Art Industry News: Kanye West Is Designing Homeless Shelters Inspired by ‘Star Wars’ + Other Stories

Plus, a Texas woman gives a huge gift to the Musée d'Orsay and the High Museum has launched a dating app for art.

Kanye West. Photo: Rich Fury/Getty Images for Coachella.

Art Industry News is normally 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 Friday, July 12.


A Texas Woman Gives Another Big Gift to the Musée d’Orsay – Marlene Hays, who with her late husband Spencer Hays has already given 187 works of art to the Paris museum, is donating another 106 pieces. Her latest gift consists of mostly Post-Impressionist works by artists like Matisse, Bonnard, Modigliani, and Camille Claudel. The couple, both native Texans, built a replica of an 18th-century Parisian mansion in Nashville, which they filled with French art. French Culture Minister Franck Riester praised Marlene Hays for the “exceptional gesture” of her new donation. (AFP)

The Pompidou Will Tour Its Collection Across Spain – The Centre Pompidou has signed a deal to send six high-profile exhibitions to venues across Spain that are run by CaixaForum, the cultural foundation of Spanish financial-services company CaixaBank. The centers—located in Madrid, Barcelona, Zaragoza, Girona, Tarragona, Lleida, as well as a planned space in Valencia—will show works from the Paris institution through to 2024. Pompidou president Serge Lasvignes told El Pais, “We’re not looking for blockbusters but cross-cutting and accessible exhibitions” heavy on photography, architecture, and design. However, a show on the theme of biomorphism will include works by Picasso, Miró, Calder, and Matisse. The Pompidou already lends works to a satellite in Málaga, Spain. (El Pais)

Kanye West Is Designing Shelters for the Homeless Inspired by Star Wars – Kanye West gave Forbes exclusive access to his LA home, the interiors of which are a “monastic” white. (Specialists from Belgium are on call in case the floor gets scuffed.) On the tour, West revealed his prototypes for new shelters for the homeless and people on low incomes that he has co-designed. The prefabricated structures are inspired by Luke Skywalker’s childhood home on Tatooine, he explained. Sharing the same austere aesthetic as his own home, West has devoted the same attention to designing them as he has the details of his Yeezy brand sneakers. “There’s a little bit of Lamborghini in everything I do,” West says, referring to the Italian car he has obsessed about since he was a teen. (Forbes) (Dezeen)

Heirs Continue Their Legal Battle With the Met for a Looted Picasso – The heirs of Paul Leffmann are no abandoning their legal fight to recover Picasso’s The Actor—a star work in the Metropolitan Museum of Art—filing a petition with the US Court of Appeals after judges recently ruled in the museum’s favor. Lawyers for Laurel Zuckerman argue that the Met did not fully investigate the donation of the picture in 1952, which the Nazis forced her great-granduncle to sell when he fled Germany with his wife in the 1930s. In a statement, Zuckermann complained about the Met’s “published provenance errors and misplaced documents.” (Press release)


A Judge Rules in Favor of the Glimchers in a Long-Running Agnes Martin Dispute – A New York judge has ruled that the committee overseeing the artist’s catalogue raisonné acted within its right when excluding 13 paintings owned by the dealer James Mayor. Mayor claims that Arne and Marc Glimcher have a conflict of interest because the Pace Gallery owners sit on the Agnes Martin authentication committee. Mayor plans to appeal. (ARTnews)

What We Can Learn From the 20th-Century’s Biggest Dealers – A curator at the Frick Collection, Charlotte Vignon, has written a new book about the Old Master and decorative art dealer Joseph Duveen and his brother Henry. Her account of their business success is a cautionary tale: Many of the paintings and art objects they imported from Europe and sold at huge markups to America’s plutocrats plummeted in value when the powerful dealers were no longer around to manipulate the market. (Bloomberg)


Animator of Dumbo and Fantasia Dead at 105 – Milton Quon, the animator who worked on Walt Disney’s Fantasia and Dumbo, has died at age 105. Quon’s son said that the cartoonist was drawing up until his last days. (Variety)

132 Years Later, Journalist Nellie Bly Gets a Monument – The intrepid 19th-century investigative journalist Nellie Bly will get a monument on Roosevelt Island in the East River—specifically, on the grounds of the insane asylum that she helped to shutter 132 years ago. Bly went undercover in 1887 to report on the brutality and abuse taking place on what was then called Blackwell Island’s boarding house for women with mental illnesses. The artist who will create the monument has not yet been selected, but will receive a budget of $500,000. (Hyperallergic)

Apartheid-Era Artist and Activist David Koloane Has Died – Koloane started communal art institutions at a time when black South Africans were not allowed in art schools or museums, and he became a crucial figure in the movement against apartheid as an administrator, curator, painter, and writer. The artist has died at 81 years old in his hometown of Johannesburg. (New York Times)

Michael Rakowitz and Others Will Create Art for the UK’s Coast – Seven artists will make new works for England’s southeast coast in summer 2020 for a project through Turner Contemporary called Waterfronts, to debut progressively between April and July 2020. Artists Michael Rakowitz, Holly Hendry, and Mariana Castillo Deball are some of the artists involved, with each planning to work with one of the seven seaside art organizations in the region that are collectively known as England’s Creative Coast. (Press release)


Vandals Target Billboard for Islamic Art Show – A billboard promoting an exhibition of Islamic art at the Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa was vandalized with the words “homegrown terror” on Tuesday. The billboard, which has already been replaced, showed a ceramic with an accompanying text that read, “1,200 years of Islamic Art.” (CNN)

John Legend and Issa Rae Join Fundraising Effort for Nina Simone’s Home – Musicians John Legend and Cat Stevens, as well as actors Issa Rae, and Mahershala Ali, are some of the high-profile supporters of a crowdfunding campaign to restore Nina Simone’s childhood home. In 2017, artists Ellen Gallagher, Rashid Johnson, Julie Mehretu, and Adam Pendleton bought Nina Simone’s childhood home in Tryon, North Carolina for $95,000 with the hope of preserving it. (ARTnews)

The High Museum Unveils New “Dating App for Art” – In order to improve its knowledge of visitor tastes as well as visitors’ experiences of its museum, the High Museum of Art in Atlanta has launched its Heartmatch app. Visitors can swipe left or right on artworks to help tailor their day at the museum and, hopefully, fall in love with some art at the same time. (American Alliance of Museums)

See the 2019 Audubon Photography Awards Winners – The 10th edition of the North American award dedicated to the wonders of bird life has announced its six winners for 2019. The top prize goes to photographer Kathrin Swoboda, who documented the cold morning breath of a singing red-winged blackbird (pictured bottom left). (Audubon

Audubon Photography Awards winners. Courtesy Audubon.

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