Art Industry News: MoMA Reveals Its Long-Anticipated Building Revamp + More Must-Read Stories

Plus, Andres Serrano's Piss Christ will be shown in Texas and Ai Weiwei poses as a drowned Syrian refugee—again.

Martin Kippenberger posters in "Martin Kippenberger: The Problem Perspective" at the Museum of Modern Art
Photo: Courtesy Walter Robinson

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, June 1.


Queer Refugee Group Steals documenta 14 Artwork – Members of an LGBTQI+ refugee group in Greece stole Replica of Oath Stone by Roger Bernat by hijacking a performance that involved handing the limestone sculpture off to different community groups. They say they stole the work—an action they call “rockumenta14″—to give a voice to queer refugees in Greece. (Artforum)

MoMA Debuts First Phase of Expansion – To avoid repeating “the dogmatism of the past,” in the words of curator Ann Temkin, the new expansion plan, unveiled today, moves away from the constricting focus on established artists and medium-specific galleries, towards a more expansive embrace of works of all media, organized by decade and theme. (New York Times)

Prominent Art Dealing Family Suspected of Handling ISIS-Looted Antiquities – Authorities in the US and Europe are investigating brothers Ali and Hicham Aboutaam, who maintain family galleries called Phoenix Ancient Art in New York City and Geneva. (Wall Street Journal)

How Two Museums Deal With Cultural Appropriation – Dana Schutz’s Open Casket at the Whitney Biennial and Sam Durant’s Scaffold at the Walker Art Center raised questions about whether white artists should comment on experiences that aren’t their own. Here’s a side-by-side comparison of the controversies—and the fallout. (NYT)

‘Piss Christ’ to Be Shown in Trump’s America – The work that ignited the culture wars in the 1980s is back. It will be shown at the artist Andres Serrano’s exhibition at the Station Museum of Contemporary Art in Houston, Texas, for the first time during the Trump administration (June 3–October 8). (The Art Newspaper)


Christie’s South Kensington Will Close on July 29 – Originally expected to close “by the end of the year,” the salesroom on Old Brompton Road now has a concrete move-out date. (Antiques Trade Gazette)

Katherine Kerr Takes Up Directorship Position at Phillips – Katherine Kerr, previously of Ruth Catone and Sotheby’s, is joining Phillips as the new Director of its Top Client Program and Valuations Manager for 20th Century & Contemporary Art. (Press release)


New Education Curator at Birmingham Museum – Rachel White has joined the Birmingham Museum of Art as Curator of Education, coming to the institution from a post as Assistant Curator of Education at the Hunter Museum of American Art. (Press release)

Obama’s Presidential Library Has Found a Director – Louise Bernard, who was previously Director of Exhibitions at the New York Public Library, has been named Director of the former President’s library, located in Chicago. (Twitter)

New York’s Mount Tremper Arts Appoints Executive Director – Crystal Wei will be responsible for strategic planning as well as general management of the experimental organization and performance space. (Artforum)


Ai Weiwei Poses as Drowned Syrian Refugee—Again – The Chinese artist has cast himself in the role of drowned toddler and Syrian refugee Alan Kurdi, this time at his Kui Hua Zi (Sunflower Seeds) installation at the Israel Museum. (TAN)

Google Upgrades Virtual Museum Visits – Though the Google Maps program already provided the option to view museums on Street View, the newest edition will allow users to read annotations about artworks and zoom in on high resolution images. (TIME)

Cleveland Triennial Announces Artist Residency Program – The program, called “FRONT,” will bring together six international artists in the fall of 2017, who will produce new work to be unveiled at the 2018 triennial—Cleveland’s first, titled An American City. (Press release)

Denmark’s Little Mermaid Statue is Vandalized Yet AgainEdvard Eriksen’s Little Mermaid statue in Copenhagen, which is a tribute to prolific Danish author Hans Christian Andersen, has been doused in red paint in an apparent effort to bring negative attention to the practice of whale hunting. (TIME)

Red paint covers the vandalized tourist attraction The Little Mermaid in Copenhagen on Tuesday May 30 2017. Image Courtesy Jens Dresling/ Ritzau Foto via AP.

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