Art Industry News: Is There Anyone on Larry Gagosian’s Blacklist? The Mega-Dealer on His Moral Line + Other Stories

Plus, the Young V&A is seeking new LGBTQ+ material and the U.K. wants to buy a Henry VIII tapestry from Spain.

Larry Gagosian. (Photo by Taylor Hill/FilmMagic)

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 26.


India Mulls Task Force on Looted Antiquities – Taking its cue from other nations, a parliamentary standing committee is considering establishing a “dedicated cultural heritage squad” for the recovery of stolen antiquities.” The task force would have a team of officers trained to deal with various aspects of retrieval. (Business Insider) 

The U.K. Wants to Buy Henry VIII Tapestry from Spain – A 16th-century tapestry commissioned by Henry VIII was thought lost, but it was uncovered in 2014 in Spain. It is said to be the “birth certificate of the Church of England” and the U.K.’s Faith Museum, which opens in October, is mobilizing to have it as the centrepiece of its presentation. The Spanish government had imposed an export ban on it but noted that if a suitable U.K. institution came forward, it would return it. The cost of the tapestry is £3.55 million plus another £1 million for export taxes and related costs. (Guardian)

New Yorker Profile Sheds Light on Larry Gagosian’s Moral Compass – The mega-dealer is the subject of a 17,000–word profile by Patrick Radden Keefe and, at one point his ethics come under the microscope. “If the money is correct, if the transaction is correct, I’m not going to be a moral judge,” said Gagosian, who noted that while he would not sell to a “convicted murderer” he might deal with those with “lesser allegations.” The profile notes his current dealings with the UAE, that he once sold to oligarch Roman Abramovich, who has been sanctioned in the EU, and states that in the 2000s, Gagosian mounted an exhibition in Moscow hoping to connect with other ultra-rich Russians. (But Gagosian noted that “everybody” was doing it back then). In 2022, after Russia invaded Ukraine, Gagosian told his sales directors that they cannot sell to sanctioned people or their fake businesses. “You cannot jeopardize the gallery to sell to these people,” he allegedly wrote. (New Yorker)

Young V&A Is Looking for New LGBTQ+ Material – After taking down two books and a poster addressing LGBTQ+ themes at the new children’s museum, the V&A says it is looking for alternatives “designed for its core age range.” A V&A spokesperson said the institution’s plan “was always to source an alternative work for the display, recognising the importance of Young V&A being an inclusive space.” The removal of the materials caused fierce backlash and the institution said it had listened to feedback and hopes to address the concerns. (Museums Journal) 


Charlie James Gallery Is Cultural Illuminator Honoree – The mainstay of the Los Angeles gallery scene, located in Chinatown for the past 15 years, will be honored this Saturday, July 29 at the Vincent Price Art Museum’s Illuminator’s Gala.It is being recognized for advancing wellness, diversity, equity, and inclusion in local communities around East Los Angeles. The gallery “has championed the work of visionary artists who engage with significant artistic, cultural, and political concerns,” according to a statement from the museum. (Press release)  

Sydney Biennial Announces Curatorial Theme – The 24th edition of the Australian-based event is titled “Ten Thousand Suns,” and will be led by artistic directors Cosmin Costinaș and Inti Guerrero. The event “will invoke a spirit of abundance and generosity as powerful political tools and resist the mainstream mindsets of perpetual crisis that often lead to inaction.”  (Press release) 

Frieze Seoul Program Details Frieze Seoul, which opens its second edition at the beginning of September, has shared some of the highlights from its film and museum program. A major program feature will be the screening of works by Korean artists including Han Uri and Hong Lee, Hyun-sook. The fair is also planning the inaugural edition of Frieze Music, which will feature a performance by Korean rapper Colde. (Press release)


Design Museum to Explore History of Skateboards – The London institution will open a show this autumn, opening October 20, looking at the history of the sport and the board in particular, from the 1950s to today. Some 90 rare and unique boards will be on view alongside wheels, trucks, safety equipment, and other ephemera. (Guardian) 

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Broadway Legend Stephen Sondheim’s Manhattan Townhouse—Where He Wrote Tony-Winning Musicals—Is Selling to the Tune of $7 Million 

A Judge Green-lit a Virginia Museum’s Plans to Melt Down a Confederate Monument, Dismissing a Lawsuit Attempting to Save It 

Artist Stuart Semple Is Releasing a ‘Barbie-Ish,’ Ultra-Fluorescent Pink Paint to Protest Mattel’s Trademark on the Color 

An Australian Photographer Was Disqualified From a Photo Contest After Her Submission Was Mistakenly Deemed A.I.-Generated 

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