Art Industry News: Curators Assess the Damage to Art in the US Capitol After This Week’s Pro-Trump Mob + Other Stories

Plus, Damien Hirst puts his art on ice in Switzerland and technology is revolutionizing art authentication.

Supporters of US President Donald Trump sit inside the office of US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi as the protest inside the US Capitol in Washington, DC, January 6, 2021. Photo by Saul Loeb/AFP 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 Friday, January 8.


Artists React to the Riots in DC – Artists including Dread Scott, Glenn Ligon, and Marilyn Minter were among the many public figures condemning the pro-Trump rioters who stormed the US Capitol on Wednesday afternoon. Photographs from inside the august building showed chaos and destruction with nary an arrest in view, and many artists compared the surreal images to those at Black Lives Matter protests, where peaceful demonstrators were often maced, kettled, and thrown to the ground. (The Art Newspaper)

Artist’s Display of a Blood-Stained White House Postponed – Plans to show a work by the provocative Russian artist Andrei Molodkin have been called off after the riot on Capitol Hill this week. An image of one of his sculptures, in which a model of the White House is flooded with blood donated by US citizens in France, was to be projected onto the facade of a theater in DC, but its local organizer, CulturalDC, decided that the timing was wrong. (Hyperallergic)

Most Treasured Art in the US Capitol Emerges Unscathed  The US Capitol building is home to numerous precious works of art, including John Trumbull’s painting Declaration of Independence and a bronze bust of Martin Luther King Jr. Because much of it is on display, it was left vulnerable to the pro-Trump mob that invaded the building on Wednesday. Damage assessments from the government and police have not yet been released, but early assessments suggest that the major works of art remain unscathed. The building’s historic windows and doors were broken, however, furniture was damaged and stolen, and one marble bust was smeared with what appeared to be blood. (New York Times)

How Tech Is Revolutionizing Art Authentication – The increasing availability of powerful tech to examine art has excelled in recent years, bolstering the traditional authentication process of a scholarly panel. A show on view until February at the Museum Ludwig in Cologne examined its Russian avant-garde collection using electron microscopy and x-ray techniques and found that 22 of the 49 works it studied had incorrect attributions. (Economist)


Miles McEnery Gallery Adds to Roster – The New Jersey-based painter Douglas Melini is joining the New York gallery. Melini’s hard-edged works are richly colored studies of geometry that aim to challenge conventional notions of image-making. (Press release)

Asian Art Selling Surprisingly Well in Paris – Paris’s Asia Week was scaled down this year due to the pandemic, but auction houses largely performed better than expected. Christie’s and Sotheby’s collectively sold art worth €14.5 million, while their combined high estimate was just €6.8 million.

A Sale of Nazi Objects Gets Called Off – An auction in Soissons, France, set to take place this Saturday was put on hold because it planned to offer items from the Nazi era—and now it has been completely cancelled. The planned sale included busts of Hitler and Nazi armbands, and had been met with protest from the National Bureau of Vigilance Against Antisemitism and the Representative Council of Jewish Institutions in France. (Le Journal des Arts)


Joan Mitchell Foundation Adds to Board – Jim Coddington, the recently retired chief conservator at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, has joined the Joan Mitchell Foundation’s board of directors. Coddington previously served as an advisor to the foundation’s legacy committee, and signed on for a three-year term. (Press release)

Everson Museum Acquires Contemporary Works – The museum in Syracuse, New York—which made headlines when it sold a Jackson Pollock at auction last year for $13 million to fund new acquisitions of work by women and artists of color—has started to spend its windfall. New buys include works by Shinique Smith, Sharif Bey, Ellen Blalock, Ellen Lesperance, and others. (Press release) (ARTnews)

Victori + Mo Changes Its Name – The Chelsea gallery established by Celine Mo and Ed Victori in 2015 is changing its name to Dinner Gallery. “Dinner brings people together, it can forge friendships, bond relationships, and compel open conversation,” the co-founders said in a statement. (ARTnews)


A Controversial Billboard Arrives in LA – A billboard that depicts artist Don Perlis’s image of George Floyd’s death has been erected on La Cienega Boulevard in West Hollywood. The sign—the work of a group called the George Floyd Billboard Committee—was previously erected in New York, but rejected by billboard companies in Minneapolis, where Floyd was killed. (Los Angeles Times)

Darren Walker’s Take on Storming of the Capitol – In a public letter published yesterday, the president of the Ford Foundation makes an impassioned plea for the preservation of democracy, calling it “the greatest threat to the ideology of white supremacy.” He goes on to write that “neither can long endure in the presence of the other. That is why today—and every day—we must renew our commitment to protect our democratic values and institutions from all enemies, foreign and domestic, especially those falsely disguised as patriots.” (Ford Foundation)

Damien Hirst Is Putting Art on Ice in Switzerland – Titled “Mental Escapology,” Damien Hirst’s new show in Switzerland opens across four locations in St. Moritz on January 23. The artist’s first major public exhibition in the country, it comprises more than 40 works, including a large public sculpture, the 12-foot-tall The Monk, which is installed on a frozen lake. (Press release)

Damien Hirst's The Monk, Lake St. Moritz, 2020. Photographed by Felix Friedmann ©Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS 2021

Damien Hirst’s The Monk, Lake St. Moritz, 2020. Photographed by Felix Friedmann ©Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS 202.

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