Art Industry News: This Art-World Scion and Onetime Sotheby’s Consultant Will Probably Become Biden’s Secretary of State + Other Stories

Plus, Louis Vuitton hires Urs Fischer to reimagine its famous logo and Germany is developing an app to help identify looted objects.

Antony Blinken on stage during President-elect Joe Biden's introduction of his cabinet nominees on November 24, 2020. and John Kerry as Special Presidential Envoy for Climate. (Photo by Demetrius Freeman/The Washington Post 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 Wednesday, January 6.


A Beirut Show Surveys the Damage to Art After the Explosion – In the wake of a pair of explosions that ripped through Beirut on August 4, leaving the city reeling, the local art world is trying to rebuild. A new exhibition at the Villa Audi, which was damaged in the blast, has put some of the shattered art on view, openly displaying gashes and chips. “Wounded Art” hopes to reconstruct “the piece of art again without touching it,” says the show’s curator Jean-Louis Mainguy. (Guardian)

Why Four Years of Trump Was Actually Bad for Art – Some predicted that frustration with the Trump administration would spark unprecedented creativity among artists during his presidency. But “a wildly accelerated news cycle eroded the concentration it takes to make good art,” according to critic Judy Berman. (TIME)

Biden’s Secretary of State Pick Consulted for Sotheby’s – Tony Blinken, who US President-Elect Joe Biden has nominated for Secretary of State, has a few art-world connections. During his time in the private sector, the diplomat was paid to consult for companies including not only Uber and McKinsey, but also Sotheby’s, according to his financial disclosures. (The auction house declined to comment to Artnet News on the nature of its relationship to Blinken.) Meanwhile, the longtime Washingtonian comes from a line of collectors: his father, Donald Blinken, is a major patron, with megawatt works by Rothko and Guston in his holdings. (Twitter)

Venice Museums Will Be Closed Until April – While Italian museums are set to reopen on January 15, Venice’s mayor Luigi Brugnaro has called for Venetian cultural institutions to remain completely closed until April, incensing some in the museum world. In an open letter, opponents of the move say “an immense public heritage risks being managed like a private enterprise, with the same criteria as any business.” (Ytali)


Germany Is Developing an App to Identify Looted Antiquities – A new app, KIKU, is under development in Germany thanks to a €500,000 grant from the government. It aims to identify an object from photographs to determine whether it has been illegally looted using artificial intelligence that will become better with use. (The Art Newspaper)

Art World Lays Out a Tentative Plan for 2021 Art Fairs – It looks like the art world will have a busy summer. ARCOMadrid will take place in July; TEFAF Maastricht and Art Basel Hong Kong have moved from March to May. Marc Spiegler, head of the Art Basel fairs, says he would love to have Art Basel in Switzerland as normal in June, but organizers are ready for other scenarios. (New York Times)


Carnegie Museum Makes Three Key Hires – The Pittsburgh museum is beefing up its team. It has hired Ronald Lee Newman as deputy director; Dana Bishop Root as director of education and public programs; and Aryn Beitz as director of design and publishing. (Trib Live

A Richmond Museum Addresses Its Fraught History – The Washington Post explores how Virginia’s Valentine Museum—named after sculptor Edward Virginius Valentine, who created statues honoring Confederate soldiers throughout his career—is confronting its dark past. The museum has petitioned the city of Richmond to display a toppled statue of Jefferson Davis in its current state: dented from its fall, and covered in protest slogans and paint. (Washington Post)


Urs Fischer Reinterprets Louis Vuitton’s Iconic Logo – The irreverent Swiss artist has reworked the traditional LV monogram into a fun-house, stretched version of its former self for a new line of products. The brand’s boutiques have also been outfitted with Fischer-designed, oversize foodstuffs (as in, avocados and eggs) to add to the Surreal tone. (Cultured)

Alicia Keys Makes Art With Her Piano – Alicia Keys and her husband Swizz Beatz may have made a name for themselves as collectors, but now the singer is taking a stab at art-making herself. In an Instagram video, the musician debuts a new style of painting—using her piano. Each time she presses a key, a spurt of paint splashes onto a nearby canvas. (People)

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