Art Industry News: A Rampaging Toddler Knocked Over a $50,000 Artwork at Art Basel + Other Stories

Plus, 91 percent of the pledges to repair Notre Dame remain unpaid and a Babe Ruth jersey sets a new auction record.

A small child. Artworks, beware. (Photo by Tim Graham/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 Monday, June 17.


Protest Grows Against Hong Kong Extradition Bill – Nearly two million people, including artists and arts workers, are estimated to have marched in the streets of Hong Kong against a controversial extradition bill that was suspended following the backlash—but not scrapped entirely. Many of the protestors have demanded the resignation of the special territory’s chief executive, Carrie Lam, who has now apologized for the proposed law permitting suspects of crimes to be extradited to Mainland China. The exiled Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, who has expressed his support of the protests, reposted footage on Instagram of the death of a demonstrator who fell from scaffolding after unfurling a banner on Saturday night and images of a shrine created where the man died. (BBC)

Why Damien Hirst Doesn’t Just Want to Sell Art to “Rich Guys” – The artist is returning to his Yorkshire roots for the inaugural sculpture triennial in the North of England. As his monumental works go on view at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park and in his home city of Leeds, Hirst says the open-air display is the way he likes to show his work. “You put a painting in an art gallery, some rich guy buys it and it’s gone,” Hirst says. “But if you’re lucky, you can make an outdoor sculpture and have a huge effect on a whole town.” (Yorkshire Post)

Toddler Knocks Over $50,000 Fly Sculpture at Basel – A cautionary tale for anyone who wishes to take toddlers to an art fair: keep a close eye on them! A three-year-old visiting Art Basel with her mother last week reportedly knocked Fliege (Fly), a sculpture of a fly by the German artist Katharina Fritsch on display at Matthew Marks, off its plinth and sent it, well, flying. An Art Basel spokeswoman acknowledged the incident and said the gallery had concluded the work was not damaged. (The Art Newspaper)

91 Percent of Notre Dame Pledges Remain Unpaid – Less than 10 percent of the funds pledged to rebuild the great cathedral have been delivered to date, France’s culture ministry has revealed. Only $80 million of the $955 million total has been paid, mostly in small sums given by ordinary people. The Pinault and Arnault families, both led by billionaire art collectors, promised to donate €300 million ($336 million) between them after the devastating fire. The Archbishop of Paris, Michel Aupetit, says he expects some pledges will not come through, but more likely most of the money will be handed over as recovery work advances. On Saturday, Aupetit led a small service in a side chapel of Notre Dame; clergy wore hard hats. (AFP)


Auctioneer Admits Buying and Selling at His Own Sales – Rodney Menzies, the owner of the Australian auction house Menzies Art Brands, has outed himself as the seller of 10 lots in an upcoming sale, including works by Auguste Rodin and Jean Arp that he initially purchased through the auction house. In the past, Menzies has not always disclosed his financial interest in sales and purchases, leading some to claim he had distorted the house’s results. (Sydney Morning Herald)

Babe Ruth’s Jersey Sells for $5.6 Million – The baseball legend’s New York Yankees jersey from 1928 to 1930 sold for $5.6 million at Hunt Auctions, setting a new record for sports memorabilia at auction. The previous record for the category, $4.4 million, was set in 2012 for another Babe Ruth jersey. (AFP)

Meet the Auction World’s Rising Stars – The Wall Street Journal has named five artists as the next potential market stars—and only two of them are men. The list includes Christina Quarles, Jordan Casteel, Avery Singer, Harold Ancart, and Nicholas Party. Want to know more? Check out artnet News’s profiles of Casteel, Singer, and Ancart. (Wall Street Journal)


Art Basel’s Baloise Art Prize Awarded – Paris-based painter Xinyi Cheng and Amsterdam-based artist Giulia Cenci have won Art Basel’s Baloise Art Prize, which comes with CHF 30,000 ($30,000). Baloise, a Swiss insurance holding company, will also donate to their works to the Nationalgalerie-Staatliche Museen zu Berlin and the Grand Duke Jean Museum of Modern Art (MUDAM) in Luxembourg. (ARTnews)

VALIE EXPORT Wins Swiss Award – The Austrian performance artist VALIE EXPORT is the winner of this year’s Roswitha Haftmann Prize, awarded to a living artist who has created an outstanding body of work. Waltraud Höllinger—who has been using the name VALIE EXPORT as an alias since the 1960s—will receive the CHF 150,000 ($150,000) award in September at a ceremony at the Kunsthaus Zürich. (Art Daily)

Istanbul Biennial Releases Artist List – The 16th edition of the exhibition, due to open in September and curated by Nicolas Bourriaud, has released its list of 57 participating artists, including some collectives. The lineup includes prominent figures such as Glenn Ligon, Rashid Johnson, and Andrea Zittel alongside lesser-known artists like Dora Budor, Jennifer Tee, and Ylva Snöfrid. (ARTnews)


Is MOCA on the Rebound? – Los Angeles Times art critic Christopher Knight visits three new exhibitions at Los Angeles’s Museum of Contemporary Art and suggests that “following a tumultuous decade of fiscal and operational difficulties, MOCA may just be on a welcome—and timely—rebound.” The new shows include a “savvy” exhibition organized by artist Elliott Hundley, a new display of the museum’s collection, and “40 for LA,” which examines the museum’s history ahead of its 40th birthday this year. (Los Angeles Times)

Jennifer Lawrence Dishes on Her Art-Dealer Fiancé – The director of New York’s Gladstone Gallery, Cooke Maroney, is a key figure in Hollywood’s growing and trendy love affair with “art boys.” In a podcast, Lawrence explains their love at first sight: “I just met Cooke and I wanted to marry him. We wanted to marry each other. We wanted to commit fully. He’s my best friend so I want to legally bind him to me forever. And fortunately the paperwork exists for such a thing.” (The Cut)

America’s Best Museum Labels Are in Delaware – Sometimes, the difference between a good show and a great one is compelling labels. This often unsung element of exhibitions is the subject of the American Alliance of Museums’ label-writing awards. This year, the Delaware Art Museum took home two awards for the labels that accompanied its exhibition “Memories of the Southern Civil Rights Movement.” The museum invited local African American leaders to craft the text, including their own personal memories, to accompany photographs by Danny Lyon. (Art Daily)

Steve Wynn’s Koons Popeye Heads to a Boston Casino – Jeff Koons’s $28 million sculpture of the cartoon character Popeye, purchased by casino magnate-turned-private dealer Steve Wynn in 2014, is headed to the new Encore casino at Boston Harbor. Roger Thomas, executive vice president of design for Wynn Design & Development, said he selected the work to play into the casino’s so-called “evoca-tecture,” which he defines in a very Koonsian manner as “architecture that evokes wonderful moments in people’s lives.” (MassLive)

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