Art Industry News: Forget the Old Masters, Victoria Beckham Is Now All About Postwar Italian Art + Other Stories
Plus, Meow Wolf's founder is accused of having a gender bias and museums disagree over a pair of Van Gogh portraits.
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 Thursday, July 4. Happy Independence Day!
Meow Wolf Is Sued for Pay Discrimination – Vince Kadlubek, the founder of the immersive entertainment company Meow Wolf, has been accused of gender bias in a lawsuit by two former employees, Tara Khozein and Gina Maciuszek, who claim they were fired after complaining about discrimination and unfair pay practices. The two women are also seeking to have their case recognized as a class action, with the goal of involving more than 50 female workers, the Santa Fe New Mexican reports. The Santa Fe-based company has huge plans to expand across the US, starting in Denver. (Denver Post)
Alaska Could Become the Only State With No Arts Agency – Alaska’s conservative governor has vetoed the state’s budget, which could mean the Alaska State Council on the Arts is axed. If successful, Mike Dunleavy’s move would mean it becomes the only US state without a government-funded arts council. Dunleavy also wants to turn away $1.2 million from the National Endowment for the Arts. Roger Schmidt, the director of the Sitka Fine Arts Camp, condemned the governor’s actions, telling the Anchorage Daily News: “It shows a callousness toward the culture and heritage of our state.” (ARTnews)
Victoria Beckham Is Back in the Art Business – At Victoria Beckham’s flagship store in London’s Mayfair, Old Masters are so last season. This summer, it’s all about postwar Italian art, with works by Lucio Fontana, Agostino Bonalumi, Pietro Consagra, and Paolo Scheggi hung alongside the designer’s monochrome dresses from her pre-autumn/winter collection. The works of art are on loan from nearby Robilant + Voena gallery, which has organized the pop-up exhibition during London Art Week and Mayfair Art Weekend. (Financial Times)
A Welsh Folk Museum Wins the UK’s Big Museum Prize – An open-air museum of folk life near Cardiff in Wales has won a £100,000 ($125,000) prize, beating stiff competition to become the UK’s “Museum of the Year.” The V&A Dundee and Nottingham Contemporary were among the finalists. St. Fagans Museum, which is part of National Museums Wales, has just completed a six-year, £30 million ($38 million) revamp. The judges, which included the artist David Batchelor, were impressed with the social-history museum’s recreation of pre-industrial life, its work with the community, and the way visitors could experience craft skills including, quilting, pottery, stone-carving, and woodworking. (Press Release)
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Artist’s Sculpture Goes Up for Sale – A kinetic sculpture made by Rowland Emett, the creator of the flying car and other madcap contraptions in the 1968 Chitty Chitty Bang Bang movie, is due to be auctioned at Bonhams in London on September 3. The sculpture of a whimsical train, titled A Quiet Afternoon in the Cloud Cuckoo Valley, is expected to fetch six figures. (Guardian)
Liz Taylor’s Oscars Dress Heads to Auction – The Edith Head-designed dress Elizabeth Taylor wore to the 1974 Academy Awards is one of 1,200 items that belonged to the star that go on sale at Julien’s Auctions in December. (Reuters)
Yankee Candle Founder’s Art Hits the Block – The wax-candle millionaire Michael J. Kittredge II is selling art, furniture, and curiosities from his Nantucket home. The nautical themed items go under the hammer on July 13 at Rafael Osona Auctions, as well as online at Bidsquare. (MassLive)
Boris Johnson’s UK Freeport Plan Is Challenged – The favorite to be the next Conservative Party leader and UK Prime Minister has promised to create six freeports and tax-free zones, if he is elected. Critics pointed out that Boris Johnson was incorrect to say that it depended on Britain leaving the European Union. There are 90 of these zones in the EU already. (The Art Newspaper)
COMINGS & GOINGS
A New Artist Residency Launches in the World Trade Center – Real estate developers Silverstein Properties are backing a new artist residency at the World Trade Center. Silver Art Projects will host 30 artists every September on the 50th floor of 3 World Trade Center for up to eight months. The application deadline for the first cycle is July 31. (ARTnews)
Mid-America Arts Alliance Announces Recipients of Innovations Grants – The M-AAA has awarded $165,400 in grants for the 2020 fiscal year to 13 artists and arts organizations. The “Innovation Grants” support the creation and presentation of a new artwork or initiative between July 1 and June 30, 2020, and recipients include the Texas-based artist Steve Parker and Oklahoma Contemporary. (Glasstire)
FOR ART’S SAKE
You Can Buy a House Designed by Ai Weiwei for $5.5 Million – A private residence in the Hudson Valley that was designed by the Chinese dissident artist is up for grabs at a mere $5.25 Million. The three-bed, three-bath minimalist home comes with a two-bed guesthouse and a swimming pool, and was originally commissioned in 2006 by Ai Weiwei collector Christopher Tsai. (New York Times)
Did Mozart Have an Even Smarter Sister? – The South China Morning Post spotlights some artists whose legacy has been overshadowed by the celebrity of their more popular siblings. What of Emily Brontë’s talented sister Anne, Mozart’s possibly more accomplished sister Maria Anne, or Felix Mendelssohn’s sister Fanny? (SCMP)
Museums Disagree Over Vincent van Gogh Portrait—Is it Theo? – A Dutch scholar has called out the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam for mistakenly labeling a portrait of the troubled artist’s brother Theo as a self-portrait. Research presented at an exhibition at the Noordbrabants Museum in the Netherlands in September will advance the theory that two portraits long-thought to have been Vincent van Gogh in two different hats are actually paintings of himself and his brother. (TAN) (Times)
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