Art Industry News: Solange Teams Up With IKEA to Create Affordable Conceptual Furniture + Other Stories

Plus, Banksy is rumored to have created another new work in London and Barack Obama visits the Reina Sofia.

Solange Knowles. Courtesy Guggenheim.

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 Monday, July 9.


Is Aesthetics the New Scientific Frontier? – Why do we create art, or prefer one form of art over another? Scientists at around 24 labs across the US are working to answer these questions and decode the enigma of the aesthetic response, a growing field of research. The National Endowment for the Arts, for example, is funding new studies on the therapeutic benefits of art. Elsewhere, the University of Pittsburgh has found that people prefer descriptive titles for artwork over abstract ones, while psychologists at Boston College are tackling the question of why we like what we like. (New York Times)

A Potential Banksy Just Showed Up in London – A huddled figure of a dark-skinned child holding a heart-shaped balloon that says “Tame” appeared over the weekend in the creative district of Birmingham. It hasn’t yet been officially credited to the elusive street artist, who was most recently spotted in Paris creating work in response to the country’s refugee crisis. Stay tuned! (Mirror)

Solange Is Collaborating With IKEA – The Swedish furniture giant has recruited some very high-profile artistic collaborators of late. On the heels of the company’s recent collaboration with Olafur Eliasson, IKEA is now working with the performance artist and musician Solange Knowles. Through the partnership with her cultural company, Saint Heron, Knowles and artist Armina Mussa will “explore architectural and interior design objects with multifunctional use.” Marcus Engman, IKEA’s head of design, says he hopes the collaboration will delve into “the creative space in between architecture, design, art, and music.” (Apartment Therapy

A New Focus for Photography’s Biggest Prize – The Prix Pictet, the $101,000 Swiss photography prize for work that deals with environmental sustainability, announced the theme for its 2019 edition during the French photography festival, the Rencontres d’Arles. Shifting gears from previous editions, the new theme will be “hope”—perhaps a response to today’s widespread anxiety over the environment. Over the next year, artists who create work related to the theme will be nominated; shortlisted works will be shown work at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum next fall. (NYT)


Sculpture Tops Christie’s Old Master Sales – The auction house’s evening sale brought in £25.8 million ($34.4 million), but the highest price of the day was actually achieved earlier at Christie’s Exceptional sale. A bronze sculpture by Ferdinando Tacca titled Hercules Overcoming Acheloüs (1640–1650), sold for £5.8 million ($7.7 million), a new record for the artist. (The Art Newspaper)

Suffragette Archive to Be Sold at Auction – To celebrate the centenary of some women in the UK gaining the right to vote, Catherine Southon Auctioneer & Valuers will sell the archive of a Welsh suffragette on July 25. The archive chronicling women’s rights activist Kate Evans’s dedication to the cause (including poems from her 54-day stint in Holloway prison and a rare silver suffragette Hunger Strike medal) is expected to bring in between £8,000 and £10,000. (Artdaily)

Celebrities Boost the Market for Old Masters – Dealers and auction houses are trying to engage new audiences in European Old Masters, a sector that only made up only seven percent of art auction sales last year. Pre-20th century art has been thrown into focus recently by Jay-Z and Beyoncé, who set their latest music video among the masterpieces in the Louvre, and Victoria Beckham, who showed Old Master portraits in her flagship store in Mayfair ahead of Sotheby’s $56.3 million auction. (NYT)

The Other Art Fair Will Return to Melbourne – The Saatchi Art-organized fair for emerging artists will return to Melbourne Art Week for the second year between August 2 and 5. It will be held at The Facility in Kensington. (Artdaily)


Creative Time Raises Its Final Flag – The public art project Pledges of Allegiance has raised its last flag. Since last year’s Flag Day on June 14, 2017, 16 artists commissioned by the nonprofit have designed a flag that touches on an issue they care about. The last flag, by Josephine Meckseper, contains two oil patches and references the polarization of America under Trump’s administration. It will travel to 13 partner institutions across the US. (Artforum)

World’s Largest Digital Museum Has Opened in Japan – The real estate company Mori Building and the massive art collective teamLab have finally opened the doors of their 107,000-square-foot digital art museum in Tokyo. Some 470 projectors and 520 computers create epic simulations across five exhibition “zones.” (Smithsonian)

Joseph Beuys’s Public Artwork Is Unearthed – Beuys’s only public artwork is partially being removed to protect it from surrounding construction in Chelsea, New York. Art handlers are temporarily uprooting nine of the 37 stones that comprise 7000 Oaks until building work on the street is complete. (Hyperallergic)


Dalí’s Muse Gets a Show of Her OwnDalí’s main muse and companion Elena Diakonova, better known as Gala, is finally getting her own exhibition at Barcelona’s National Art Museum of Catalonia. Gathering some 300 objects including letters, sketches by Dalí, clothes, and other personal items, “Gala Salvador Dalí” charts the role Diakonova played in Dalí’s creative process. (Press release)

How Architects Use VR – Architects have long employed scale models to display design plans. But now, some architects are using virtual reality to take things up a notch and offer clients (and themselves) a sense of what a space might feel like. “Virtual reality is the closest thing to seeing that is on a one-to-one scale,” says Arne Emerson of Morphosis Architects in Culver City. (Los Angeles Times

Barack Obama Visits Guernica During a two-day private visit to Spain, the former president made some time for a private tour of the Reina Sofia museum with the President of Spain. He paused to admire Picasso’s most famous masterwork, Guernica, as well as a several paintings by Dalí. (Euro Weekly)

King Felipe VI of Spain (L) and former President Barack Obama (R) view Picasso’s “Guernica” as they visit Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid, Spain. Photo by Handout/Casa Real/Getty Images.

King Felipe VI of Spain (L) and former President Barack Obama (R) visit Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid, Spain. Photo by Handout/Casa Real/Getty Images.

King Felipe VI of Spain (L) and former President Barack Obama (R) visit Reina Sofia Museum. Photo by Handout/Casa Real/Getty Images.

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