Art Industry News: Yellow Vest Riots Continue to Put Paris’s Museums on the Defensive + Other Stories

Plus, the Met announces record attendance for 2018 and it turns out Justin Timberlake is a fan of Cindy Sherman.

French protesters wearing yellow vests in front of the Musée d'Orsay. Photo by Michel Stoupak/NurPhoto 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 this Monday, January 7.


The Met Announces Record Attendance – The Costume Institute’s popular “Heavenly Bodies” show helped boost the Met’s total attendance to 7.3 million in 2018, up almost 400,000 from 2017. (The Met Cloisters, which housed part of the show, drew a record 350,000 visitors, while the Met Breuer saw 400,000. The mothership on Fifth Avenue attracted 6.5 million.) Just over a third of visitors came from New York and the tri-state area, while a third were international tourists—a notable total in the same year the Met began charging adult out-of-state visitors a mandatory $25 entrance fee. (Press release)

Scientists Have Figured Out Why You Love Monet – When Monet painted multiple versions of London’s Waterloo Bridge, he used contrasting brushstrokes to confuse the way our brains interpret his limited color palette, researchers have found. Experts at the University of Rochester’s Center for Visual Science studied a number of his paintings to better understand how the French Impressionist manipulated the way our eyes and brain interpret light and shape. Their findings underpin a new exhibition at the Memorial Art Gallery in Rochester. (Daily Mail)

Musée d’Orsay Closes Early Due to Protests – Paris’s Musée d’Orsay cancelled its late-night opening of the exhibition “Picasso: Blue and Rose” on Saturday due to nearby clashes between police and yellow vest protesters, who also set a barge on the Seine on fire. Meanwhile, the Louvre went ahead with with its first free evening opening. Nearly 11,000 people attended while a police helicopter hovered above the museum. (ARTnews, Le Figaro)

Germany Returns Fifth Gurlitt Painting to Heirs – The country’s culture ministry has returned the French painter Thomas Couture’s Portrait de jeune femme assise (1850–5) to the heirs of its Jewish former owner, the politician Georges Mandel. The painting was in the Gurlitt collection and will be handed over tomorrow in a ceremony at the Gropius Bau in the presence of a representative of the Kunstmuseum in Bern, which inherited the controversial estate. (Monopol)


Sotheby’s Managing Director Steps Down After Harassment Complaints – The managing director of Sotheby’s India, Gaurav Bhatia, has left the company for good, the auction house confirmed. On “indefinite leave” since November, Bhatia is one of three high-profile figures in the Indian art world who has been accused of sexual harassment in an anonymous Instagram post on the account Scene and Heard. (ARTnews)

Sean Kelly’s Taiwan Space to Open for New Fair – New York-based dealer Sean Kelly will open his project space in Taipei on January 16 with a solo show of work by the Scottish abstract painter Callum Innes. The 250-square-meter space will be open during the inaugural Taipei Dangdai fair, and then by appointment. (The Art Newspaper)

Why American Artists Should Benefit From the Resale of Their Art – In an op-ed, Maxwell Anderson, the president of the Souls Grown Deep Foundation, argues that Congress should support a bill that would implement resale royalty rights for visual artists in the US. The long-debated but never implemented system would be a boon for historically disadvantaged figures who have no art market presence until the end of their careers or after their death, like the Gee’s Bend quilters of Alabama. (TAN)


FRONT Triennial Names New Curators – Prem Krishnamurthy and Tina Kukielski will co-art direct the second edition of Cleveland’s triennial for contemporary art, which is slated to run July 17 through October 2, 2021. Krishnamurthy is a founding principal of the design firm Projects Projects and divides his time between Berlin and New York. Kukielski directs the nonprofit Art21 in New York City. (Press release)

British Museum Launches Latin American Research Center – The center’s research will focus on improving the understanding of the museum’s collections from the region, which comprise 45,000 objects spanning a period of 10,000 years. The project was made possible by a donation from the billionaire Santo Domingo family, and will carry the name Santo Domingo Centre of Excellence for Latin American Research. (Press release)

Ruth Estévez Named Curator-at-Large at the Rose – The renowned curator of contemporary art and performance is now senior curator-at-large for the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University in Massachusetts. Estévez, who divides her time between Mexico City and Los Angeles, will organize exhibitions and advise on acquisitions, among other responsibilities. (Press release)


An Art Historian’s Cat Wrecked His Prized Painting – Bendor Grosvenor, an art dealer who often lends his expertise to the BBC for the TV series Fake or Fortune, says his cat ruined a rare 17th-century portrait by John Michael Wright. Padme clawed at the work while Grosvenor was restoring two small tears, leaving an even bigger hole in the middle that will cost around $6,400 (equivalent to the entire cost of the original work) to repair. But Grosvenor’s in good spirits about the debacle, telling the Telegraph that the cat is “not a fan of John Michael Wright, and regrets nothing.” (Telegraph)

Jim Carrey Paints Emma González and Louis CK – Our favorite actor-comedian turned political artist give his take on the comedian’s recent insensitive comments about the victims of the Parkland shooting. Carrey shared the painting, which shows Parkland student and gun control activist Emma González towering over a tiny likeness of Louis CK, on Twitter with the caption “Louis can’t C. K?” (Newsweek)

Justin Timberlake Wears a Cindy Sherman Sweatshirt – The Cry Me a River singer shared the news that he will be making a comeback tour in a very high-minded outfit: an Undercover x Cindy Sherman collaboration sweatshirt depicting the artist as the actor Frances Farmer in one of her early “Untitled Film Stills.” Sherman shared a news clip of the actor making the announcement on her Instagram. The mind boggles at what kind of collaboration these two might develop. (Instagram)

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