Art Industry News: Simone Leigh’s Monument to a Water Deity Replaces a Confederate Statue in New Orleans + Other Stories

Plus, the Dallas Museum of Art plans a major expansion, and Jeff Koons does indeed want to make an NFT.

Simone Leigh, Sentinel (Mami Wata) (2020–1). Photo: Alex Marks.

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 25.


Michael Steinhardt Preserved Caves From Which Art Was Looted – A 2,200-year-old artifact that was allegedly illegally traded by the embattled billionaire philanthropist may have been looted from a cave complex that is regularly excavated by young Jews who travel to Israel as a part of the Birthright program, which Steinhardt funds. Forty of the looted items he turned over to U.S. authorities last month came from Israel and the West Bank. (JTA)

Yes, Jeff Koons Also Wants to Make an NFT – The artist shared his breakfast and vitamin routine with the Wall Street Journal (oatmeal with fruit; Silver Men’s Plus) and revealed what kind of art he makes with his kids (one-minute drawings at home and occasional visits to the studio where they collaborate on paintings). He also shared that he might make an NFT eventually, but that right now he is still trying to figure out how “to make something to be able to have as much meaning as possible.” (Wall Street Journal)

Simone Leigh Sculpture Replaces Confederate Monument – The American artist’s Sentinel (Mami Wata) has returned to Egalité Circle in New Orleans, where it was first presented as part of the fifth edition of the Prospect Triennial. The site once held a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, which was removed in 2017. The work—specifically designed for the location, named after a water deity, and intentionally placed on the ground instead of atop the pedestal—depicts a snake wrapped around a female body whose form resembles a spoon. It will remain on view there until July 22, when the space becomes available for future artistic projects. (ARTnews)

Anish Kapoor Condemns the U.K. Government’s Arts Policies – “Britain it seems no longer sees any merit in what the humanities have to offer,” writes artist Anish Kapoor in a new op-ed that condemns the U.K. government’s increasing meddling in cultural institutions as well as its widespread funding cuts to the arts. “The true effect of this will mean the belittling of our young people to roles of servitude to those at the top of the economy—as if economics is the only measure of value.” (The Art Newspaper)


A Surgeon Tried to Sell an X-ray From the Bataclan as an NFT – From the department of very bad ideas: A French doctor may face legal consequences after attempting to sell an X-ray he made of a former patient who suffered bullet wounds during the November 2015 attack on the Bataclan concert hall in Paris. The surgeon listed the NFT for sale on OpenSea for $2,776 in Ethereum. In his post on the marketplace, he described the patient as a young woman who had lost her boyfriend in the attack. (TAN)

Dallas Museum Plans Expansion – This museum is planning its first major expansion since 1993. Still in the early planning stages, the DMA commissioned a study last year to determine the scope, location, and cost of a new building or extension. It needs more space to make way for the major “Fast Forward” bequest of more than 1,000 contemporary artworks from Dallas patrons. (Dallas Morning News)

Ben Brown Pops Up in London – Contemporary art gallery Ben Brown Fine Arts will open a pop-up space in Mayfair, London next month. Brown’s rationale is simple: “Business is good, and I need more space.” He will begin with a show of work by the Brazilian artist Vik Muniz that will encompass the new venue and his existing location. He may extend the pop-up into the summer. (TAN)

Edel Assanti Opens a New London Space – Edel Assanti will open a new 4,000-square-foot gallery in Fitzrovia, London on January 27 with a solo exhibition by French artist Noémie Goudal. The gallery’s founders, Jeremy Epstein and Charlie Fellowes, who also co-founded London Gallery Weekend, have chosen a historic building that dates back to 1904. (Press release)


Long-Lost Yves Tanguy Painting Discovered – The Surrealist painting Fraud in the Garden (1930) was long believed to have been destroyed in the 1930s when a fascist mob raided Paris, slashed the painting with a knife, and damaged other works by Dalí, Man Ray, and Joan Miró. When an anonymous collector bought Fraud in the Garden in 1985, many thought it was a fake because it showed no signs of damage. But X-rays have now affirmed the painting’s authenticity by revealing scars from the attack. (Guardian)

Yves Tanguy, <i>Fraud in the Garden</i> (1930).

Yves Tanguy, Fraud in the Garden (1930).

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