Art Industry News: Billionaire Ken Griffin Resigns (and Then Un-Resigns) From the Whitney Board in Solidarity With Kanders + Other Stories

Plus, Damián Ortega wins the ICA Miami's sculpture prize and the UK's new culture secretary once said children should study science instead of the arts.

Kenneth C. Griffin, Citadel Founder and Chief Executive Officer, at the CNBC Institutional Investor Delivering Alpha conference in NYC. Photo: Heidi Gutman/CNBC/NBCU Photo Bank.

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 Friday, July 26.


The UK’s New Culture Secretary Thinks the Arts Are a Dead-End Career – The new UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has appointed Nicky Morgan as his culture minister. She is the fourth Conservative politician to occupy the role in the past three years and previously served as education secretary and minister for women and equalities. Unusually for Johnson’s hard-Brexit cabinet, Morgan has previously supported remaining in the European Union. But critics on social media were quick to point out a statement that seems to undercut her current role: In 2014, she said that schoolchildren should study science and technology over the arts and humanities. “The subjects to keep young people’s options open are STEM subjects—science, technology, engineering and maths,” she said. (The Art Newspaper)

Manet’s Folies Heads to Japan – The Courtauld Institute of Art in London is sending 58 Impressionist masterworks, including Manet’s famous A Bar at the Folies-Bergère, to tour Japan. The exhibition will travel to the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, the Aichi Prefectural Museum in Nagoya, and the Kobe City Museum. The Courtauld’s collection is getting around while its London home is closed for renovations through spring 2021; it has already traveled to Paris’s Fondation Louis Vuitton. (TAN)

A Second Whitney Trustee (Briefly) Resigned After Kanders – Twitter was set abuzz yesterday when news broke that Whitney Museum trustee, art collector extraordinaire, and hedge-fund billionaire Ken Griffin had resigned shortly after the Whitney’s vice chairman Warren B. Kanders announced he would step down yesterday in response to mounting pressure from protesters. The move, according to the New York Times, was a kind of counter-protest against what Griffin described on a call with fellow trustees as the museum’s increasingly “left-wing tilt.” But the billionaire did not resign for long. After further consideration, he told the newspaper he was “excited” to be a trustee and declined to elaborate on internal board discussions, which he said he thought were “private.” (New York Times)

Darren Walker on the Future of Museums – In an op-ed following news of Warren Kanders’s resignation from the Whitney board, Darren Walker, the president of the Ford Foundation, issues a call for broader change within cultural institutions. “To engage diverse leaders, museums should redefine the terms of trusteeship,” he says, echoing conversations that have been reverberating through the museum field. “At a time when institutions face greater pressure than ever to raise resources, their boards have veered too far toward only appointing trustees with wealth.” Instead, he says, they should seek out a diverse board that will be more capable of helping institutions achieve excellence by attracting new visitors, artists, and constituencies. (NYT)


Marlborough Gallery Hires Jay Gorney – The New York-based dealer Jay Gorney, who has been at Paula Cooper Gallery since 2017, is joining Marlborough as it consolidates its various brands and undergoes an expansion in Chelsea. He will serve as a senior director. The gallery’s president, Max Levai, says he and Gorney have “always seen eye-to-eye in our interests and aesthetic.” (ARTnews)

Vaughn Spann Joins Almine Rech – The gallery Almine Rech now represents the New Jersey-based rising star known for his “Dalmatian paintings,” which depict black spots on a white background. Spann will be exclusively represented by Almine Rech in Europe and China and will have a solo show at its gallery in New York in January 2020. In the US, Almine Rech will share representation with Half Gallery. (ARTnews)


Damián Ortega Wins ICA Miami Prize – The institution has awarded its inaugural Ezratti Family Prize for Sculpture to the Mexican artist Damián Ortega. The $15,000 prize, which will be given annually, recognizes an artist’s contribution to sculpture and comes with support for a new commission for the museum’s sculpture garden. Ortega’s new work, Replicant Stone, will be unveiled in November. (Art Daily)

Portland Museum Hires Native Art Curator – The Portland Art Museum in Oregon has found a new curator of Native American art, filling a three-year vacancy. Kathleen Ash-Milby joins the museum from the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian in New York. (Oregonian)

Norfolk Nelson Museum Will Close – The Norfolk Nelson Museum in Great Yarmouth is closing at the end of October after a drop in attendance and the removal of local government funding. Meanwhile, the nearby Time and Tide Museum has managed to preserve its public funding and remain open. Part of Norfolk Museums Service, it celebrates the local fishing industry and smoked herring. (Eastern Gazette)


Edinburgh Art Festival Gets a Rave Review – The annual art festival, which opened yesterday in the Scottish capital, has earned a four-star review from the Guardian’s art critic Jonathan Jones. He raves about Bridget Riley’s retrospective at the National Gallery of Scotland (“sensational”) and gives a thumbs up to Grayson Perry and David Batchelor’s colorful solo shows. But he is underwhelmed by Alfredo Jaar’s riff on a downbeat quote by the playwright Samuel Beckett in the form of a light work shining the words, “I can’t go on, I’ll go on.” He calls it a “shrug of an artwork.” (Guardian)

Artist Zhang Enli Teams Up With a Luxury Food Store – London’s swanky food store Fortnum & Mason has commissioned the Chinese artist Zhang Enli to create 18 new paintings, which will go on show there in the fall. Fortnum x Zhang Enli coincides with the store opening a branch in Hong Kong in Adrian Cheng’s new K11 Musea development, which will also feature the artist’s work. (Press release)

Joana Vasconcelos’s Art Swimming Pool Opens – The Portuguese artist has created an intricate public swimming pool for sculpture park Jupiter Artland as part of the Edinburgh Arts Festival. Beginning in August, swimmers will be able to dive into Vasconcelos’s Gateway, which is decorated with 11,500 hand-painted tiles created at a 100-year-old traditional Portuguese factory. (Times)


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