Art Industry News: Andy Warhol’s Fancy Swiss Wristwatch Heads to Auction at Christie’s for 15 Minutes of Cash + Other Stories

Plus, Ragnar Kjartansson is bringing love songs to the Guggenheim rotunda and Martin Roth’s posthumous garden project gets funded.

Patek Philippe, Retailed by Hausmann & Co., 18k Gold Wristwatch, formerly owned by Andy Warhol. Photo: Christie's Images Ltd.
Patek Philippe, retailed by Hausmann & Co., 18k gold wristwatch, formerly owned by Andy Warhol. Photo: Christie's Images Ltd.

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 Wednesday, June 2.


Louvre Director Resurrects Plan for Byzantine and Coptic Art Department – Newly appointed Louvre head Laurence des Cars is already distinguishing herself from her predecessor. Des Cars said she plans to launch a department devoted to Byzantine and Coptic art, signifying a new approach to presenting Christian art at the museum. Former director Jean-Luc Martinez previously deemed such a department unnecessary and eschewed organizing departments by religion. (ARTnews)

Mexico Raids Building Project Next to Teotihuacán – Some 250 troops from the Mexican National Guard and 60 police officers took control of land near the pre-Hispanic ruins of Teotihuacán to stop bulldozers from destroying outer parts of the archeological site in a private construction project. According to local media, the site was intended to host a new amusement park; the Mexican culture department estimates that at least 25 ancient structures on the site were threatened by the project. (AP)

Ragnar Kjartansson Brings Love Songs to the Guggenheim – The Icelandic artist will bring his performance Romantic Songs of the Patriarchy to the Guggenheim’s New York rotunda next month. Roughly two-dozen women and non-binary musicians will perform famous love songs for hours—and in the process, reveal the patriarchal ideas embedded in them. The cacophony will take place from July 2 to July 5. (The Art Newspaper)

For Freedoms Launches Anti-AAPI Hate Billboard Campaign – The artist-led group For Freedoms has launched a new public art campaign in the U.S.: a series of billboards designed by artists from the Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander communities. The project, in response to violence and hate crimes against those communities, invites artists to create images of solidarity and advocacy. (Art Asia Pacific)


Andy Warhol’s Old Watch Hits the Block – The Pop artist’s Patek Philippe Calatrava Watch will lead Christie’s auction “Watches Online: The New York Edition,” which runs from June 8 to June 22. The 18-carat yellow gold wristwatch is expected to fetch between $45,000 and $95,000. Insert “15 minutes” joke of your choice here. (DMarge)

Sotheby’s Women-Only Sale Delivers Mixed Results – Sotheby’s first sale devoted solely to women artists, cutely titled “(Women) Artists,” delivered a total of £4.6 million ($6.5 million) with fees. Forty-one percent of lots sold within their estimate range and 22 percent came in under their low estimate or did not sell at all. (ARTnews)


London Gets a New Design District – A planned “creative quarter” in the Greenwich Peninsula in southeast London aims to provide affordable workspaces for those in fashion, tech, craft, and beyond. Eight architects each designed a pair of buildings, making for a motley group of structures—one even has a rooftop basketball court. (Guardian)

Kunsthaus Zürich Has a New President – Anne Keller Dubach, formerly the president of the board of the Swiss Institute for Art Research and a veteran of the Schauspielhaus Zürich and Fotomuseum Winterthur, will lead the Zürich institution. She came recommended by her predecessor, Walter Kielholz. (Switzerland 24)


Martin Roth’s Posthumous Project Nears Completion – The late artist devised a novel project two years before his death in 2019: turning an abandoned, fire-damaged building in Newburgh, New York into a “plant concert hall” and public garden. A local nonprofit now plans to execute Roth’s vision, and just surpassed its $10,000 fundraising goal on Kickstarter. (The Art Newspaper)

Simon de Pury Presents… – The Artnet News Pro columnist is launching an exhibition series called “Simon de Pury Presents…” that runs from now until July 31. De Pury is working directly with artists to organize shows in their studios that are open by appointment. The first show will present work by London-based artist Henry Hudson.
(Press release)

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