Art Industry News: Angry Trump Supporters Want the Secret Service to Investigate a Portland Gallery + Other Stories

Plus, the Venice Biennale's new title sparks backlash from China and David Bowie's curator weighs in on his artistic legacy.

MAGA hat, screenshot via Amazon.

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 Wednesday, July 18.


Graffiti Artist Sues GM for Stealing His Art – Cadillac used a commissioned mural on the exterior a Detroit parking garage by the Swiss graffiti artist Adrian Falkner (aka Smash 137) in ad campaign called the “Art of the Drive” in 2016. Now, Falkner is suing General Motors for copyright infringement in a lawsuit that could set an important precedent by laying out the rights commanded by commissioned and unauthorized graffiti. GM argues that the law that does not offer protections to images of “architectural works.” (New York Times)

Grayson Perry’s Plan for Affordable Housing Approved  Residents will pay just 65 percent of the market rent for apartments in a new affordable housing project backed by artist Grayson Perry in Barking, London. Twelve artists will live in the new complex called, appropriately, “A House for Artists.” In turn for their reduced cost of living, they will creatively give back to the community. They are due to move in by November 2019. (Homes and Property)

Oregon Gallery Removes Beheaded Trump Poster – One Grand Gallery in Portland has taken down a poster of Donald Trump being beheaded from its front window after it received a wave of threats and backlash. The work was part of an exhibition at the gallery featuring contributions from nearly three dozen artists called “Fuck You Mr. President.” Angry Trump supporters online have suggested that the Secret Service get involved. (Business Insider, Fox 12)

Venice Biennale Title Sparks Backlash – Ralph Rugoff is facing criticism for the recently-announced title of his Venice Biennale exhibition, “May You Live in Interesting Times.” The director of the Para Site art center in Hong Kong has criticized the curator for referring to the phrase as “an ancient Chinese curse” in official literature, when in fact it is a “European Orientalist fantasy.” Although Rugoff acknowledges that the phrase was falsely attributed to ancient China by Western politicians, he says it has had a real rhetorical effect throughout history. (South China Morning Post)


Sotheby’s Settles Disputed Bronze Case – The auction house and collector Sultan Sooud Al-Qassemi have reached a confidential settlement in the dispute over a posthumous cast of Au Bord du Nil, a bronze sculpture by the Egyptian artist Mahmoud Mokhtar. Al-Qassemi bought the work for £725,000 ($945,599), thinking it had been cast during the artist’s lifetime. He asked for a refund after research raised doubts about its casting date and it emerged that the consignor might have a conflict of interest. Neither party has admitted wrongdoing or liability. (Telegraph)

Kodak’s Bitcoin Gambit Collapses – Spotlight USA, the tech company behind Kodak’s cryptocurrency-mining scheme Kodak KashMiners, folded its operation after it was widely criticized as a scam and blocked by the SEC. Despite the scandal, the price of bitcoin has remained stable. (Forbes)

Pre-Raphaelite Beauties Are Back in Demand – British taste in Victorian art dipped in the 2000s, but recently there’s been a surge of interest in the Pre-Raphaelites evinced by last year’s six-figure record prices for work by Edward Robert Hughes and James Smetham. At Sotheby’s and Christie’s last week, many different buyers scooped up a flurry of work by Simeon Solomon. (Telegraph)

Pace Hong Kong Nabs Gagosian Gallerist – Whitney Ferrare will begin her new role as senior director in September. Canadian-born Ferrare was raised in Hong Kong and previously worked in sales at Gagosian’s Hong Kong gallery. Before that, she worked in the Asian contemporary and 20th-century art department at Christie’s Hong Kong. (Press release)


Warhol Foundation Awards Latest Fellowships – The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts has handed out $295,000 in curatorial research fellowships to six curators from the US and Canada, including Eric Crosby of the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh and Pavel Pyś of the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. They will tackle subjects such as income inequality, representations of resistance, and a non-Western history of postwar abstraction. (ARTnews)

Europe’s Oldest Art Festival Announces Program – Europe’s oldest interdisciplinary contemporary art festival kicks off in September in the Austrian city of Graz. For the first time, a non-EU and non-German curator is taking the reins. The Russian curator Ekaterina Degot will present the work of some 35 artists, performers, thinkers, including American ex-comedian turned artist Michael Portnoy and the performance group Bread & Puppet Theater, for the polyphonically titled “Volksfronten” (“Peoples’ Fronts”). (Press release)

Creative Time Summit Heads to Miami – The New York nonprofit’s summit, this year titled “On Archipelagos and Other Imaginaries—Collective Strategies to Inhabit the World,” will take place for the first time in Florida from November 1 to 3. Figures including historian Vijay Prashad and artist collective Slavs and Tatars will explore topics including international migration, queer culture, and ecological disaster. (ARTnews)

Baltimore Gets a Homeless Jesus Sculpture  Canadian artist Timothy Schmalz has unveiled the latest iteration of his Homeless Jesus, a bronze public work that depicts a sleeping figure covered in a blanket with holes in his feet. There are more than 60 versions of the work on public view worldwide in cities including Chicago, Toronto, Dublin, Rome, and Sydney. (Baltimore FishBowl)


Royal Academy Plans Bill Viola and Michelangelo Spectacular The RA’s first major video art show comes with a novel twist—12 works by Viola will be shown alongside 15 works by the Renaissance master. The odd but epic pairing is not intended to suggest Viola is a modern-day Michelangelo, according to the show’s curator, but rather to consider both artists’ treatment of fundamental questions surrounding life and meaning. (Guardian)

David Bowie’s Curator on His Artistic Legacy – The art dealer, consultant, and curator Beth Greenacre reflects on the ethos of the music legend, with whom she developed a vast collection of Modern British painting and sculpture, African art, Surrealism, and Outsider art over 17 years. Bowie foresaw the rise of an online audience for art, launching Bowie Art with Greenacre in 2000 to support young and emerging artists. “David approached all art forms equally. He did not differentiate between media, or disciplines, and that is one of the many things that made him such a special artist,” Greenacre says. (AnOther)

Civil Liberties Groups Call for Flag Art to Be Restored  Three civil liberties groups are calling for the return of Josephine Meckseper’s artistic take on the American flag, which was removed last week amid public outcry. The flag is the last work in Creative Time’s year-long projectPledges of Allegiance.” After local officials called the stained flag “beyond disrespectful,” the University of Kansas took it down and opted to display it indoors instead. (Lawrence Journal-World)

Revamped Cluny Museum Reopens – Following a four-month closure, France’s national museum of the Middle Ages in Paris has reopened with better accessibility for visitors with disabilities, among other updates. Half of the €7.6 million revamp was supported by loan fees the museum received from the Emirati government for works it sent to the Louvre Abu Dhabi. (TAN)

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