Art Industry News: Why Are Western White Dudes Getting So Many of China’s Top Museum Jobs? + Other Stories

Plus, conservators raise alarm about the Huntington's "Blue Boy" loan and the buyer of Lucian Freud's Hockney portrait is revealed.

Peter Eleey, the former chief curator of MoMA PS1, has been named curator-at-large of UCCA Center for Contemporary Art, with locations in Beijing, Shanghai and Qinhuangdao. (Photo by WILL RAGOZZINO/Patrick McMullan 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 Tuesday, July 6.


Experts Advise Against Blue Boy Loan – U.K. art lovers rejoiced last week when news broke that the Huntington Art Museum would loan Thomas Gainsborough’s The Blue Boy to Britain’s National Gallery, marking the first time the work has left L.A. since it was acquired 100 years ago. Conservators, it turns out, are less pleased. In 2018, a panel of prominent experts unanimously opposed sending the picture abroad due to the potential for structural damage to the painting. They were overruled by museum administrators. (Los Angeles Times)

This Fruit-Juice Empire Heir’s Obsession Is Art – In a rare and candid interview, Eugenio López Alonso, the founder of Mexico City’s Museo Jumex and heir to the Grupo Jumex fruit-juice company, offers a peek inside his art-filled Los Angeles home. He has reportedly spent upwards of $80 million on his formidable collection, which includes work by Dan Flavin and Louise Bourgeois—but he says the real number is higher. (New York Times)

Why Are So Many Top Chinese Museum Gigs Going to White Men? – Four of China’s museums have recently appointed Western white men to senior positions; none has extensive experience in Asia and three are working remotely from overseas. While Chinese museum staff are loathe to criticize the trend publicly, there is frustration behind the scenes (not least because every document must be translated into English, slowing down progress). The stereotype that authority must be white and male in order to hold international sway remains strong, they say. (The Art Newspaper)

Can A.R. Public Art Help Rebuild Struggling Commercial Zones? – Not unlike the new project on New York’s High Line organized by the Shed and Acute Art, a new initiative in Melbourne, Australia is also trying to uplift the public with augmented reality art in the public space. On view until July 16 at Flinder Quarters, a commercial area decimated by the pandemic lockdowns, are 12 works of art to “find” with your phone. If people identify all 12, they receive a voucher for a local business. (Guardian)


Buyer of Freud’s Hockney Portrait Revealed – The U.K.’s second richest family, the Reuben family, has been unmasked as the buyer of Lucian Freud’s portrait of David Hockney, which sold at Sotheby’s last week for £15 million ($20.8 million). Meanwhile, British billionaire cell phone retailer John Caudwell bought Elizabeth Peyton’s portrait of a young Prince Harry for £886,200 ($1.2 million). (Telegraph)

Stella McCartney Picks Works for Phillips’s London Sale – The house’s “New Now” sale in London on July 13 will feature 12 lots selected by designer Stella McCartney, with the proceeds going to charities of her choice. The broader sale will be led by Andy Warhol’s Flowers (1964–5), which is estimated to fetch £1 million–£1.5 million ($1.4 million–$2.1 million). (ArtFixDaily)


Two New Museums Open in China – China’s museum building boom isn’t slowing down. This month, two new museums open in the country: the Museum of Art Pudong with a show of works on loan from the Tate, and the Cang Art Museum in Hangzhou, East China’s Zhejiang province, with a survey of contemporary art in China since the 1980s. (China DailyTime Out Shanghai)

Edinburgh’s Fruitmarket Gallery Is Ready to Open – After a £4.3 million ($6 million) revamp, the storied Scottish contemporary art space Fruitmarket is finally ready to reopen on July 7 with double the footprint and a large warehouse for performances that bridges two large galleries. (TAN)


Dubai Expo Announces Artists for October Event – After a yearlong delay, Dubai’s Expo 2020 will open October 1 and run through March 31, 2022 near Al Maktoum International Airport. The world fair will feature works by artists including Olafur Eliasson, Yinka Shonibare, and UAE locals Afra Al Dhaheri and Shaikha Al Mazrou. (TAN)

This Rooftop Mural Took One Artist Eight Days to Make – Street artist Josh Billingham, better known as Gent 48, was commissioned by the city of Birmingham to revamp a parking lot with a massive rooftop mural to promote the inner city’s regeneration project. Watch the mural, which reads “Be Bold,” take shape in the video below. (BBC)

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