Art Industry News: The Salvator Mundi Saga Is Being Turned Into a Big-Budget ‘Hamilton’-Style Musical + Other Stories

Plus, Hauser & Wirth will represent the estate of Gustav Metzger and Lisson joins the wave of galleries opening in the Hamptons.

Leonardo da Vinci, Salvator Mundi (ca. 1500). Courtesy of Christie's Images Ltd.

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 Thursday, July 30.


Details of the UK’s Arts Bailout, Revealed – The UK government has revealed its plans for the emergency £1.5 billion ($1.9 billion) cash infusion into the struggling arts sector. Beginning next week, organizations can apply for £880 million in grants from a Culture Recovery Fund overseen by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport. Around £622 million of the purse will be distributed; the rest will be reserved for a second round of grants later in the financial year. Other segments of the fund will be overseen by Arts Council England, the British Film Institute, Historic England, and the National Lottery Heritage Fund. (The Art Newspaper)

Melvin Edwards Will Bring Chains to City Hall Park – The American sculptor is working with the Public Art Fund to install an exhibition in New York’s City Hall Park in October. (The exhibition was pushed back from its original dates to give space to the ongoing Black Lives Matter protests occupying the space.) The survey of the work of the 83-year-old artist, called “Brighter Days,” will include examples from his ongoing “Lynch Fragments” series, six large-scale sculptures of broken chains that the artist hopes will resonate even more deeply in the context of the protests. (TAN

Salvator Mundi Is Becoming a Musical (Really) – The production company behind Dear Evan Hansen and Tina: the Tina Turner Musical is planning a show about Salvator Mundi, the world-famous (and now missing) painting that sold for $450 million at auction in 2017. The company promises Salvator Mundi! The Musical—which is due to launch in New York in 2022—will mix the “historical reportage of Hamilton with the fantasy and delight of Willy Wonka’s golden ticket.” The writer and dramatist Deborah Grace Winer will write the script. No word yet on who will play Leonardo… or Loic Gouzer(TAN)

NEH Announces Final Round of 2020 Grants – The National Endowment for the Humanities released its final round of funding for the fiscal year: a total of $30 million to support 238 projects. Two new grants designed to fuel international collaboration will fund projects based in England and Germany. Other chosen initiatives include the Amistad Research Center’s African American history holdings, a new Robert Frost biography, and a roving show that commemorates the 20th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks. (New York Times)


Hauser & Wirth Now Represents Gustav Metzger – The mega-gallery will represent the estate and foundation of the German artist. Metzger, who died in 2017, was a key figure in the postwar avant-garde and the inventor of the term “auto-destructive art.” The gallery’s first project with the estate is set for 2021. (Press release)

Lisson Opens an Outpost in East Hampton – Yet another gallery is opening in the moneyed enclave outside New York City. Lisson will operate a space in East Hampton until “at least” March 2021. The displays will focus on just one work at a time, starting with a painting by Stanley Whitney. (Financial Times)

Christie’s Classic Evening Sale Nets $27.5 Million – The auction house’s hybrid sale of classic art this week saw a 75 percent sell-through rate. The top lot was a portrait by Sir Peter Paul Rubens from the early 15th century that went for £3.9 million ($5 million). (Art Market Monitor)


Photography Champion Marcuse Pfeifer Dies – The New York gallerist Marcuse “Cusie” Pfeifer has died at age 84. Her eponymous gallery helped launch the careers of photographers Peter Hujar and Sally Mann. (Artforum)

Impressionism Scholar Richard Brettell Dies – The academic and former director of the Dallas Museum of Art has died at 71 from cancer. During Brettell’s tenure at the institution, the DMA acquired over 3,000 objects. Through his scholarship on Impressionism and his extensive teaching, Brettell transformed the landscape of the Texas art scene. (ARTnews)

Artist Michael Anderson Dies – The Bronx-born, self-taught artist, who was best known for his ambitious, large-scale collages, has died. Born in 1968, Anderson came to fine art through sound collage and avant-garde music and became a member of the arts collective GAle GAtes in the ’90s. (Press release)


UNC Museum Nabs Major Painting Gift – Art collector Jane Roughton Kearns is donating three American Modernist paintings to the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill’s Ackland Art Museum. The two works by Joan Mitchell and one by Milton Avery are worth an estimated $12 million. (News & Observer)

Jenny Holzer Launches a Benefit Edition for Her Birthday – To celebrate her 70th birthday yesterday, the artist released a new limited-edition artwork with Avant Arte to raise money for the New York City AIDS Memorial. Titled URGE AND URGE AND URGE, the edition is a handblown glass pharmacy jar filled with condoms whose wrappers boast some of Holzer’s best truisms. A truck bearing animated texts by Holzer and poet Walt Whitman will pass through local historical sites to mark the launch. (Press release)



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