Art Industry News: Michael Arad Reveals His Design for a Memorial to the Charleston Church Massacre + Other Stories

Plus, documenta will appoint a new artistic director early next year and Donald Trump has not awarded any presidential arts medals yet.

A man stops to observe the makeshift memorial in front of Mother Emanuel AME Church in downtown Charleston, South Carolina on January 4, 2017. Photo by Logan Cyrus/AFP/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, July 16.


Rothko Chapel Hosts Family Separation Program – The Rothko Chapel in Houston, Texas, is kicking off a week of events focusing on immigration and family separation as well as to raise awareness about why people from Central America cross the southern border to seek refuge in the US. Speakers include people who offer legal services to immigrants and non-profits concerned at the criminalization of refugees and migrants. (Glasstire)

Why Has Trump Not Yet Awarded Any Arts Medals? – For decades, presidents have awarded America’s greatest artists and cultural figures with the National Medal of Arts. But President Trump has not given out the order in the 22 months since he took office—the longest gap ever and a pointed illustration of his rocky relationship with the arts and culture. The 16 members of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities resigned over Trump’s response to last year’s violent far-right protests in Charlottesville. The agencies involved in nominating candidates referred questions to the White House, where a spokeswoman says that planning is “underway.” (NYT)

Memorial Planned for Charleston Church Massacre – The architect Michael Arad has unveiled his design for a memorial to commemorate the nine victims and five survivors of the brutal shooting at the Emanuel African Memorial Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, in 2015. The memorial and garden, located in the church’s former parking lot, includes high-backed, white marble seating surrounding a fountain on which the names of the slain members will be inscribed. Now, organizers are launching a campaign to raise the $15 million to $20 million needed to make the project a reality. (New York Times)

documenta Plans to Announce Artistic Director in 2019 – The embattled contemporary art quinquennial has recruited a top-notch selection committee to appoint its next artistic director. Members include Gabi Ngcobo, the curator of the Berlin Biennale, Frances Morris, the director of Tate Modern, Charles Esche, the director of the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven, and Jochen Volz, the director of the Pinacoteca do Estado de Sao Paulo. The committee is expected to nominate a candidate to lead documenta’s 15th edition by early 2019. (The Art Newspaper)



Online 1stdibs Will Open a Manhattan Showroom – The 17-year-old online marketplace, which offers antique and modern furniture, jewelry, fashion, and art, plans to open its first brick-and-mortar space in the Terminal Stores building in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood. The 44,000-square-foot facility, due to open in January 2019, will have room for 50 dealers, special events, and exhibitions. (Press release)

How Feminism Is Changing the Art Market – The National Gallery in London’s purchase of Artemisia Gentileschi’s Self Portrait as St. Catherine of Alexandria for around $4.8 million was a coup for the London-based dealers Marco Voena and Fabrizio Moretti. They had bought the newly discovered painting less than a year earlier at a Paris auction for about $2.8 million. The female Renaissance artist created “a picture of a heroine, the sort of image you see on Instagram,” Voena said. “The taste of the [male] connoisseur is over.” (NYT)

Christie’s Unveils Online Summer Season – The auction house launched a series of lower-priced, online-only sales on July 9. “Contemporary Edition,” featuring prints and multiples by artists including Roy Lichtenstein and Ed Ruscha, is open until July 17. “First Open,” which runs through July 18, includes work by Damien Hirst, George Condo, and KAWS. Lastly, a selection of photographs from the Museum of Modern Art includes work by Ansel Adams, Ilse Bing, and Henri Cartier-Bresson and is open through July 19. (Art Daily)

Replica Guillotine Auctioned Off in Paris – A mid-19th century replica of the former official French guillotine brought in €8,008 ($9,387) at a Drouot sale liquidating the assets of the now-shuttered Parisian jazz club the Caveau des Oubliettes. Some objected to the sale of the instrument for beheading; it was ultimately purchased by collector Christophe Février,  who specializes in “unusual objects.” (Le Journal des Arts)


The V&A Ramps Up UK Loan Program – The V&A’s director Tristram Hunt worries that creativity is being neglected by state-funded schools and has therefore agreed to lend treasures from the museum’s collection to regions throughout the UK. He hopes the initiative will inspire children to pursue careers in design and the arts, which he fears are becoming jobs “only for the posh.” (Times)

Louvre Names New General Manager – Maxence Langlois-Berthelot took up position, which involves management of the museum’s budget and administration, on July 13. He succeeds Karim Mouttalib in the role. (Le Journal des Arts)

Cologne Museum Repatriates a Maori Skull – The mayor of Cologne has returned a mummified Maori skull from the city’s Museum of World Cultures to the delegation of New Zealand’s national Te Papa Tongarewa Museum as part of a 15-year commitment to the restitution of human remains taken from the indigenous population during the 19th century. The tattooed skull will be displayed in a room of “silence and dignity” in the Wellington institution. (Monopol)

The Hermitage Is Lending Works to an Italian Bank – The Saint Petersburg museum’s director Mikhail Piotrovsky has signed a three-year agreement with the Intesa Sanpaolo bank to loan work and collaborate on scholarship and research programs. The Hermitage plans to lend a work by Caspar David Friedrich for a show on Romanticism this fall, and in turn, the Italian bank will help fund exhibitions of Italian art in Russia. (Le Journal des Arts)


Boots Riley Cites Ben Davis – Artist and organizer Boots Riley’s sci-fi political satire Sorry to Bother You is in theaters now after winning him Sundance Institute’s Vanguard Award earlier this year. In a long interview, Riley mentions the inspiration he takes from the 2013 book 9.5 Theses on Art and Class by artnet News’s very own Ben Davis, about the pitfalls of art’s relationships to social movements. (Vox)

What Happens When a Conservative Visits the Whitney? – The National Review dubs the Whitney’s exhibition “An Incomplete History of Protest” a “fascinating combination of leftism and bad taste.” The writer takes issue with the show’s inclusion of photographs from anti-Vietnam War protests, posters addressing the AIDS crisis that depict genitalia, and work by the Guerrilla Girls, arguing that such imagery amounts to coercive propaganda. Nobody tell him about the David Wojnarowicz show! (National Review)

What Can America Learn From Canada’s Approach to Indigenous Artists? – The Art Gallery of Ontario made waves by renaming a painting by the Canadian artist Emily Carroriginally titled Indian Church, as Church in Yuquot Village. The move has received a mixed response, with some—such as First Nations artist Robert Houle—dismissing it as unnecessary political correctness. Regardless, the move has sparked nationwide conversation, as Canada is becoming a leading voice for museums dealing with Indigenous topics. (NYT)

See an Artist Turn Pompeii Technicolor – Newcastle University has teamed up with artist Catrin Huber to install contemporary art at the World Heritage Sites of Pompeii and Herculaneum. See highlights from her project, titled “Expanded Interiors” and funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, below. (Guardian)

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