Art Industry News: The Whole Art World Is Furious About David Brooks’s New Column About How Angry Art Has Gotten + Other Stories

Plus, Scarlett Johansson buys artwork by an under-appreciated 92-year-old painter and global auction sales are on the decline.

David Brooks. Photo by William B. Plowman/NBC/NBC NewsWire courtesy of Getty Images.
David Brooks. Photo by William B. Plowman/NBC/NBC NewsWire courtesy of Getty Images.

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 Thursday, July 25.


Comic Book Fans Get a Sneak Peek of George Lucas’s Museum – Curators from the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art gave sci-fi and comic book fans at San Diego’s Comic-Con a preview of what to expect from the $1 billion museum due to open in LA in 2022. A 30-minute slide show presented sci-fi, Pop, and fantasy drawings and designs alongside paintings by Pre-Raphaelite artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti and classical Egyptian and Greek antiquities. “We’re attempting to eliminate the hierarchy between so-called high art and commercial art, placing them on the same plane,” curator Ryan Linkof said, adding that he was unafraid of ruffling feathers in the art world. “While many museums pay lip service to this kind of inclusive appreciation of visual culture, we are truly unique and make this central to the museum’s identity.”  (LA Times)

Scarlett Johansson Buys a Lois Dodd Painting – The actress—who has been popping up in the art world quite a bit lately—has been identified as one of the buyers of a sold-out show of the 92-year-old painter’s work at Modern Art gallery in London. New Jersey-born Dodd, who was recently described in Frieze magazine as “the greatest painter of windows since Henri Matisse,” had never before had a major solo show outside the United States. Johansson bought Night House with Lit Window (2012). Other buyers of the works, priced between $14,000 and $95,000, included museums in the US and the Netherlands as well as the Rachofsky collection in Dallas. (Financial Times)

The Art World Is Really Mad About David Brooks’s Column – The New York Times columnist took issue with the 25 works of art featured by T Magazine that define the contemporary age—and it did not take long before the art world took issue with him. David Brooks writes that most of the artists on the list are “political provocateurs,” lamenting the absence of beauty, human contact, and “emotional range” from work by artists such as Jenny Holzer, Cady Noland, and Catherine Opie. The article was greeted with withering rebukes on Twitter, including a lengthy retort from professor Michael Lobel. Meanwhile, critic Jerry Saltz called Brooks a “know nothing” whose argument “eerily parallels those made in 1936 Germany,” a reference to the Nazi’s infamous “Degenerate Art” show. (New York Times)

Caregiver Will Appeal Ruling in Favor of the Portland Museum – A woman in Portland, Maine, is appealing a court’s $4.6 million judgement against her in a legal dispute with the Portland Museum of Art. A jury decided against Annemarie Germain, a former caregiver to Eleanor G. Potter, who was accused of coercing the wealthy donor into changing her will to remove the Portland Museum as her primary beneficiary months before she died. Germain’s lawyer says his client will appeal, claiming she was hurt by multiple legal errors during the trial. (Press Herald)


Global Auction Sales Decline as Asian Art Plummets – Auction sales fell 20 percent, to $5.55 billion, in the first half of 2019, according to a new report from ArtTactic. The company found that the sale of Chinese and Asian art has nearly halved this year to $447 million as the US-China trade war continues to take its toll. (Financial Times)  

Gina Beavers Joins Marianne Boesky – The artist, best known for her witty paintings of food and bodies inspired by photos she finds on Instagram and Google Images, is now represented by Marianne Boesky Gallery. Beavers will continue to work with Foxy Production in New York. (Press release)

What You Need to Know About Louise Bourgeois’s Market – The artist’s legendary spider sculptures are most coveted by collectors—the bigger, the better. But with supply of these limited (and dwindling), her non-spider works are slowly gaining in value. Fakes are rare and quickly weeded out thanks to Bourgeois’s well-organized estate, though the organization stays away from direct authentication and likely will not start working on a catalogue raisonné for another few years. (TAN)


A Blade of Grass Will Launch Two New Fellowships – The Brooklyn nonprofit is creating two new fellowships to support artists in Los Angeles and artists of color under the age of 30 in New York. The fellowships, which come with a stipend of $20,000, will begin May 1, 2020. The deadline for applications is October 16. (Artforum)

Dallas Museum Acquires Francisco Moreno’s Chapel – The Dallas Museum of Art has acquired the Dallas-based artist’s large-scale painting installation Chapel and Accompanying Works, which is inspired by the Hermitage of the Vera Cruz de Maderuelo at the Prado in Spain. A museum spokeswoman says the acquisition helps further the DMA’s goal of promoting “innovative contemporary art that engages with the past.” (Glasstire)

Artist Roslisham Ismail Has Died at 54 – The Malaysian artist, better known as Ise, died on July 23 from complications related to kidney disease. The multidisciplinary artist, whose work addressed the realities of urban life and often incorporated comics, food, and advertisements, also founded the alternative art space Parking Project in his Kuala Lumpur apartment. (Art Asia Pacific)


Collector Nancy Magoon Is Selling Her Aspen Home – The 78-year-old art collector Nancy Magoon is selling her 9,560-square-foot Aspen home, which is listed at $16.9 million. Following her husband’s death last year, she is looking to downsize, and plans to sell or donate much of the art—including works by Andy Warhol, Nick Cave, and Damien Hirst—that fills her estate in the luxe Starwood neighborhood. Her elaborate sculpture garden is not included in the asking price, but she is open to selling it to the new owner or separately. (Wall Street Journal)

See England’s “Boris Blimp,” Inspired by the Baby Trump Balloon – As the UK’s new prime minister settles into office, some are wondering whether the unflattering blimp of the government official as a toddler will fly again as protesters descend on parliament. The floating caricature, inspired by a similar version of Trump, depicts Johnson wearing underpants emblazoned with a reference to Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage and a top referencing the infamous bus Boris launched to promote the misleading promise that leaving the EU would free up £350 million a week for the country’s National Health Service. The balloon, crowdfunded by March for Change, was flown on July 20 during an anti-Brexit demonstration. (Guardian)

Boris Blimp balloon depicting Tory leadership hopeful Boris Johnson flies next to the Houses of Parliament ahead of anti-Brexit Yes to Europe, no to Boris demonstration on 20 July, 2019 in London, England. Photo by WIktor Szymanowicz/NurPhoto via Getty Images.

Boris Blimp balloon depicting Tory leadership hopeful Boris Johnson flies next to the Houses of Parliament ahead of anti-Brexit Yes to Europe, no to Boris demonstration on 20 July, 2019 in London, England. Photo by WIktor Szymanowicz/NurPhoto via Getty Images.

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