Art Industry News: To Mark Juneteenth, Portraits of Confederate Leaders Will Be Removed Permanently From the US Capitol Building + Other Stories

Plus, a judge extends the injunction blocking the removal of Virginia's Robert E. Lee statue and TEFAF gets a new chairman.

Architect of the Capitol maintenance workers remove a painting of former confederate House Speaker Howell Cobb of Georgia, from the east staircase of the Speakers lobby, on Capitol Hill. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/Pool/AFP via 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 on this Friday, June 19.


National Trust Comes Out in Favor of Statue Removal – The National Trust for Historic Preservation has issued a statement in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. “[M]ost Confederate monuments were intended to serve as a celebration of Lost Cause mythology and to advance the ideas of white supremacy,” the letter states. “Many of them still stand as symbols of those ideologies and sometimes serve as rallying points for bigotry and hate today. To many African Americans, they continue to serve as constant and painful reminders that racism is embedded in American society.” (Artfix Daily)

Virginia Judge Extends Injunction Blocking Removal of Lee Statue – A Virginia judge has extended an injunction that indefinitely blocks the removal of a 130-year-old monument to a Confederate general Robert E. Lee in Richmond. A lawyer for the defendant, who is a descendant of the author of the original deed, argued that it “guaranteed” the commonwealth would care for the statue in perpetuity. The governor of Virginia had made a motion to have the controversial monument taken down. (Courthouse News)

DC Capitol to Remove Portraits of Confederate Leaders – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that today, on Juneteenth, portraits of four house speakers who served in the Confederacy will be removed from the halls of the US Capitol in Washington, DC. Former speakers Robert Mercer Taliaferro Hunter of Virginia, Howell Cobb of Georgia, James Lawrence Orr of South Carolina, and Charles Frederick Crisp of Georgia will be taken down to mark the historic day of emancipation for the enslaved. “There is no room in the hallowed halls of Congress or in any place of honor for memorializing men who embody the violent bigotry and grotesque racism of the Confederacy,” Pelosi said. (Hyperallergic)

Art History Still Hasn’t Recognized 20th-Century Black Art – Nell Irvin Painter argues that images of anti-police brutality created during the social justice movements of the 1960s have not been appropriately considered and archived in art history. “Images were central to the Black Panther Party’s self-fashioning and mark its place in history,” Painter writes. She looks at the work of Emory Douglas, graphic designer and minister of culture for the Black Panther Party, as well as an iconic photo of Bobby Seale and Huey P. Newton at the Black Panther Party headquarters, in Oakland. (New Yorker)


Pace and Blum & Poe Pick Up Sonia Gomes – The 72-year-old São Paulo-based artist known for her intricate wire and textile sculptures will now be represented in the US and and Asia by Pace and Blum & Poe. She will continue to work with Mendes Wood DM where she has been represented for a decade. (ARTnews)

Phillips Offers Fashion Photography Collection – The auction house is selling 64 works of fashion photography from the collection of art dealer Peter Fetterman. The sale will be highlighted by Sarah Moon’s Fashion 4, Yohji Yamamoto from 1996, which carries a high estimate of $60,000. (Art Market Monitor)


The Riga Biennial Gets New Public Opening Dates – The second edition of RIBOCA2, the Riga International Biennial of Contemporary Art, will open to the public from August 20 through September 13 after being postponed from its original May dates. During opening hours, the biennial will become a set for a new feature length film co-directed by the biennial’s chief curator Rebecca Lamarche-Vadel with Latvian film director Dāvis Sīmanis, which will reflect on the transformations of the end of a world. The film will be released in early 2021. (Press release)

TEFAF Chairman Steps Down – The art dealer Nanne Dekking has stepped down from his position as the chairman of the art fair’s executive committee due to his “overcommitted schedules.” The Dutch Modern and contemporary art dealer Hidde van Seggelen has replaced Dekking in the role. (The Art Newspaper)


Leelee Chan Wins BMW Art Journey – The Hong Kong-based artist Leelee Chan, known for her sculptures made from discarded and neglected material objects, has won funding for the next BMW Art Journey. For her proposal “Tokens From Time,” she will visit sites in Europe, Japan, and the Americas to study ancient craft techniques, and will explore the science of how natural materials like copper, silver, and marble, could be replaced by synthetic materials in the future. (Artforum)

Art Fund Launches Instagram Museum Treasure Hunt – The UK charity Art Fund has launched an online treasure hunt through museums’ Instagram pages, called “Art Find.” While museums are closed, people are encouraged to discover their collections by following the clues left subtly in museum social feeds until they get to the end of the trail. The treasure at the end is a chance to win a goodie bag from participating museums’ gift shops. (Press release)

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