Art Industry News: How David Zwirner Built a $500 Million-a-Year Business + More Must-Read Stories

Plus, Büchel’s border wall tours are already sold out and a Pussy Riot activist has been sentenced for a Moscow protest.

David Zwirner stands in front of an artwork by Yayoi Kusama. (Photo by Andrew Toth/Getty Images)
David Zwirner stands in front of an artwork by Yayoi Kusama. (Photo by Andrew Toth/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 8.


How Zwirner Built His Empire – On the gallery’s 25th anniversary, the WSJ looks at how the dealer went from a $30,000 space in SoHo in 1993 to a $35 million building in Chelsea—plus six other galleries between New York, London, and Hong Kong. Zwirner reported selling 1,400 works last year worth “well over $500 million.” (Wall Street Journal)

Büchel’s Border Wall Tours Are Already Sold Out – Christoph Büchel’s guided tours to see the prototypes for Trump’s border wall, which he wants to make a national monument, are all sold out for January 13 at $20 apiece. But the artist’s website for the nonprofit project, called MAGA, includes directions and useful tips on how to visit the site on your own. (The Art Newspaper) 

Pussy Riot Activist Sentenced After Moscow Protest – On the 100th anniversary of the Russian security service (once the KGB, now the FSB) last month, Maria Alyokhina, a member of the activist group and band Pussy Riot, unfurled a sign reading “Happy Birthday, Executioners!” from the steps of its headquarters in Moscow. She has been sentenced to 40 hours of community service. (AFP)

Will Schwitters’s Merz Barn Go to China? – The trust that owns Kurt Schwitters’s Merz Barn in Langdale, Cumbria, could sell it to a Chinese billionaire for £350,000 ($475,000). The small stone building in the north of England was the exiled German artist’s final studio. The trust’s director blames Arts Council England, which has provided limited funding in the past. (The Guardian)


TEFAF New York Spring Releases Exhibitor List – The second edition of the Modern and contemporary art fair in New York will include 90 exhibitors, 24 of which are newcomers to this year’s edition. The event takes place at the Park Avenue Armory from May 4 to 8. (Press release)

Steve Lazarides Opens New Gallery in London – The street art dealer credited with making Banksy famous is opening a 4,000-square-foot space on London’s tony Sackville Street this month. It will launch with a solo exhibition by the artist JR, who will also create a new “Giant” installation for the exterior of the Mayfair gallery, called Lazinc. (Financial Times

NADA New York Announces Exhibitors – The New Art Dealers Alliance will return to Skylight Clarkson Square for the annual fair’s second edition in the space, from March 8 to 12. Thirty-four new exhibitors are included among the 100 participating galleries. (ARTnews)


Wolfgang Tillmans Awarded Goslar Prize – The German photographer joins the ranks of previous winners including Isa Genzken and Sigmar Polke in receiving the “Kaiser Ring” prize from the medieval German city of Goslar. He will be presented with the gold ring at a ceremony in September and open an exhibition at the Mönchehaus Museum. (dpa)

New Arts District Coming to Yorkshire – The Sheffield-based engineering firm Arup plans to transform a 1950s Brutalist block of housing projects into a £21 million ($28.4 million) art center in a bid to boost the region’s profile as a cultural destination. (Yorkshire Post)

Louvre Begins Work on Storage Facility – The French minister for culture, Françoise Nyssen, and other officials broke ground in December on the Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners storage facility for the Louvre in Liévin, northern France. The project is earmarked for completion in summer 2019. (Press release)

FIT Appoints New Directors – Six new directors have been brought on board at the Fashion Institute of Technology Foundation in New York. Geoffrey Greenberg, Douglas Hand, Megan Salt, Robert Stock, Nadja Swarovski, and Jerry Vittoria will each serve a three-year term. (WWD)


LACMA Teams Up With the Autry Museum – The Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Autry Museum of the American West have announced a new partnership. The two museums will treat their collections “as one,” says LACMA director Michael Govan, who will reveal more details tomorrow. (Artforum)

Wood-Smashing Robot Comes to Chelsea – The new show from artist Mark Pauline, who works under the name Survival Research Laboratories, features Pitching Machine, which fires wooden planks up to 200 miles per hour in a bulletproof vessel. Marlborough Contemporary director Pascal Spengemann calls the spectacle “operatic.” (NYT)

Rijksmuseum to Debut Rembrandt Wedding Portraits – Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum will unveil Rembrandt’s double, full-length wedding portrait of Marten Soolmans and Oopjen Coppit (1634), which the Dutch institution jointly purchased with the Louvre, as part of the exhibition “High Society,” opening in March. (Press release)

Rembrandt van Rijn, Portrait of Marten Soolmans (1634). Purchased by the Kingdom of the Netherlands for the Rijksmuseum.

Rembrandt van Rijn,Portrait of Oopjen Coppit (1634). Purchased by the Republic of France for the Musée du Louvre.



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