Art Industry News: The Art Market Outperformed the Stock Market in 2018 + Other Stories

Plus, more art critics slam the Met's "Epic Abstraction" show and an Italian court scolds the Getty for a "careless" acquisition.

The auction of Kerry James Marshall's Past Times. Courtesy of Sotheby's.

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 3. 


Peter Schjeldahl Hates the Met Abstraction Show, Too – New York Times critic Roberta Smith wasn’t the only one disappointed by the Met’s exhibition “Epic Abstraction: Pollock to Herrera.” In a new review, the New Yorker critic called the show “oppressive” and accused the museum of “congratulating itself on liberal virtuousness.” Schjeldahl argues the show tries to cut corners by overemphasizing a small painting by Carmen Herrera and leaves out two key movements, France’s Tachisme and Northern Europe’s CoBrA movement. (New Yorker)

Italian Court Says the Getty Was “Careless” to Buy the Victorious Youth – The LA museum showed “unjustifiable carelessness” in buying the ancient Greek statue, Italy’s supreme Cassation Court ruled last month. In a judgement made public on Wednesday, the court criticized the museum for relying on consultants appointed by the seller. The Getty is appealing the ruling that the bronze discovered off the Italian coast belongs in Italy. (ANSA)

Art Outperformed the Stock Market Last Year – Luxury items, including wine, classic cars, and fancy diamonds, were among the best performing investments in 2018, but art took the very top spot. Investors who put money into art saw an average gain of 10.6 percent by the end of November, according to Art Market Research’s Art 100 Index. The S&P 500, by contrast, lost more than five percent. (WSJ)

Cultural Figures Targeted in China’s Uyghur Persecution – The detention of the provocative Chinese photographer Lu Guang in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region has given renewed focus to the hundreds of writers, artists, and scholars who, though less well-known internationally, have already been imprisoned. “Most of the more famous [Uyghur] cultural figures have all been arrested,” says poet and filmmaker Tahir Hamut, who escaped to the US. “Their families won’t say for certain, because their families are afraid.” (The Art Newspaper)


France’s Antiques Dealers Angered by “Shocking” Report – France’s syndicate of antique dealers are angry they were not consulted on the Savoy-Sarr report commissioned by the French government, which recommends the country return stolen works of African art to their countries of origin. “This arduous and inefficient arrangement risks putting the European art market at a disadvantage while Brexit is fully under way, restricting Paris’s place,” the syndicate’s president wrote in a letter to France’s culture minister last month. (TAN)

That Spy Who Guarded Salvator Mundi Had a Sidekick – Jerry Chun Shing Lee, an ex-CIA agent who guarded the world’s most expensive painting and who also stands accused of allegedly spying for China between 2010 and 2011, had an accomplice, according to new court documents. The role and nationality of his sidekick remains undisclosed. Is it possible he is the other guard standing in front of Salvator Mundi? (Daily Beast)


Mattress Factory Settles With Employees in Assault Case – The troubled Pittsburgh art center has been dealing with  serious sexual assault allegations since last year. Five female employees were reported to have been sexually harassed, assaulted, or raped by a male coworker. The accused staffer left the museum left May and in December, the museum reached a settlement in a National Labor Relations Board complaint brought against them by four employees. But the institution remains in turmoil while it tries to regain public trust and also train its staff to better handle any possible incidents in the future. (ARTnewsNPR)

Smithsonian American Art Museum Names Deputy Director – The museum’s new deputy director David Voyles has worked at the Smithsonian for 25 years in various capacities, most recently as the director of the Smithsonian’s Office of Planning, Management, and Budget. He succeeds Rachel Allen, who retired after 45 years at the American Art Museum. (Art Daily)

Phoenix Art Museum Gets a Major Gift of Latin American Art Nicholas Pardon, the co-founder of the SPACE Collection, has donated 112 works by 49 contemporary Latin American artists to the Phoenix Art Museum. Assembled by the leading curator Cecilia Fajardo-Hill and housed in a private museum in Irvine, California, the collection is the largest of its kind in the US. A selection will go on show in Phoenix, Arizona, in 2020. (Artforum)

Nikolaus Gansterer Wins MAC International Prize – The Vienna-based artist has won Northern Ireland’s largest prize, the MAC International. He will receive a grant of £20,000 ($25,000). An exhibition of work by him and other shortlisted artists runs through March 31 at the MAC Belfast. (Art Daily)


Museums Embrace the Seven-Day Schedule – The Guggenheim is following the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the MoMA by opening seven days a week, beginning on January 7. The museum cites visitor expectations as the main driving factor behind the extended hours. It’s not alone: a number of New York museums seem to be embracing the trend. On February 8, the Brooklyn Museum will be the next to stay open all week for its exhibition, “Frida Kahlo: Appearances Can Be Deceiving.” (Wall Street Journal)

Rembrandt Comes to Remote Texas – The tiny city of Canadian in remote North Texas (population: 2,500) is getting a big show: an exhibition of Rembrandt etchings collected by a Hollywood set designer. The Citadelle Art Foundation is showing John Villarino’s collection of works depicting beggars by the Dutch Old Master through January 19. The collector, whose CV includes Jurassic ParkBeetlejuice, and Edward Scissorhands, first fell in love with Rembrandt’s etchings at a Beverly Hills gallery in 1994. (Glasstire)

Bauhaus 100 Launches a Colorful Logo – To mark a year of exhibitions celebrating the centenary of the famed school of art and design, Bauhaus 100 has unveiled a bold logo that will brand the host of exhibitions and grand tours taking place in Germany and beyond. Inspired by the spirit of the Bauhaus and its ideas of color and material, designers at the Mediadesign Hochschule’s Berlin campus spent a busy December printing the logo using linoleum and a Boston platen press. (Instagram)


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.