Art Industry News: Christie’s Will Sell an Early Replica of the Mona Lisa Once Passionately Asserted to Be the Real Thing + Other Stories

Plus, Barcelona's city council rejects a proposed Hermitage Museum site and satellite imagery shows destruction of Armenian heritage.

Follower of Leonardo da Vinci, Hekking’s Mona Lisa. Estimate: €200,000–300,000. © Christie's Images Ltd 2021.

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, June 1.


Declassified Satellite Images Show Disappearance of Armenian Churches – Recently surfaced satellite images taken during the Cold War in the 1970s show the disappearance of Armenian churches and cemeteries in Azerbaijan, affirming eyewitness accounts that have long been denied by authorities in the Nakhichevan region. Further Armenian heritage sites are currently deemed at risk after around 1,000 sites fell to Azerbaijan following a ceasefire to the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh war. (The Art Newspaper)

Barcelona Council Rejects Hermitage Proposal – Barcelona’s city council has rejected a proposal to build a branch of the Hermitage Museum in the city. The local authorities put the brakes on the plan after the port authority gave it the green light because the proposal would put too much demand on public transport and add traffic to an already busy neighborhood near the port. The council has invited a new proposal for an alternative location. (Guardian)

JR Is Creating Work at the Pyramids in Egypt – The French artist JR, who recently created a trompe l’oeil photocollage at the base of the Eiffel Tower, is taking on another iconic site. He has revealed that he will be creating a new work at the Pyramids in Giza, Cairo, in October. “I’ve never been so excited to work on a project,” JR said. The installation will be part of an exhibition organized by Art d’Egypte, a company that stages contemporary art exhibitions at historic sites. (TAN)

Allegations of Sexism and Racism Roil UCL Architecture School – A dossier compiled by a former student of UCL’s architecture school the Bartlett contains allegations of sexism and racism at the leading university going back a decade. Shocking testimonials from 21 students recount inappropriate comments from leadership about appearance and race, and professors driving female students to tears. (Guardian)


Christie’s to Offer Early Replica of Mona Lisa – Christie’s Paris will sell the Hekking Mona Lisa, the famous early 17th century replica of Leonardo da Vinci’s famous painting, online from June 11 to 18. The work—named after its owner Raymond Hekking, who passionately advocated that his version was the original—is estimated to fetch up to €300,000. (Press release)

Christina Quarles Joins Hauser & Wirth – The Los Angeles-based painter whose contorted forms expand notions of identity has signed with the mega-gallery Hauser & Wirth. Pilar Corrias will continue to rep Quarles in London. (Artnet News)


Art Fund Launches Reimagine Grants – The U.K. charity Art Fund has launched a new series of emergency funding grants worth a combined £2 million for museums and galleries. Public cultural venues can apply for these “reimagine grants” of between £5,000 and £50,000 before July 5. (Press release)

Artis Dani Karavan Dies at 90 – One of Israel’s most prominent sculptors, Karavan created a relief mural installed in the Knesset chamber in 1965 as well as the Negev Brigade memorial outside of Be’er Sheva and the design for Habima Square in Tel Aviv. The Israel Prize laureate, who worked in Tel Aviv, Paris, and Florence, is considered a pioneer in Israel of landscape and environmental sculpture. (Haaretz)


Brexit Art Show Opens in Paris – Paris’s Hôtel de Coulanges is hosting the first chapter of a cross-Channel amateur art show celebrating the relationship between the U.K. and the E.U. despite Brexit. “I Love You, Moi Non Plus,” which includes some 20 works, will open at London’s Somerset House next month. (Guardian)

This Artist Is Paying People to Howl – Why take out an Artforum ad to promote your next show when you can make a public spectacle instead? Artist Jamie Holman paid 150 people £10 to take part in a wild performance at Preston’s Brutalist bus station in the U.K. on Sunday. The artist had everyone howl like wolves to mark his forthcoming exhibition memorializing the last wild wolf killed in England. (Guardian, Twitter)


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.