Art Industry News: A Spanish Dealer Claims to Have Recovered a Frida Kahlo Masterpiece That Vanished 60 Years Ago + Other Stories

Plus, organizers postpone the São Paulo Biennial's central exhibition to 2021 and the consignor of that record-setting Matthew Wong is revealed.

Nickolas Muray, Frida on a White Bench (1939). Photo courtesy of the Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection of 20th Century Mexican Art and the Vergel Foundation, ©Nickolas Muray Photo Archives.

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 Thursday, July 2.


Mississippi Officially Retires State Flag The last state flag in the country emblazoned with the Confederate battle emblem has come down. After 126 years flying over the state Capitol, lawmakers passed a bill on Sunday to remove it. The flag was delivered to former Supreme Court Justice Reuben Anderson at the Museum of Mississippi History and Mississippi Civil Rights Museum, where it will be the focal point of a future exhibition. Anderson called the flag’s removal “the thrill of my lifetime” and said it is now “an artifact, and where it should be is in a history museum.” A commission will be formed to propose a new flag design, which citizens will vote on in November. (Mississippi Today)

Virginia Mayor Removes Confederate Statues – Although members of the city council had not yet officially voted to remove Confederate statues in Richmond, Virginia, mayor Levar Stoney decided not to wait. He went ahead and began to take down monuments to four Confederate leaders in the former capital of the Confederacy along Monument Avenue on Wednesday. While the statues had remained in place in part due to a law that put them under state control, a new law went into effect yesterday that transferred that power to the city. (Courthouse News)

Spanish Dealer Claims to Have Found Long-Lost Frida Kahlo – A Spanish dealer claims that he has found a long-lost 1940 work by Frida Kahlo, The Wounded Table, which is now being stored in a London warehouse. The seller, Cristian López, is hoping to find a buyer who will pay more than $45 million for the sought-after work, which has been missing for more than six decades after disappearing following a show in Poland. However, scholars are not sure that the image the dealer produced as proof is enough to rely on; they say it more likely simply an image of a copy. (AP)

The UK’s Creative Scene Stands to Fall Behind – While theaters and cultural organizations receive around 10 percent of their income from ticket sales in France and Germany, those in London depend on them for as much as 50 percent of their revenue. That puts the UK at a distinct disadvantage over its European peers as the continent comes out of lockdown. The UK also has no specific plan laid out to help creative workers. unlike several of its neighbors. (New York Times)


Simone Leigh Charity Work Sells Out in One Day – Less than 24 hours after Hauser & Wirth released artist Simone Leigh’s new sculpture to benefit the racial justice nonprofit Color of Change, it had completely sold out. The artist’s limited-edition sculpture, titled Sentinel IV (2020), is a small bronze of an attenuated female form derived from a larger work of Leigh’s by the same name. The sale raised $650,000 for the organization.  (Press release)

Fair Warning Offers Up a David Hammons Body Print – Following the success of the exclusive app’s first sale, Christie’s veteran Loic Gouzer announced the sophomore lot on his new platform: David Hammons’s Untitled (1969), which Gouzer describes as an “a+ body print” (from his own collection, no less). The ghostly image, which Hammons creates by covering his own body in grease and pressing himself against a sheet of paper, is estimated at $500,000 to $700,000. (Instagram)

Hauser & Wirth Adds a New Space in Zurich – The gallery will open a new space in the Swiss city, its fourth gallery in Switzerland. The building was acquired two years ago for private viewings, but will open to the public beginning July 9. (Press release)

Consignor of the Record-Setting Matthew Wong Revealed – Many wondered about the identity of the consignor who sold a landscape painting at Sotheby’s on Monday for $1.6 million—6,700 percent more than it was bought for just two years ago at Karma gallery. The answer, according to the Canvas, is former Sotheby’s vice president Allan Schwartzman. More works by Matthew Wong—who died by suicide at 35 last year and made around 1,000 paintings during his short life—are headed to auction over the next few weeks. (The Canvas, Bloomberg


São Paulo Biennial Group Exhibition Postponed to 2021 The 34th edition of the biennial’s central group show has been pushed back a year, and will now run from September 4 through December 5, 2021. Because of the global health situation, organizers were forced to reconstitute the biennial; public programming began in February 2020, but was later halted. Since the group show, titled “Though it’s dark, still I sing,” will now take place in an odd-numbered year, the 35th edition will be in 2023 in keeping with the biennial format. (Press release)

Magnum Adds Five New Artists to Roster – Magnum Photos has announced the addition of five new nominees, five associates, and two new members, including Khalik Allah (USA), Colby Deal (USA), Sabiha Çimen (Turkey), Yael Martínez (Mexico), and Hannah Price (USA). The prestigious international photography co-operative has been criticized by some members of the photo community for a lack of diversity among its members. (Press release)


A Multimedia Exhibition Celebrating Grace Jones Is Coming to the UK A show celebrating the life, work, and influence of the multi-hyphenate artist is coming to Nottingham Contemporary this September. “Grace Before Jones: Camera, Disco Studio” will focus on the themes of Black image-making and feature works by Paul Mpagi Sepuya, designer Azzedine Alaia, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Andy Warhol, and Robert Mapplethorpe, among others. (i-D)

The British Museum Offers a Tour on Alibaba – The London museum is normally a popular destination for Chinese tourists. But while travel is restricted, the institution is finding a way to reach them (and hopefully keep them interested) by offering a behind-the-scenes tour via the e-commerce company Alibaba’s travel platform Fliggy. So far, 370,000 people have participated. “We wanted to find a new way to give prospective visitors a chance to experience” the institution with “VIP access,” says its commercial director. (Press release)

Philadelphia’s Arts Funding Gets Cut 40 Percent – As part of an effort to close an estimated $750 million gap in Philadelphia’s budget, the city council has approved a $5.84 million cut to citywide arts funding—a 40 percent reduction from last year. The city’s largest institutions were also hit: the Philadelphia Museum of Art had its funding cut by $510,000, to $2 million, deepening a shortfall that has led the museum to eliminate 100 positions. (New York Times)

St. Albans Cathedral to Install Last Supper Featuring a Black Jesus – One of the UK’s oldest cathedrals has hung a painting by British artist Lorna May Wadsworth, A Last Supper, in which Jesus is depicted as a Black man. The nine-foot-wide work will be on view above the church’s Altar of the Persecuted beginning on Saturday, when the building reopens to the public. (NBC)

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