Art Industry News: Surrealist ‘It Girl’ and Shrewd Businesswoman Gala Dalí Finally Gets Her Due + Other Stories

Plus, a museum director resigns after a fashion-ball fiasco and Desert X's lonesome robot is found after missing for a year.

Gala and Salvador Dali.

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 this Thursday, July 26.


Hanging Out With Mr. Disruptive, Stefan Simchowitz – In a recent interview, the art-market bad-boy known as “Simcho” shares his thoughts on the art world’s glass ceiling, the future of art schools, and the importance of social media for the democratization of the market: “Social media breaks [the] wall. Exclusion is not what pushes art forward, it’s inclusion, 100% inclusion.” (Hyperallergic)

Museum Director Resigns After Gala Fiasco – The numbers came in from a botched fundraiser at Australia’s Powerhouse Museum: it cost $388,000 to stage and raised only $78,000, with $1,050 garnered during the design museum’s black-tie fashion ball. Powerhouse director Dolla Merrillees will resign in the wake of the financial flop. (Sydney Morning Herald)

The Woman Behind Salvador Dalí Gets Her Due – The Russian-born wife of Salvador Dalí was a lot more than just a beautiful woman who inspired his work. Gala was also a canny businesswoman who acted as Dalí’s agent so effectively that Italian Surrealist painter Giorgio de Chirico asked her to be his agent, too. A show at Barcelona’s Museu Nacional d’Art de Cataluyna dedicated to Gala shows how she triumphed in an art world dominated by men. (New York Times)

British Lords Warn of Hard Brexit’s Cultural Damage – The House of Lords in Britain has issued a report called “Brexit: Movement of People in the Cultural Sector” that predicts UK arts organizations will lose skilled cultural workers post-Brexit, and that the sharing of collections, expertise, and ideas across Europe’s borders will decline. (The Art Newspaper)


Singapore Gets a Boutique Fair – Is Singapore’s stature as an Asian art-market hub on the rise? The metropolis is welcoming two fairs in the coming year in what art dealers hope will be city-state’s “Hong Kong moment.” A boutique fair called SEA Focus will be held for the first time Singapore Art Week alongside Art Stage Singapore, nine-year-old event overseen by the Swiss art dealer Lorenzo Rudolf. The MCH Group and co-founders of Art HK (now Art Basel Hong Kong) are collaborating on Art SG in 2019, which is also hoping to leverage the untapped demand. (South China Morning Post)

Yinka Shonibare Warns About the Art Market – The British-Nigerian artist believes that the ever-increasing attention paid to the financial side of the art world is a stumbling block for the creation of vital new art. “The noise and distraction of the art market is the biggest obstacle to the creativity of young artists today,” says the conceptual artist and sculptor. (Evening Standard)

US Dealer Charged With Rare Books Theft – US book dealer John Schulman of Caliban Books has resigned from the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America after being charged with stealing $8 million of rare books from the Carnegie Library in Pittsburgh. (Antiques Trade Gazette)


Tamás Waliczky Will Represent Hungary at Venice – The artist’s project “Cameras” will represent Hungary at the 2019 Venice Biennale. Tamás Waliczky, who designs imaginary cameras and other optical devices, lives and works in Hong Kong. The exhibition will be curated by Zsuzsanna Szegedy-Maszák (Budapest Times)

Marta Gili Steps Down From the Jeu de Paume The Barcelona-born director of the Paris institution, which she turned in an influential center for photography and new media, is stepping down in October after 12 years at the helm. She organized more than 180 solo shows and championed the work of female photographers. (Art Daily)

New Museum Names Ideas City Curator V. Mitch McEwen will oversee the New York museum’s experimental initiative exploring the future of cities over the next two years. An assistant professor of architecture at Princeton, she is principal and co-founder of A(n) Office, a collaborative of design studios in Detroit and New York. (Archinect)

Remembering Model-Turned-Photographer Lucy Birley The former model for Robert Mapplethorpe, Steven Meisel, Mario Testino, and other famed photographers has died at age 58. She was also a photographer herself who exhibited portraits of friends, including Damien Hirst, Alexander McQueen, and Isabella Blow. Birley, who suffered from depression, committed suicide, her brother confirmed. (Times)


Queens Museum Announces Biennial Artists Forty-three artists and collectives, the majority of whom are female, will take part in “Volumes,” the museum’s upcoming biennial. Opening in October, the exhibition will focus on artists as “professional non-specialists” in the spread of knowledge. The Queens Museum is joining forces with Queens Library for the show, which will also include work by the late Jack Whitten. (Artforum)

Desert X’s Stray Robot Is Found After a Year Norma Jeane’s Shybot has been found near Palm Springs, a year after the mobile work started roaming the southern Californian desert. When the lonesome robot’s GPS device stopped emitting, the exhibition curated by Neville Wakefield posted a $1,000 missing-bot reward. It was found by Kyle Gomez, a 31-year-old maintenance worker, just off the Gene Autry Trail. (TAN)

Bogota’s Gold Heads to Asia The National Museum of Korea in Seoul is borrowing more than 300 pre-Columbian artifacts from Bogotá’s Museum of Gold, which has sent the objects on the road as it undergoes a major revamp. Seoul follows stop-offs at London’s British Museum, the Grand Palais in Paris, and a museum in Nantes. (The City Paper)

Jerry Saltz Has an Idea for the American Pavilion New York Magazine senior art critic Jerry Saltz has a modest suggestion: He posted via Instagram an image of the American Pavilion in the Giardini with the name of a controversial billionaire and philanthropist over the door, in gold lettering. Meanwhile, the US State Department is unusually late in announcing the chosen artist and institution that will organize the US pavilion at the 2019 Venice Biennale. The department seeks proposals that “illustrate the role of art in supporting individual, community, and/or nation-wide healing, recovery, and rebuilding following tragic events and/or natural disasters.” (Instagram)

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