Art Industry News: The US Supreme Court Agrees to Hear the High-Stakes Guelph Treasure Case + Other Stories

Plus, Ai Weiwei's line of face masks raise over $1 million + the Guggenheim opens an investigation into its Basquiat show.

The Guelph Treasure displayed at the Kunstgewerbemuseum (Museum of Decorative Arts) in Berlin. Photo by Tobias Schwarz/AFP via Getty Images.

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 Friday, July 3.


Painter Sues Over Distorted Works Offered Online – Pat Lipsky, an artist associated with the Lyrical Abstraction and Color Field movements, has filed a lawsuit against New York’s Spanierman Gallery and the online art platform Artspace, claiming that images the two companies are using to sell her 1969 painting have been altered. Lipsky says that Bright Music II was digitally lightened to disguise damages. (The Art Newspaper)

The Guggenheim Opens an Investigation Into Basquiat Show – After a letter signed by the NYC museum’s curatorial department circulated last week criticizing “a culture of institutional racism” during its 2019 Jean-Michel Basquiat show, the museum’s board of directors has decided to hire a lawyer to conduct an independent investigation into the situation. The curator of the exhibition, Chaédria LaBouvier, tweeted last month that “working at the Guggenheim w/ [sic] Nancy Spector & the leadership was the most racist professional experience of my life.” (New York Times)

Supreme Court Agrees to Hear the Guelph Treasure Case – The US Supreme Court will hear a case involving heirs of a group of Jewish-German art dealers who claim their ancestors were forced to sell off a collection of religious art, known as the “Guelph Treasure,” to the Nazi government in 1935. The German government plans to dispute that the case should be handled in a US court. The hearings are set to take place this fall. (AP)

Tribal Leaders Call for the Removal of Mount Rushmore – Indigenous groups in the US are calling for the removal of the Mount Rushmore memorial in Keystone, South Dakota. The call coincides with President Donald Trump’s rally there today, July 3. A tribal leader in the Great Sioux Reservation says its existence there is a “sign of disrespect.” The monument, which depicts former presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln, was created in 1941 by sculptor Gutzom Borglum, a member of the Ku Klux Klan. It was carved into the mountainside of the Black Hills, a millennia-old sacred site for several tribes. (TAN)


Lévy Gorvy Expands to Paris – Lévy Gorvy is opening a gallery in the French capital in fall 2020, close to the Centre Pompidou. It is yet another major gallery to expand to what is increasingly looking like a new European hub of the art world. The gallery space formerly belonged to the late film producer and director, and collector Claude Berri. (Press release)

Michael Werner Pops Up in the Hamptons – The gallery with spaces in New York, London, and Trebbin, Germany, has signed a lease in East Hampton, where it will open in a former Warby Parker. The first show is still taking shape, but the gallery will maintain the space through December in what is becoming a growing gallery district out east. Check out the new digs at at 50 Newtown Lane, East Hampton. (ARTnews)


Linda Goode Bryant Receives 2020 Berresford Prize – The pioneering dealer, activist, and filmmaker who founded Just Above Midtown gallery in 1976, is the recipient of the $25,000 prize from United States Artists, given annually to an individual who has had an outsized impact on the advancement and well-being of artists. Bryant now runs the nonprofit Active Citizen Project. (Press release)

Museums Reopen in California—and Then Close Again – Museums in Los Angeles are closing again as cases of coronavirus surge. A few spaces had already reopened. The Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach had been planning to reopen to the public July 15 and the ICA Los Angeles was set to open next Tuesday, July 7. (Los Angeles Times)

Boston Art Commission Votes to Remove Emancipation Memorial – A replica of Thomas Ball’s sculpture in Boston will be removed from Park Plaza where it has stood since 1879. The monument depicts a formerly enslaved man at the feet of Abraham Lincoln and shows emancipated people as subservient to the white establishment. It also fails to acknowledge the vital role of Black abolitionists. (WBUR)


Ai Weiwei’s Face Masks Raise Over $1 Million – The Chinese artist’s series of face masks, launched in collaboration with eBay to benefit human rights relief organizations serving populations affected by the global health crisis, raised $1.4 million in just over a month. The face coverings, which included images of a middle finger and sunflower seeds drawing on Ai’s famous works, sold for prices ranging from $50 for singles to $1,500 for a selection of 20. (designboom)

North Texas Launches Initiatives to Help Struggling Artists – The artist-run biennial Dallas AURORA has launched two new initiatives to help struggling artists, which has become even more necessary now that Texas is hit with an influx of new coronavirus cases. Instead of its usual large-scale biennial, AURORA is pivoting to a year-round project that will feature digital programming, educational resources, and socially distanced immersive experiences. An emergency artist relief fund is also being set up to offer North Texas-based artists $4,000 grants, with the first application deadline on July 12. (Press release)

Internet Loses It Over Cuomo’s “Mountain” Sculpture – The NY governor surprised reporters when he unveiled a strange mountain-like sculpture to demonstrate the curve of new coronavirus cases in the state. Creative internet users have been having a field day with the amorphous blob, reimagining it as Jabba the Hutt from Star Wars and other creatures. (Hyperallergic)

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