Art Industry News: Kim Jong-un’s Crusade to Create Fantastical Architecture + More Must-Read Stories

Plus, artists decry the repeal of net neutrality and Frida Kahlo's role in the rise of "Fridolatry."

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (C) attending a ribbon cutting ceremony for the inaugural ceremony of the Ryomyong Street complex in Pyongyang. Photo: STR/AFP/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 Tuesday, June 12.


Artists Decry End of Net Neutrality – The art community is squarely against the repeal of net neutrality, which goes into effect today. “From future projects to existing and archived endeavors, the end of net neutrality could have all manner of unexpected and unpleasant impacts on artists’ work with the web,” reports Paddy Johnson. (Hyperallergic)

The Birthplace of Fridolatry – Frida Kahlo’s image has been appropriated by curators, historians, artists, actors, activists, Mattel, and Madonna. But the artist herself helped launch such “Fridolatry,” argues Valeria Luiselli, and the modernist home-studio she shared with Diego Rivera was its birthplace. “The couple were, perhaps, Mexico’s first performance artists.” (Guardian)

Kim Jong-un Plans a “Socialist Fairyland” – An official slogan of the Pyongyang regime is “turn the whole country into a socialist fairyland,” argues Guardian architecture critic Oliver Wainwright in Inside North Korea, a topical new book from Taschen. Kim Jong-un has initiated a wave of “candy-coloured, fantastical architecture” and futuristic towers “worthy of scenes from The Jetsons“—gaudy taste in building he shares with Donald Trump. (Guardian)’

Where There’s Art There’s Hope – “The art world is easy to dislike,” the New York Times‘s T magazine declares, teasing its “inaugural online art issue.” But it promises to focus on the positives over the next two weeks (coinciding with Art Basel). Things to look forward to include profiles of photographer Nan Goldin’s anti-opioid crusade, the rise of a new wave of black art dealers, and Agnes Denes getting her due for pioneering Land Art. (New York Times/T Magazine)


The New Wave of Fine Art Financialization – Investors see art as an opportunity—but rather than buying works to flip in a volatile market, they are developing new strategies. These include cashing in on loans secured against artworks, taking advantage of lucrative auction guarantees, and developing ways for people to buy “shares” in art. (NYT)

Beethoven Score Expected to Sell for $350,000 – An 1809 manuscript of ideas for the second and third movements of the German composer’s Emperor Concerto—his most performed piano concerto—will go on sale at Bonhams in New York today. The two-page document is being sold by an anonymous consignor. (Times)

Turner Watercolor Heads to Sotheby’s – J.M.W. Turner’s 1842 The Lake of Lucerne from Brunnen will go under the hammer in the auction house’s London sale of Old Master and British works on paper on July 4. The work, part of the artist’s Swiss landscape series completed towards the end of his life, is expected to make between £1.2 million and £1.8 million ($1.6 million–$2.4 million). (Press release)

Chinese Vase in a Shoebox Sells for $19 Million – An imperial porcelain vase from China has sold at Sotheby’s Paris for more than 30 times its estimate. The rare Famille Rose, or Yangcai, porcelain was bought to the auction house in a shoebox by the owner, who had inherited it. (Press Release)


ArtPrize Names New Artist Director – Kevin Buist has been appointed the artistic director of the Grand Rapids, Michigan-based nonprofit, which donates over $500,000 in prizes to artists internationally. Buist was formerly director of exhibitions and has been with the organization since its founding in 2009. (Artforum)

Pauline Boudry and Renate Lorenz Tapped for Swiss Pavilion – The Berlin-based duo have been selected to represent Switzerland at the next Venice Biennale. Charlotte Laubard, co-founder of the Société Suisse des Nouveaux Commanditaires, will curate the pavilion. (ARTnews)

Marco Godinho to Represent Luxembourg in Venice The Portuguese-Luxembourgish artist has been tapped to represent Luxembourg in the 2019 Venice Biennale. Godinho, who is known for his sculptures, was selected from 20 artistic submissions. (Luxembourg Times)

Wexner Center Invests $200,000 in Four Artists Edmund de Waal, Mark Lomax II, Barbara Hammer, and Bill Morrison are the winners of the 2018–19 residency at Wexner Center for the Arts at Ohio State University. Each year, the winning artists altogether receive a total of $200,000. (Artforum)


Artist’s Anti-Putin World Cup Posters Go Viral – Andriy Yermolenko has released a series of skull-themed posters for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, which is being hosted by Russia this year. His ominous imagery references the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 in Ukraine in 2014 and the poisoning of former spy Sergey Skripal with a Novichok nerve agent in the UK. (Kyiv Post)

Ed Ruscha Distances Himself From Kanye  – The artist shares his thoughts on the rise of Trump and Kanye West’s new album Ye, the text-art cover of which appears inspired by Ruscha’s word paintings. “I think that could have come from anywhere,” he says. “All art comes out of other art, but I don’t see my influence that widely.” (Guardian)

Egypt Upset by Replica Sphinx in China – Following replicas of both the Eiffel Tower and the White House, China has now erected a replica Sphinx—and the Egyptian government is not happy. Cairo’s government has appealed to UNESCO to have the structure dismantled, calling it an insult to its heritage. (Times)

First Glimpse Inside the Serpentine Pavilion – The Mexican architect Frida Escobedo’s summer pavilion is “low-key” and “sensual,” writes Rob Wilson. She has designed a courtyard space using standard stacked concrete tiles surrounding a pool, giving this low-cost material found across the UK an elegant Mexican twist. See the architect in the space with actress Salma Hayek, channeling the spirit of Frida Kahlo. (Architects’ Journal)

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