Art Industry News: Italian Museums Are Using High-Tech Spy Cameras to Figure Out Which Artworks Visitors Actually Like + Other Stories
Plus, CB2 apologizes for using a Glenn Ligon poster in a window display, and England's museums are keeping health restrictions firmly in place.
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 Tuesday, July 20.
Pope.L Reflects on a Changing Art World – Ahead of his first U.K. retrospective in recent memory at the commercial gallery Modern Art in London, American artist Pope.L reflects on the complexities of art institutions that are now making up for decades of excluding the work of Black artists. “Is an institution doing it for Black folk or is it doing it for themselves?” he asks. “Well, that’s an interesting question. Am I being complicit in these problems if I agree to collaborate with them?” (Guardian)
England’s Museums Will Keep COVID Restrictions in Place – Despite the arrival of the U.K.’s so-called “freedom day,” where pandemic restrictions could be lifted, many museums are opting to keep them in place to ensure safe viewing experiences. Cases are skyrocketing in Britain, with 50,000 new ones reported yesterday. As a result, the National Gallery, the British Museum, and Tate galleries are among those who will keep the current admission caps and masking rules in place. (TAN)
Italian Museum Uses Machines to Measure Interest in Art – A museum in Italy is employing cutting-edge cameras to measure how long people stand in front of paintings and how close they get to them as a proxy for gauging public interest. Data collected from the creepy-sounding system, developed by the company ENEA, may inform the lighting, hanging, and selection of pieces at various museums around the country following its pilot run at Istituzione Bologna Musei. (Egadget)
Frieze’s CEO Shares His Vision – Art is not a major passion for Simon Fox, the new chief executive of the publishing and art fair group Frieze. But the former CEO of the music and books business HMV Group and Reach, the UK commercial news publisher, understands how to tackle a business facing digital revolution. He says that unlike his former areas of focus, art requires in-person experiences, which need to be “better and more experiential each time.” (Financial Times)
MOVERS & SHAKERS
Italy Strengthens Case Over Disputed Statue – A newly passed resolution might help Italy in its quest to retrieve an ancient Greek bronze known as Victorious Youth from the Getty Museum. The resolution specifies that a small group of district magistrates trained in cultural heritage law will be assigned to restitution cases “to allow for greater specialization.” Some say the move will help Italy in its decade-plus-long legal battle over the object. (The Art Newspaper)
Artwork Targeting U.K. Government Censored – Australian artist Gabriella Hirst (no relation, we presume) has accused a group of Conservative party councillors of censoring her artwork critical of Britain’s history of colonialism and ties to nuclear weapons. Her installation, An English Garden, which comprises benches and flowerbeds planted with a rose called the Atomic Bomb rose, was removed from a park in Essex. (Guardian)
Museum of Chinese in America Director Called to Resign – Protesters are calling for the resignation of the Museum of Chinese in America’s director Nancy Yao Maasbach. Members of New York’s Chinatown community have accused Maasbach of “blatant racist and ageist insults” directed at seniors in the area. Many have also taken issue with the museum’s acceptance of a $35 million package tied to a plan to build jails nearby. (Hyperallergic)
FOR ART’S SAKE
Glenn Ligon Surprised to See His Work at CB2 – Artist Glenn Ligon was not particularly happy to see the home-goods store CB2 using a print of his work about race in America to hawk a lamp and side table in a window display. After he posted about it on Instagram, a rep for the store reached out and apologized, letting him know the merchant was a misguided fan. Ligon said he felt bad for blasting them publicly—but perhaps all is well that ends with a more respectful display! (Instagram)
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