Art Industry News: Thousands of People Want Jeff Bezos to Buy the Mona Lisa… and Eat It? + Other Stories

Plus, work begins next month to realize Christo's dream of wrapping the Arc de Triomphe, and top pros offer tips on how to buy art.

Leonardo da Vinci, Mona Lisa (1503–1517). Courtesy of the Louvre.

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 15.


The Pompidou President Gives an Exit Interview – Ahead of his retirement later this month, Centre Pompidou president Serge Lasvignes reflects on what he has achieved since he took the role in 2015. “Everything I announced at the beginning, I achieved,” he said. Those goals included making the institution—which includes a museum, library, and cinema—a multidisciplinary space as it was originally conceived and spearheading the construction of a single entry point to the complex. (Le Monde)

Klaus Lederer Says Benin Bronzes Should Only Ever Be Shown on Loan – Berlin’s senator for culture, Klaus Lederer, has voiced his opinion that the Benin Bronzes should only be shown on loan at the city’s splashy new Humboldt Forum. “The stuff is stolen,” Lederer put it bluntly last Friday, stressing the need to apply pressure to the topic lest it slip from the public eye. (Monopol)

People Want Jeff Bezos to Buy the Mona Lisa… and Eat It? – Don’t you just love the internet sometimes? An absurd online petition urging the Amazon founder and world’s richest man to buy the Mona Lisa and eat it has garnered more than 5,500 supporters. Their reasoning is succinct: “Nobody has eaten the mona lisa and we feel jeff bezos needs to take a stand and make this happen.” The drive is supported by a slew of very earnest trolls, whose salient arguments include “gobble da lisa” (Angel Flores) and “Chow down jeffyboy” (Ben Parnham). (Hyperallergic)

Gwangju Biennale President Responds to Allegations – The outgoing president of the Gwangju Biennale, Sunjung Kim, has said that union claims of misconduct, including a lack of transparency and retaliation, are “unfounded.” Defending herself in an online statement, she said she had been trying to reform the opaque management systems in place at the biennial: “During this process, I drew upon my 30-year experience as a curator and eagerly sought the advice of the local artistic community as well as international colleagues if the issues were beyond my expertise.” (ARTnews)


Kazunori Hamana Is Now Represented by Blum & Poe – The Chiba, Japan-based ceramicist, who divides his time working as an organic rice farmer, a fisherman, and an artist, will have a solo exhibition at Blum & Poe’s Los Angeles location in September. It will be his third presentation with the gallery. (Press release)

Tips From the Pros on How to Buy Art – Have you ever wondered how to actually, you know, buy art? magazine has put together a handy guide as part of its annual art issue. Among the nuggets of advice from top-notch experts: “Gallerists can be assholes, but go introduce yourself,” says dealer Maggie Kayne. (T magazine)


Daniel Arsham Joins NFT Certification Company – The Los Angeles-based lawyer Jeff Gluck and artist Daniel Arsham have teamed up on a new NFT certification and universal minting API aimed at cracking down on fake NFTs. CXIP is likened to “Twitter’s blue check mark” and will be headed by Gluck, with Arsham serving as chief creative officer. (Press release)

Harvard Art Museums Names New American Art Curator – Horace D. Ballard, who currently serves as curator of American art at the Williams College of Art in Massachusetts, will take on the same role at the Harvard Art Museums beginning September 1. His research interests include 18th- and 19th-century portraiture of the Atlantic World and the history of photography. (Press release)


Man Accused of Vandalizing Gormley Sculpture Cleared – James Evans has been cleared of criminal damage in court after he spray-painted the sculpture Clasp by Antony Gormley at Newcastle University back in May 2019. He pleaded not guilty because, according to his lawyer, “he had an honest belief the artist would not have minded what he did.” (The Art Newspaper)

Work Begins Next Month on Wrapping the Arc de Triomphe – The late Bulgarian artist Christo’s final wish to wrap the Arc de Triomphe in Paris will finally happen in September. Work on the €14 million ($16.9 million) project to encase the monument in blue fabric is slated to begin next month. (Guardian)

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

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

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