Art Industry News: Banksy Volunteers to Help Save Endangered UK Libraries + Other Stories

Plus, an Egyptian museum discovers treasures hidden since World War II and Old Master dealer Otto Naumann joins Sotheby's.

Banksy’s offer to aid Bristol’s ailing libraries is one of a number of generous overtures he’s made to his hometown. In 2016, students returned from summer break to find a mural by the artist painted on the side of a classroom at Bridge Farm Primary. (Photo by Matt Cardy/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 this Thursday, July 5.


Egypt Discovers Treasure Hidden During Wartime – Experts have uncovered hundreds of previously unknown ceramic objects hidden at the Alexandria Museum in Cairo. Likely stashed there as the German army approached during World War II, the hiding place was undocumented by museum officials at the time. The find includes large dishes dating to Greek, Roman, and Byzantine eras. (AFP)

Theaster Gates Could Have Been a Priest – The artist says that as a young man, he once questioned whether to become an artist or a priest. Now showing Black Madonnas at the Kunstmuseum in Basel, performing with the Black Monks of Mississippi worldwide, and writing prayers, he says his passions have merged. “Using the term ‘art’ gives me more latitude,” the artist notes. (Guardian)

Will Banksy Rescue Bristol’s Libraries? – Bristol’s most famous street artist has offered to help his hometown save 17 endangered libraries. They are currently under threat from the city council, which is looking to make £1.4 million ($1.85 million) in cuts by eliminating more than half of its 27 libraries. The city’s mayor confirmed that the street artist had come forward to ask what would be needed to solve the problem and how he might be of service. (Guardian)

Will Adrian Cheng’s Art and Property Strategy Succeed? – Investors have been cool about Cheng’s strategy to put art into K11 shopping malls in an effort to woo China’s millennials. As he launches the $2.6 billion Victoria Dockside development in Hong Kong, an analyst points out that competitors’ share values are much higher than those of Cheng’s New World Development Co. (Bloomberg)


Otto Naumann Makes a Sotheby’s Comeback – That was fast. The veteran New York-based Old Master dealer, who retired earlier this year, is coming out of retirement already to join Sotheby’s. Naumann will become senior vice president and client development director as well as an in-house Old Master expert. The auction house sold what remained of Naumann’s inventory in January. (The Art Newspaper)

Iran’s Art Market Shows Signs of Life – The ninth annual Tehran Auction—which coincided with the country’s first-ever art fair—offered the city’s wealthy a distraction from impending sanctions and the chance to invest in something that might actually hold its value amid a currency free fall. For some, however, now is the time to sell, not to buy. “In this dire economic situation, my art collection can save me from bankruptcy,” one collector said. (LA Times)

Turner Watercolor Makes High Marks – A late watercolor by J.M.W. Turner, The Lake of Lucerne from Brunnen, sold for $2.6 million at Sotheby’s in London. The work is a companion to the artist’s The Blue Rigi, Sunrise, which is now in the Tate’s collection. (Art Daily)


FIAC Confirms Temporary Venue – The city of Paris has approved a temporary venue for events that are normally held at the historic Grand Palais, which will undergo extensive, two-year renovations beginning in 2021. During that time, the art fair FIAC will take up residence in a semi-permanent structure on Plateau Joffre at Champs des Mars. Paris Photo, La Biennale Paris, and Art Paris will also be held there. (TAN)

Banksy Mural To Be Removed in the UK – An official work by the street artist is being de-installed from a disused bridge in Hull to accommodate urgent repairs to the structure. The mural will be stored safely until it can be reinstalled elsewhere in the city in the north of England. (BBC)

David Hockey’s Parents Are Coming Home – To mark the painter’s 80th birthday on July 9, his hometown of Bradford, UK, will present Hockney’s celebrated painting My Parents. The painting in the Tate’s collection travels to Bradford after a stint at the Met in New York. It will be accompanied by Catherine Opie’s photograph of the artist. (Press release)


Disagreement Over Repair of Vandalized Russian Work – A court battle is underway over damages incurred by one of Russia’s most famous paintings, Ilya Repin’s late 18th-century Ivan the Terrible and His Son Ivan on November 16, 1581. The drunk man who damaged the work with a pole is being sued, and prosecutors now claim that the repair will cost almost half a million dollars. An earlier estimate put restoration costs at $7,900. (TAN)

Bolivia Is Building an Underwater Museum – The South American country is building a museum at the bottom of the sacred Lake Titicaca. Some 10,000 artifacts dating from before Inca times have been excavated from the site, including ceramics and metal, cooking utensils, and human and animal remains. (AFP)

Ugo Rondinone’s Colorful Mountain Heads to Liverpool – A new public artwork by the acclaimed Swiss artist—the first of its kind in Europe—will go on view at the Royal Albert Docks for the Liverpool Biennial. Part of a striking series that has attracted droves of Instagrammers in Miami and Nevada, the new technicolored stack is called Liverpool Mountain and will help celebrate the biennial’s 20th anniversary. (YM Liverpool)

Ugo Rondinone Seven Magic Mountains. Courtesy the artist, Esther Schipper, Berlin; Eva Presenhuber, Zurich; Art Production Fund, New York; Nevada Museum of Art, Nevada

Follow Artnet News on Facebook:

Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.