Art Industry News: Police Arrest 100 at Amsterdam’s Van Gogh Museum Amid Protests Over New Lockdown Measures + Other Stories

Plus, Paris's "artists square" is virtually empty and Moscow is displacing hundreds of artists from their studios.

Riot police clashes with protesters during a demonstration in the Museumplein town square in Amsterdam, Netherlands, on January 17, 2021. Photo by ROBIN VAN LONKHUIJSEN/ANP/AFP via 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 25.


Four Plead Not Guilty To Toppling Statue in UK – Rhian Graham, Milo Ponsford, Jake Skuse, and Sage Willoughby pleaded not guilty in court this morning to charges of toppling a 17th-century statue of slave trader Edward Colston in Bristol, UK. The bronze statue was pushed into the harbor this past summer during worldwide Black Lives Matter protests. The four will face a hearing on February 8. (Standard)

Moscow Artists’ Studios Are Being Razed – Around 500 studios have been earmarked for demolition in the Russian capital due to a government plan seeking to revamp the Khrushchyovka buildings, which appear throughout Moscow, into residences. More than 700 artists are facing an imminent risk of displacement and have so far been offered no concrete alternatives for their studios. The buildings, which have hosted artists since the 1960s, are leftovers of a government-subsidized studio platform that sought to train artists in the Soviet Union. (The Art Newspaper, Artforum)

Tear Gas and Protests Erupt at Van Gogh Museum – Anti-lockdown protests took place over the weekend in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. The demonstrators were pushing back against a new emergency 9 p.m. curfew intended to curtail the spread of the coronavirus. The rally ended with tear gas and water canons shot into the crowd, which had gathered outside of the Van Gogh Museum. More than 100 people were arrested. (Standard)

Paris Artists Struggle Amid Lockdowns – The historic Place du Tertre in Paris is normally bustling with 250 artists who rent in the square to paint portraits of visitors, but the lack of tourism this past year has brought extremely hard times on these painters, portraitists, and caricaturists, and the square is virtually empty. Belle époque artists like Van Gogh, Renoir, Degas, Cézanne, and Picasso all once lived and worked in the area, the so-called “artists square.” (Guardian)


Senghor’s Soulages Sells for €1.5 million – A painting by French artist Pierre Soulages that had previously belonged to the former president of Senegal, Léopold Sédar Senghor, sold over the weekend at Caen, France, to a European bidder for nearly €1.5 million. (Le Journal des Arts)

Galleria Continua Opens a New Paris Space – The international Galleria Continua has opened a new space just a stone’s throw from the Centre Pompidou in Paris, with a debut show curated by the artist JR. The space, inside a former wholesale leather supplier’s shop, is roughly 8,600 square feet, and its current exhibition includes works by Antony Gormley, Kiki Smith, and Michelangelo Pistoletto, among others. (The Art Newspaper)


San Francisco Art Institute Chairwoman Resigns – Pam Rorke Levy, the chairwoman of the beleaguered institution, is leaving her post. Levy, whose six-year term officially expired last summer, stayed on through the fall and into 2021 as the school scrambled to find ways to stay open and pay off its nearly $20 million debt. The board has faced criticism for suggesting the potential sale of a beloved Diego Rivera mural that is worth around $50 million. (New York Times)

Laura Domencic to Lead Erie Art Museum – Laura Domencic, a curator and institutional leader who spent the past three years as head of a residency program in Ambialet, France, will now run the Erie Art Museum in Pennsylvania. Domencic, who is also an artist, previously spent 11 years running the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, which merged under her leadership with the Pittsburgh Filmmakers organization. (Artforum


Guilty Plea in the Ghost Ship Fire – Derick Almena, the man who converted an Oakland, California, warehouse into an artists’ live and work space, has pleaded guilty to three dozen counts of involuntary manslaughter. The space, known as Ghost Ship, burned down during a 2016 concert at the space, killing 36 of the 100 people inside. The warehouse, which was converted illegally, had only two exits, no sprinklers, and no fire alarms. (Courthouse News)

An Alphons Mucha Masterwork Finds a Home in Prague – A work consisting of 20 paintings, titled the Slav Epic, has finally found a home in Prague, Czech Republic. Alphonse Mucha’s monumental work has been without a stable home for nearly a century, but per an agreement reached this month it will now reside in the Thomas Heatherwick-designed Savarin development in the historic center of Prague. The project is set to open in 2026. (TAN)

Visitors look at paintings of the "Slav Epic", a cycle of 20 allegories tracing the history of the Slavic people and inspired in part by mythology, by Art Nouveau Czech artist Alfons Mucha, at the National Gallery in Prague. Michal Cizek/AFP/GettyImages.

Visitors look at paintings of the “Slav Epic”, a cycle of 20 allegories tracing the history of the Slavic people and inspired in part by mythology, by Art Nouveau Czech artist Alfons Mucha, at the National Gallery in Prague. Michal Cizek/AFP/GettyImages.

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