Art Industry News: Seth Rogen’s Acclaimed Pot Art Enters New Territory as One Dank Vessel Sells for $10,000 at Auction + Other Stories

Plus, looted Ethiopian artifacts are pulled from auction, and Germany's Haus der Kulturen der Welt names a new director.

Seth Rogen attends the 33rd American Cinematheque Award at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on November 8, 2019 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Amy Sussman/FilmMagic)

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 Thursday, June 17.


Looted Artifacts Returned to Ethiopia From U.K. Auction – A regional auction house in the U.K. has withdrawn from sale two objects that British troops looted from Ethiopia during the 1868 Battle of Maqdala. Busby Auctioneers in Dorset withdrew the leather-bound Coptic bible and set of horn beakers after the Ethiopian embassy in London wrote to the house, asking it to “stop the cycle of dispossession.” The items are valued at around £700 ($978); the Ethiopian embassy is now in talks with the seller to secure their return. (Guardian)

Haus der Kulturen der Welt Names New Director – Curator and author Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung will be the next director of Berlin’s Haus der Kulturen der Welt. Ndikung holds a doctorate in medical biotechnology, founded Berlin gallery Savvy Contemporary, and served as a curator at large for documenta 14. He will succeed Bernd M. Scherer on January 1, 2023. (Artforum)

A Seth Rogen Vase Just Sold for Six Figures – One of Seth Rogen’s coveted (and actually pretty good) bumpy ceramic vases just sold for $10,000 at auction. Rogen, who has said he isn’t interested in marketing this particular pot hobby, donated the signed sculpture to raise money for the Vancouver Art Gallery. (TMZ)

Will Paris Take the Art-Market Mantle From London? – Melanie Gerlis tracks the rise of Paris as an art-market hub. The trend has been supported by France’s strong market for luxury goods, its progressive approach to restitution, and the continued buying power of its billionaires. But perhaps more than anything else, this piece of the Brexit deal pushed things over the edge: “Since Brexit, buyers must pay a 20 percent UK import VAT on EU-consigned luxury items sold in London.” (ARTnews)


Lucian Freud’s Portrait of Hockney Comes to Sotheby’s – A 2002 portrait of David Hockney by Lucian Freud will lead Sotheby’s June 29 British art evening sale in London. The work is estimated to sell for as much as £12 million ($16.8 million). (Observer)

Xavier Hufkens to Rep McArthur Binion – The Brussels gallery has announced representation of the Chicago-based painter, whose work blends minimalism with his own personal history. He will continue to be represented by Lehmann Maupin, Massimo De Carlo, and Richard Gray. Binion’s work will be included in a group exhibition this summer at Xavier Hufkens, followed by a solo show in fall 2022. (Press release)


Carnegie Museum Announces Curatorial Team for Next International – Sohrab Mohebbi, the curator of the next edition of the influential Carnegie International, has brought on a local curatorial team that includes associate curator Ryan Inouye and curatorial assistant Talia Heiman. The exhibition, which is held at the Carnegie Museum in Pittsburgh every five years, will run from September 24, 2022 to April 2, 2023. (Press release)

Angela Su Will Rep Hong Kong at the Venice Biennale – Artist Angela Su will represent Hong Kong at a collateral pavilion during the 2022 Venice Biennale. Su is known for her gothic, biomorphic drawings and pseudo-documentaries focused on the interrelations between humans and technology. The pavilion will be guest curated by Taiwanese curator Freya Chou. (SCMP)


Seattle Art Museum to Overhaul Its American Galleries – Over the next two years, the Seattle Art Museum plans to transform its American art galleries with the help of three American artists and 10 local experts. The artists who will dig into the collection are: Nicholas Galanin, a Tlingit and Unangax̂ artist and musician from Alaska; Wendy Red Star, a Portland-based member of the Apsáalooke (Crow) tribe; and Inye Wokoma, a Seattle-based visual artist. (The Art Newspaper)

Long-Lost Pride Flag Returns to San Francisco – The original 30-by-60-foot rainbow flag created by gay activist and artist Gilbert Baker in 1978 for the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day celebrations is now on view at the GLBT Historical Society Museum and Archive in the city. The flag, which had traveled to New York after Baker’s death in 2017, was authenticated last year, and forms the centerpiece of an exhibition about Baker’s art and activism. (KQED)

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