Art Industry News: In a Turnaround, Trump Says He Will ‘Obey the Law’ and Not Bomb Iranian Art Sites + Other Stories

Plus, how luxury goods may take over the art auction business and Santiago Calatrava resumes construction on his World Trade Center church.

US President Donald Trump speaks to members of the media. Photo by Alex Wong/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 8.


Santiago Calatrava’s Church Begins Construction at the World Trade Center – After a three-year delay due to financial concerns, construction will resume on a Greek Orthodox church at the site of the World Trade Center in New York. The original church was destroyed during 9/11. Its replacement is being designed by architect Santiago Calatrava and funded by a nonprofit organization, the Friends of St. Nicholas. It is slated to be complete within two years, in time for the 20th anniversary of the attacks on September 11, 2021. (Designboom)

The Untold Story of Art’s Greatest Model – You might recognize the 19th-century model Elizabeth “Lizzie” Siddal from paintings by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, John Everett Millais’s Ophelia, and other Pre-Raphaelite masterpieces. Now, she is getting attention in her own right as part of the National Portrait Gallery’s exhibition, “Pre-Raphaelite Sisters,” dedicated to the female artists, models, and writers who were also a part of the movement. While Lizzie began as a model, she also became a painter and a poet after she was thrust from her hat-making day job into the artistic milieu. But her story is tragic: She ended up marrying a serially unfaithful Rossetti, became addicted to laudanum, had a stillbirth, and died by suicide. (BBC)

Trump Walks Back His Threat to Bomb Iran’s Heritage – The US president has tentatively walked back his provocative statements about bombing Iran’s cultural heritage sites. He softened his earlier statements on Tuesday, telling reporters: “They are allowed to kill our people. They are allowed to maim our people. They are allowed to blow up everything that we have, and there’s nothing that stops them. And we are, according to various laws, supposed to be very careful with their cultural heritage. And you know what, if that’s what the law is, I like to obey the law.” The mollification comes after his controversial statements prompted international outrage from politicians, museum directors, and academics, and after Pentagon officials earlier in the day told reporters that the US government will work “inside the international laws of war.” (The Art Newspaper)

Will the He Art Museum Change China’s Art Scene? – The He Art Museum, which is set to open in March 2020, is trying a novel approach. Named after founder, collector, and electrical appliance heir He Jianfeng, the new museum in Foshan will focus on the 20th-century Lingnan painting from the surrounding region, as well as shows by international contemporary artists including Alexander Calder, Pablo Picasso, and Anish Kapoor. (ARTnews)


How Will the Art Market Change in 2020? – As the market for fine art and antiques shrinks, experts are predicting that 2020 will see a shift in the way auction houses do business, with the help of digital technology and a focus on the market for luxury goods, including fashion. Perhaps inspired by Christie’s online-only auctions of designer goods, which have seen tremendous success in Asia, Sotheby’s is restructuring to create two global auction divisions: “Fine Arts” and “Luxury, Art and Objects,” which new CEO Charles Stewart stresses will be as important as art. (TAN)

Spinello Projects Adds 9 Artists – The Miami gallery with an eye for emerging artists has added nine to its roster, including Eddie Arroyo (best known for his inclusion in—and temporary withdrawal from—last year’s Whitney Biennial) and Juana Valdes, whose work has been included in exhibitions at the Pérez Art Museum Miami, El Museo del Barrio, and MoMa PS1. (Press release)


Hoor Al Qasimi Names Artists for the Lahore Biennale – More than 70 artists will participate in the second edition of the Lahore Biennale in Pakistan between January 26 and February 29. Hoor Al Qasimi, the director of the Sharjah Art Foundation and the biennial’s curator, has selected artists including Kader Attia, Barbara Walker, and John Akomfrah, most of whom focus on the global south in their work. (Artforum)

The Sculptor Bob Wade Had Died – The artist nicknamed “Daddy O,” who was known for her large-scale sculptures— including an outsize Iguana named “Iggy” that stood atop the Lone Star Cafe in Manhattan—died on December 24 in Texas at the age of 76. (NYT)

Remembering Brazilian Artist Wanda Pimentel – The Rio de Janeiro-based Pop art painter died on December 23 at the age of 76. A prominent figure in a spate of exhibitions that focused on the international Pop art movement in recent years, she was best known for her Constructivist-inflected paintings of geometric interiors. (Artforum)

Philippine Artist Gabriel Barredo Has Died – The Manila-based installation artist has died at the age of 62. Barredo created large, kinetic works from found objects that often addressed existential themes around mortality. (Art Asia Pacific)


The English Coast Gets Another Gormley Sculpture – New works by British sculptor Antony Gormley and Portuguese artist Leonor Antunes will be part of the inaugural commissions at the Box, a new £40 million ($53 million) museum in Plymouth, UK, that opens this spring. Gormley’s planned LOOK II will consist of 22 cast-iron blocks that resemble an abstracted human figure. (Guardian)

The Prado Breaks Its Attendance Record – The Prado Museum in Madrid recorded 3.2 million visitors in 2019, the highest number in its history. Its program last year, which was also its bicentenary, included a show on Alberto Giacometti and a blockbuster presentation comparing the work of Rembrandt and Velázquez. (Diario Vasco)

Giant Seesaws Crop Up in NYC’s Garment District – The new installation, called Impulse, consists of 12 large seesaws that glow and make sounds when someone hops on one end of them. The traveling work was first created in 2016 by Lateral Office and CS Design. (Colossal)

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