Art Industry News: Billionaire Ronald Perelman Is Selling Off His Prize Miró and Matisse for Up to $50 Million + Other Stories
Plus, a museum group calls for the ouster of the DIA's director and the art collection of Picasso's biographer is heading to auction.
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 Wednesday, July 22.
Museum Group Calls for DIA Director’s Ouster – An anonymous group called DIA Staff Action took to social media on Monday to call for the Detroit Institute of Arts’s director Salvador Salort-Pons to “be removed from his role as director, president, and chief executive officer and any other involvement” at the museum by August 31. The group says a more detailed list of demands is forthcoming. The director is under fire for alleged ethics violations following the loan of a work by El Greco to the museum from his father-in-law. (Detroit News)
UK Charity Creates Black Lives Matter Charter – The London-based charity Culture& has created a Black Lives Matter charter for the UK’s heritage sector. Its recommendations for organizations committed to anti-racism include: decolonizing collections and imperial narratives around museum objects that were acquired through colonial aggression or with profits gleaned from the transatlantic trade in enslaved people by identifying their origins and deeper context; restituting objects taken without consent; and taking steps to ensure that staff at all levels reflects the diversity of the UK population. (Press release)
Inside the Yayoi Kusama Industrial Complex – The 91-year-old Japanese artist “delivers everything a 21st-century museum could ask for—art, experience, crowds, social-media likes, and money—in one sleek mirrored box,” writes Greg Allen in an engrossing account of the artist’s path to world domination. Auction houses have sold more than $550 million worth of work by Kusama in the past decade, and she shows no signs of slowing down. Her work perseveres in the pandemic era: When the Broad Los Angeles livestreamed one of her “Infinity Rooms,” more than 20,000 viewers joined the first session alone. Her largest retrospective in Europe yet, which begins at Gropius Bau, is due to open next April after a nine-month delay. (ARTnews)
Why Marc Quinn’s Statue Is Not Solidarity – The YBA artist Marc Quinn’s erection of a statue depicting Black Lives Matter protester Jen Reid last week in place of the toppled monument to slave trader Edward Colston was met with both praise and criticism. The gesture taken by a rich, white artist without consulting local communities or authorities was seen by some as a stunt. Critic Kadish Morris says that the statue, titled Surge of Power (Jen Reid), “represents a decade-long endeavor to posit Quinn at the helm of a historical turning point. Any historical turning point. There’s a sensitivity to the news cycle, and the power of virality—whether the sculpture remained or was pulled down, Quinn had already won the war of clicks.” (Art Review)
Ronald Perelman Is Selling Off His Collection – The billionaire tycoon, who last week said he planned to rework his investment empire, seems to be extending that review to his art collection. Bloomberg has unmasked Perelman as the seller of two paintings in Sotheby’s July 29 auction “From Rembrandt to Richter”: a Joan Miró and Henri Matisse that together are estimated to fetch as much as £42 million ($53.3 million). (Bloomberg)
Sotheby’s to Sell John Richardson’s Collection – Works owned by the esteemed art historian and Picasso biographer Sir John Richardson will be sold this fall at Sotheby’s in London and New York. Richardson, who died last year at 95, owned works by friends and subjects including Picasso, Lucian Freud, and Andy Warhol. Highlights include Freud’s Self-Portrait: Reflection, estimated to sell for between $70,000 to $100,000. (New York Times)
COMINGS & GOINGS
La Colonie to Close – Kader Attia’s independent cultural space in Paris, La Colonie (written with a strikethrough), is closing because the downstairs bar and café that funded its programming have been closed for too long due to the pandemic. The artist hopes to find another space to continue the project, which he says provided a “decolonial space for dialogue and exchange in real life.” (Artforum)
Frieze Sculpture Will Come to New York This Fall – The second edition of Frieze Sculpture in New York will go ahead in the fall despite the cancelation of the art fair’s physical edition this year. Site-specific sculptures by six renowned artists including Camille Henrot and Lena Henke will be installed at Rockefeller Center from September 1 through October 2. (Press release)
FOR ART’S SAKE
Matthew Wong’s Teachers Remember a Keen Student – Chinese-Canadian artist Matthew Wong, who died by suicide last October (and has become an art-market phenomenon in recent months), began his art career in Hong Kong under the instruction of artist Leung Chi Wo. Although Wong was largely self-taught, he enrolled seven years ago in a Master of Fine Arts photography program at the City University of Hong Kong’s School of Creative Media. Leung, an associate professor at the school, remembers Wong as a student who was “very hard-working” and “serious,” who “really performed well in class. He asked a lot of questions and really wanted to learn as much about art history and art as he could.” (South China Morning Post)
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