Art Industry News: Christo Delays His Plans to Wrap the Arc de Triomphe to Protect Nesting Birds + Other Stories

Plus, Wright and Rago auction houses will merge and Anna Wintour helps pick the Met's first vogueing champion.

Christo, L’Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped (Project for Paris - Place de l’Etoile – Charles de Gaulle). © 2019 Christo. Photo: André Grossmann.

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 13.


How Women in the Art World Make Motherhood Work – Artists Tracey Emin and Marina Abramovic have said motherhood is career suicide—but four successful working mothers have a different perspective. Ahead of a panel at Art Basel this week about parenting in the art world, artists Rana Begum and Helen Benigson, art dealer Dominique Lévy, and Frieze fairs director Victoria Siddall discuss how they make it work. Lévy says it can be particularly hard “when a school play clashes with an auction, or a client is in town at the same time as a parent-teacher meeting,” but that she can rely on her business partner to have her back. (The Art Newspaper

Mass Theft of Art by East Germany Revealed – Hundreds of works seized by East Germany from private German citizens before the country’s unification are held in the nation’s museums, a new study has found. The German Lost Art Foundation discovered that between 200 and 1,500 pieces in four museums have “dubious provenances.” In 1961, the Communist state seized the contents of thousands of safety deposit boxes, a trove the Stasi estimated at the time to be worth around $10 million. (TAN)

Birds Delay Christo’s Arc de Triomphe Wrap – The veteran artist’s much-anticipated wrapping of the Paris monument has been delayed from spring 2020 until the fall. The postponement is not due to sluggish permitting or engineering challenges, but instead because of birds—specifically, kestrel falcons, who nest in the Arc de Triomphe in the spring. With the blessing of the League for the Protection of Birds, Christo’s temporary intervention is now due to run from September 19 through October 4. The environmentally aware artist will cover the arch in 25,000 square meters of silvery blue recyclable fabric, which will be tied down with 7,000 meters of red rope. (Le Figaro

Hong Kong’s Venice Pavilion Closes in Solidarity With Protests – The Hong Kong pavilion at the Venice Biennale shuttered for the day yesterday, June 12, in solidarity with mass protests against an anti-extradition bill back home. In Hong Kong, more than 100 arts organizations closed or allowed workers to strike against the controversial proposed law, which would see fugitives extradited to mainland China. The Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei appeared on television to defend the protests and to warn that the escalating violence of the police response could result in a grave repeat of the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989. (Hyperallergic)


Wright and Rago Auction Houses Will Merge – Wright—a Chicago- and New York-based auction house that specializes in design—and the New Jersey-based Rago are joining forces. Wright founder Richard Wright will operate as CEO of both companies post-merger. According to Wright, the two companies generate a combined $65 million in sales and together will employ 75 people. (ARTnews)

A “Frequent Flier” Lands in Basel – Just over a year after Peter Doig’s painting The Architect’s Home in the Ravine sold at auction for $20 million, it popped up at Gagosian’s Art Basel booth for $25 million. The reason? The work’s owner, Abdallah Chatila, had paid a fee of around $1 million to place an irrevocable bid on the work at auction—and when no one made a higher offer, he was stuck with it. The work has been offered at auction five times since 2002, making it a so-called “frequent flier.” (Bloomberg)

Salon 94 Nabs a New HQ in Upper East Side – The gallery has secured a new headquarters on Manhattan’s Upper East Side at 3 East 89th Street, not far from the Guggenheim Museum. Gallery founder Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn hopes to consolidate its program across its existing three spaces on the Upper and Lower East Sides. (ARTnews)


The Opening of the Humboldt Forum Is Postponed – The launch of Berlin’s controversial Humboldt Forum has been delayed until 2020. The new home of the city’s ethnographic collections was due to partially open in the fall, but fixing defects in the €600 million ($677 million) building, which is a partial replica of a royal castle, has delayed its opening. (FAZ)

Studio Museum Names a Chief Fundraiser – The Harlem museum has appointed Chakshu Patel as its director of institutional advancement. She will oversee the institution’s capital and annual fundraising initiatives and hold other management roles. She joins the growing museum after an 11-year stint at the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. (ARTnews)

Phillips Collection Gets a Major Collection of French Art – The Phillips Collection in Washington, DC, has been promised a collection of work by Les Nabis artists, which includes pieces by Félix Vallotton, Pierre Bonnard, and Édouard Vuillard. The gift comes from the collector Roger Sant and his late wife, Vicki, who was a trustee of the museum. (ARTnews)


Lawsuit Over Warhol’s Prince Heats Up – Lawyers for the Andy Warhol Foundation and the photographer Lynn Goldsmith went to court this week over an ongoing case focused on the late artist’s 1984 silkscreen of Prince. Goldsmith claims Warhol violated her copyright of a 1981 portrait of the musician that she shot for Newsweek. The artist’s foundation has called the claim a “shakedown.” (ARTnews)

SFMOMA Teams Up With Warriors’ Stadium – The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is loaning works from its collection to the new Chase Center, the future home of the city’s basketball team. When the stadium opens this fall, it will boast a 700-pound mobile by Alexander Calder, a sculpture by Isamu Noguchi, and several other works. Under the terms of the partnership, the stadium will install four major works borrowed from or commissioned by SFMOMA. (San Francisco Chronicle)

Anna Wintour Judges the Met’s Battle of the Ballroom – The Vogue editor and Costume Institute supremo Anna Wintour joined fellow judges on the steps of the Met to judge a vogueing contest tied to the museum’s current camp-themed fashion exhibition. Six competitors faced off in pairs for the title of Legend Slayer. “This will forever go down in history as a moment in New York City where the ballroom community got to become part of the exhibit that is the Met,” José Gutierez-Xtravaganza, a choreographer and Wintour’s fellow judge, declared. (Garage)

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