Art Industry News: Leonardo Lovers Melt Down the Louvre’s Website in the Rush for da Vinci Tickets + Other Stories

Plus, these museum donors are also big funders of the anti-vax movement and Drake inexplicably has a portrait of Beyoncé in his office.

Still from Mona Lisa Beyond the Glass a VR experience that will be included in the blockbuster Leonardo da Vinci exhibition. Image courtesy Emissive and HTC Vive Arts.

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 Thursday, June 20.


These Museum Donors Are Big Backers of the Anti-Vaccination Movement – Arts philanthropists Bernard and Lisa Selz have contributed more than $3 million to anti-vax activists, according to new reports. They are also major supporters of the World Monuments Fund and the Brooklyn Museum, the Dallas Art Museum, the National Museum of the American Indian, and the Frick Collection, where hedge-fund manager Bernard Selz is a trustee. (None of these institutions were keen to comment on their links to the couple.) Lisa Selz is also the president of the group Informed Consent Action Network, a three-year-old charity that promotes parental choice in vaccines and receives most of its funding from the Selz Foundation. “They should be allowed to have the measles if they want the measles,” the group’s spokesperson told reporters. (HyperallergicDaily Beast)

Elon Musk Gets Twitter Shamed for Appropriating Art, Again – The Tesla founder has been called out—again—for using art without crediting the artist. Less than a year after Musk settled a lawsuit over his use of a potter’s image of a unicorn in company materials, Musk posted an image of fan art for video game Nier Automata on Twitter without crediting the author. When challenged, he told his 27 million followers that “any fool” could find out the name of the artist and he wished everyone to stop crediting artists on Twitter anyway. The artist, Meli Magali, thanked those who had challenged the surly billionaire on her behalf and welcomed the publicity. (Kotaku)

Louvre’s Leonardo Blockbuster Predictably Sets Off a Digital Stampede – The Louvre sold 33,500 advanced tickets for its Leonardo blockbuster within 30 hours of making them available, despite its website struggling to accommodate the demand. The servers are coping better at retail chain Fnac, which is working in partnership with the Louvre on the exhibition due to open in October. Arnaud Averseng, the president of France Billet, which manages the reservations on the Fnac website, likened the demand to that for an artist like Beyoncé. “Leonardo is like a rock star,” he said. Timed tickets cost €17 ($19). (Le Parisien)

Meet the Woman Who Created the Museum Salary Spreadsheet – Museum workers of the world are uniting online to share information on how much money they make to combat a culture of “silence and fear” around salary transparency. Inspired by a new salary survey from POWarts, a speech by Kimberly Drew that addressed pay inequity, and a similarly crowdsourced spreadsheet started by college professors, Philadelphia Museum of Art curator Michelle Millar Fisher’s Google doc has drawn more than 2,500 entries since it went live late last month. Fisher says the Art and Museum Transparency initiative shows “collegiality and solidarity appearing cell by cell in the sheet.” (Philadelphia Inquirer)


Heritage Takes KAWS’s New York Bus Ad on the Road – The auction house has secured one of KAWS’s early bus ads—in which he replaced large advertisements at bus stops with his own work—for its urban art auction in Chicago on July 22–23. Ahead of the sale, Heritage is taking the ad on the road with stops in New York, Hong Kong, and Dallas. One of the first portrayals of the artist’s famous Companion figure and one of fewer than 10 extant ad replacement disruptions, the work carries an estimate of $300,000 to $500,000. (Art Market Monitor)

ART SG Delays Inaugural Fair – The organizers of the inaugural edition of the new Singapore fair ART SG have pushed back the event from November of this year to October 2020. Co-founder Magnus Renfrew said in a statement that galleries needed more time to prepare; the fair will continue to recruit additional exhibitors in the meantime. The event aims to fill a gap created by the cancellation of Art Stage Singapore. (Press release)

ADAA Adds Eight New Members – The Art Dealers Association of America has welcomed eight new members. They are Avery Galleries (New York and Bryn Mawr); Kavi Gupta (Chicago); David Kordansky Gallery (Los Angeles); Monique Meloche Gallery (Chicago); Carolina Nitsch (New York); Gallery Wendi Norris (San Francisco); Ricco/Maresca Gallery (New York), and Leon Tovar Gallery (New York). (Press release)

1-54 Fair Names London Exhibitors – The 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair will have 15 first-time participants at its next London edition in October. They include The Hole (New York), Kalashnikovv Gallery (Johannesburg), and Ubuntu Art Gallery (Cairo). Sixteen of the 44 exhibitors hail from the African continent. (ARTnews)


National Gallery Chair Steps Down – Hannah Rothschild has announced that she will be leaving her position as chair of London’s National Gallery in September. Rothschild has held the position since 2015 and was the first woman to chair the prestigious museum. In a statement, she says she is stepping down “in order to devote more time to my writing and to my family’s wide-ranging activities and philanthropic concerns.” (Belfast Telegraph)

Winner of Han Nefkens Prize Announced – The young Palestinian artist Shuruq Harb is the winner of this year’s award for video art production. He will receive $15,000 from the Han Nefkens Foundation to support the production of a new video work, which will be shown in five international museums beginning in 2020. (Press release)

Marilyn Monroe Statue Stolen From Hollywood Gazebo – A bandit has made off with a statue of the Hollywood star that was part of the popular “Four Ladies of Hollywood” gazebo, which pays tribute to legendary screen actresses from Mae West to Dorothy Dandridge. Los Angeles police have taken fingerprints from the scene and are investigating witness reports that someone climbed the two-story-high gazebo and sawed off the figure. (AP)


Meet the Photographer Who Documents Domestic Abuse – Photojournalist Donna Ferrato has spent the past 40 years documenting domestic violence on women and their families in her series “Living With the Enemy.” Ahead of the fall publication of a retrospective photobook, Holy, the fearless photographer recalls some of the stories behind her most powerful images. (Guardian)

Ringo Starr’s Peace and Love Sculpture Arrives in Beverly Hills – The former Beatles drummer has gifted his 800-pound sculpture Peace and Love to the city of Beverly Hills. The polished steel sculpture of Ringo’s hands throwing up the peace sign was initially rejected by the city council, who said it “did not meet the Fine Art criteria.” But, perhaps after concerted lobbying by Beatles fans, the city made an about-face on Tuesday and the work will be installed permanently on Santa Monica Boulevard this fall. (LA Times)

Drake Inexplicably Owns a Giant Portrait of Beyoncé – On Wednesday, the rapper shared a series of images of himself on Instagram captured by photographer Jamil GS and titled “Album Mode.” In one shot, Drake is posing in his office, where he has hung an enormous portrait of Beyoncé by an unknown artist next to his desk. Perhaps Bey’s smiling face is a source of inspiration? Or could it possibly be an easter egg teasing a future collaboration? Or is it just sort of creepy? We’re intrigued. (Vulture)



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