Art Industry News: Why Most Museums Will Probably End Up Keeping the Sackler Name on Their Walls + Other Stories

Plus, Wim Delvoye says the had to censor his work more at the Louvre than in Tehran and Murakami teams up with the Chicago Cubs.

Nan Goldin speaking at the protest outside the Louvre. Photo courtesy Sackler P.A.I.N.

Art Industry News is normally 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 Friday, July 19.


Murakami Is Teaming Up With the Chicago Cubs – The Japanese artist is collaborating for the first time with a sports team. Murakami is due to launch a special collection of Chicago Cubs merch at Wrigley Field today. Jackets, hoodies, and other apparel are emblazoned with a Murakami-designed Manga version of the Cubs’s famous bear. Murakami says that the collaboration is an opportunity for youth and politics to connect. “I hear that Chicago is a politically active and happening place,” he says. (Complex) 

The Turkish Activist Artist Zehra Doğan Is Detained in Berlin – The artist was detained in Berlin on Saturday along with fellow activists for staging a protest at the Pergamon Museum. The demonstration was the latest in a series of performances by the artists, including one at the Louvre in Paris, to draw attention to the flooding of the ancient site of Hasankeyf in Turkey due to the construction of the controversial Ilisu Dam. Doğan and fellow artists Juan Golan Eliberg, Aurélie Gerardin, and Thomas Lamouroux were taken into custody following the protest and released that evening; they have also been banned from the museum for 99 years. Until February of this year, Doğan spent two years in prison in Turkey, having been accused of circulating terrorist images that were, in fact, pictures of her art about the plight of the Kurdish people. (Artforum

Why Most Sackler Funded Museums Won’t Follow the Louvre – The Louvre might have become the first major museum to remove the Sackler name from its walls, but it is unlikely that its peers will follow its example, according to the New York Times. There might be contractual obligations to keep a donor’s name on the wall, which were cited by the Smithsonian’s new chief, Lonnie Bunch. (The Louvre said its 20-year deal with the Sacklers had expired.) In other cases, institutions might have to compensate the family to rename their wings and galleries. Also, not all the Sackler family members are linked to the opioid crisis. Tom Eccles, the director of the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College, thinks museum will gauge the level of public outrage “before taking the drastic step of taking someone’s name off a building.” (New York Times)

Wim Delvoye Says He Self-Censored More at the Louvre Than in Tehran – The provocative Belgian artist says he self-censored his work in Tehran—where his retrospective at the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art in 2016 marked the first time since the revolution that work by a non-Iranian artist was shown in the country—less than he did at the Louvre. The Paris museum, where he had a show in 2012, would not let Delvoye show his signature tattooed pigs, he notes. He says had to “halal-ize” his work less at the Tehran museum, which specifically requested his twisted Jesus sculptures and allowed him to display photographs of pork cold cuts twisted into mosaic designs. The artist is currently restoring four 18th-century palaces in the Iranian city of Kashan with the goal of transforming them into a kunsthalle for contemporary art. (Art Asia Pacific)


Details of Sotheby’s Deal Revealed – Nine parties were also interested in buying Sotheby’s before the French billionaire media tycoon Patrick Drahi acquired it in June, new documents filed with the SEC reveal. The filings also show that if Drahi’s company breached its contractual obligations in the deal, it would be liable for damages of up to $1.9 billion. (Financial Times)

Phillips Hires New Director in Europe – Phillips has appointed Olivia Thornton, a former senior director of contemporary art at Sotheby’s, to lead its 20th century and contemporary art department in Europe. During her time at Sotheby’s, Thornton helped secure major sales including Damien Hirst’s 2008 “Beautiful Inside My Head Forever” auction. She will be based in London. (The Art Newspaper)

Exhibitor List for NADA Chicago Invitational Released – The New Art Dealers Alliance has announced the 35 dealers who will take part in the inaugural edition of the art fair, which will be held at the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel from September 18 to 21. They include Altman Siegel of San Francisco, Martos Gallery of New York, and a number of well-regarded Chicago galleries, including Shane Campbell and PATRON. (ARTnews)


David Smith Estate Names a New Executive Director – Jennifer Field has been tapped to lead David Smith’s estate, which is due to publish a catalogue raisonné for the sculptor in the fall of 2020. She most recently served as director of exhibitions and head of research at Di Donna Galleries in New York. (ARTnews)

Tobias Ostrander Steps Down as Chief Curator at PAMM – Ostrander, who has been the chief curator at the Pérez Art Museum Miami since 2011, is stepping down to explore new opportunities. Ostrander, who organized shows dedicated to Ebony G. Patterson, Meiro Koizumi, and Beatriz González, among others, told the Miami Herald that he was leaving “with a great sense of accomplishment.” (Artforum)

Museum of Underwater Art Will Open at the Great Barrier Reef – The British sculptor and environmentalist Jason deCaires Taylor is creating an underwater art museum off the coast of Queensland at the Great Barrier Reef. The first submerged work is due to be unveiled in December. He has previously created underwater sculpture parks off Cancún, Lanzarote, and the Bahamas. (Guardian)


Alfredo Jaar Creates a Journey to Heaven and Hell in Tasmania – The $18 million extension to David Walsh’s Museum of Old and New Art in Tasmania will include monumental new works by artists Ai Weiwei, Oliver Beer, and Alfredo Jaar. The Chilean-born artist has created an underground installation called The Divine Comedy, inspired by Dante’s epic poem about heaven and hell. Visitors will experience fire and flood and pass through Purgatory, which includes a film by Joan Jonas, before emerging into Paradise. (The Art Newspaper)

A Fluffy Museum Visitor Goes Viral – Staff at the Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport, Maine, took to social media when a white, fluffy visitor turned up unannounced on its front lawn. It turned out the curious critter was a rare albino porcupine whose quills had not yet hardened. The transport museum is now asking people to suggest names for the ball of fluff. Tribble, Trolley, and Herb (after the volunteer who got up close to photograph the visitor) are on the list. (Portland Press Herald)

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