History Lesson – For an episode of Comedy Central’s series Drunk History, the American actor and comedian hilariously recounted the story of World War II art hero Rose Valland, who worked with the French Resistance to save thousands of works by French Jewish artists that had been looted by the Nazis. (Slate)

Pussy Riot Members Seek Political Asylum in Sweden – Two members of the punk protest group, Lusine Dschanjan and Alexej Knedljakowski, have applied for asylum in Sweden, where they have been living with their young son in a refugee center for the past 10 months. After demonstrating in Sochi during the 2014 winter Olympics, the activists were beaten, threatened, and lost their jobs. If forced to return to Russia, they fear more of the same. (DPA)

Antarctica Biennale Founder Denies Cyber Espionage – The Russian antivirus software company Kaspersky Lab is actually controlled by the Russian intelligence service, a whistleblower has said. Eugene Kaspersky, the founder of the Antarctica Biennale, denies the claim. He is also suing the Trump administration over the federal ban imposed on Kaspersky’s software last year. (The Times)


Japan Invests in Its Domestic Art Market – The country’s cultural affairs agency will introduce new initiatives in an attempt to boost a lackluster local market. While contemporary art stars like Yayoi Kusama, Takashi Murakami, and Yoshimoto Nara enjoy international success, officials feel that most Japanese artists at home are underexposed. (The Japan News)

Gallery Katz Contemporary Shuts Down – The Zürich gallery, founded by Frédérique Hutter 10 years ago, will close its doors at the end of its upcoming exhibition. Hutter says that her gallery will continue to exist, but in a new form. This follows a string of gallery closures in Switzerland, including RaebervonStenglin in 2016, and galleries Rotwand, Herrmann Germann Contemporary, and Freymond-Guth in 2017. (Monopol)

Can Italy’s Market Sustain a Gallery Boom? – London’s Thomas Dane is the latest gallery to open a second space in Italy. It has become a trend in recent years for foreign dealers to set up shop in the country, suggesting a growing interest in Italy’s knowledgeable collectors and confidence in its market. (The Art Newspaper)

Frank Bowling Joins Alexander Gray Associates – The New York gallery adds the Guyanese-born, London-based painter to its roster, and will share representation with his London dealer, Hales Gallery. (ARTNews)


Tate Photo Curator Heads to Paris – British curator Simon Baker has been named director of the Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris’s center for contemporary photographic art. He will take up the post in March after his predecessor, Jean-Luc Monterosso, retires. (Le Monde)

Bryan Barcena Joins MOCA Curatorial Staff – Barcena became assistant curator and manager of publications at the Los Angeles contemporary art museum on January 1. He has been a research assistant for Latin American art at MOCA since 2015, and a curatorial assistant at ICA Boston. (Press release)

Ellen Tani Named Assistant Curator at ICA Boston – Tani joins the museum from the Bowdoin College Museum of Art where she was a curatorial fellow. ICA Boston’s Jeffrey De Blois and Jessica Hong have also been promoted to assistant curators, while Ruth Erickson has become the Mannion Family curator. (Press release)

Miami Private Museum CiFO to Close – The Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation is closing its architect-designed non-profit space in Miami in April to focus on traveling exhibitions with partner institutions across Latin America. CiFO opened in 2005 in a warehouse converted by the architect Rene Gonzalez for the influential collector Ella Fontanals-Cisneros. (ARTnews)


PST LA/LA Shows Hit the Road – After Pacific Standard Time LA/LA closes this weekend, several of its shows are heading to museums across the US and South America. New Yorkers will see five of them, including “Radical Women: Latin American Art,” which is headed to the Brooklyn Museum, and “Painted in Mexico, 1700–1790,” to the Met. Elsewhere, “Home—So Different, So Appealing” will appear at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. (ARTnews)

The Best Design Events of 2018 – A wide array of curators, writers, academics, architects, and other design authorities have offered their insight on the most exciting events taking place in the field this year—including symposia, exhibitions, festivals, and lectures—all of which have been assembled into one helpful list. (Quartz)

See Mickalene Thomas’s LA Metro Mural – Mickalene Thomas is channelling LAX’s landmark futurist tower, an Art Deco theater, and a local fountain for her vibrant mural for Leimert Park, a stop on the LA Metro’s new Crenshaw Line. The Metro has released designs by Thomas and 13 other artists, including Erwin Redl, Carlson Hatton, and Shinique Smith, for stations on the line, which is due to open in late 2019. (Hyperallergic)



Hans Hartung
de Sarthe Gallery – Hong Kong

A key figure in the Abstract Expressionist movement, the late Hans Hartung is having a moment these days. His work is currently being surveyed in multiple gallery shows, while his renown stretches to new regions, particularly Asia. Below, watch a video that de Sarthe Gallery produced for its impressive recent show of Hartung’s work.



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.