Art Industry News: Where Are the Great Black Art Dealers? Here They Are + More Must-Read Stories

Plus, Namibia calls on Germany to repatriate cultural artifacts and Ai Weiwei auctions off art on eBay to benefit refugee organizations.

Mariane Ibrahim. Courtesy Anthony Gyepi-Garbrah.

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 21.


The New Yorker on Apeshit Jay-Z and Beyoncé’s treatment of art in their music has variously been interpreted as a display of wealth from a pair of art festishists or a radical celebration of blackness in a space where it has traditionally been ignored or exploited. But Doreen St. Félix suggests their latest video is something else entirely: a display of enduring influence. “Beyoncé and Jay-Z seem to suggest that their own footprint will be as indelible as that of the entire canon of Western art,” she writes. (New Yorker)

Did Glasgow School of Art Ignore Fire Warnings? – A former senior staff member says the art school’s management should admit its responsibility in the two fires that have torn through the beloved institution in the past four years. While the cause of the blaze is still unknown, the school should own up to ignoring fire safety warnings concerning its outdated heating system, the staff member says. (The Times)

Why Have There Been No Great Black Dealers? – “If artists of color were, until recently, effectively written out of art history, black dealers have remained almost entirely absent from the narrative of contemporary art,” Janelle Zara writes. But that’s not because they weren’t there. In fact, a dedicated group of black gallerists from the 1960s and ’70s were determined to break into a hostile art system. Today, a new generation is carrying the torch. (T Magazine)

Namibia Asks Germany to Repatriate Cultural Artifacts – Namibia’s ambassador to Germany is calling for the Deutsches Historisches Museum to repatriate the Stone Cross of Cape Cross, which was removed during Germany’s colonial occupation of then-“German South-West Africa.” Germany has previously agreed to return other African cultural heritage objects, such as the Hendrik Witbooi Bible. (eNCA)



Ai Weiwei Auctions Work for World Refugee Day – To raise funds for two refugee charities—the International Refugee Committee and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees—as well as Public Art Fund, Ai is selling six limited edition works on eBay. Priced at $750, each laser-cut portrait of a refugee or immigrant on vinyl comes in an edition of 500. (Architectural Digest)

Nando’s Turns London Restaurant Into Gallery – Following a successful pop-up experiment at its Soho branch last summer, the chicken restaurant plans to transform its Notting Hill location into a pop-up art gallery between July 13 and 15 for an exhibition titled “Feast Your Eyes.” Five South African artists, including Asanda Kupa and Audrey Anderson, will be featured in the selling show. (Evening Standard)

Pavel Zoubok Goes Appointment-Only – The New York gallery will transition into a private viewing space renamed Pavel Zoubok Fine Art. Zoubok will still take part in art fairs and maintain relationships with the artists and estates on its roster, but believes “one size does not fit all” when it comes to exhibition venues. (ARTnews)

1-54 London Announces Lineup – The contemporary African art fair will include 42 galleries from 21 countries in its sixth edition in London, held October 4 to 7. There are 11 newcomers this year, including Nathalie Obadia, Yossi Milo, and Burning In Water. (Press release)



LA to Host Food-Themed Triennial – After its inaugural water-themed exhibition, LA’s next public art triennial will focus on food. The Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles’s curatorial team will organize 15 temporary public artworks and projects across the city in fall 2019. (ARTnews)

Rollins College’s Museum Names New Curator – Rollins College in Florida’s Cornell Fine Arts Museum has appointed Gisela Carbonell as its new curator. She was previously the director of curatorial affairs at the Baker Museum in Florida. (ARTnews)

Museum Neuroscientist Gets Three-Year Extension – The Peabody Essex Museum’s neuroscientist-in-residence, Tedi Asher, has secured funding to continue her research at the Massachusetts museum. Her work has focused on how museums can create more compelling experiences, not least by eliciting “emotional arousal.” (Smithsonian)

Famous Bowie Photo Given to the V&A – One of the best-known images of Bowie has been donated by the photographer Brian Duffy’s archive to the museum. Duffy shot Bowie for his Aladdin Sand album in 1973 with bright orange hair and a red-and-blue lightning bolt painted across his face. (Guardian)​


Grief in the Wake of Art Festival Shooting – Trenton’s Art All Night had been a source of pride in New Jersey, but suspected gang fighting at the festival left two dozen injured and one dead on Sunday morning. As the event’s organizers waited to retrieve art from the crime scene, they raised questions about the event’s future. (New York Times)

Cosima von Bonin’s Playground Heads to the de Young – The artist is creating For Lazy Lobsters, a 30-foot-long installation that doubles as a functional playground for the de Young Museum in San Francisco. The Germany-based artist says that she is making up for lost time: As a child, she spent time “on the quite boring playgrounds here in Cologne.” (ARTnews)

Abu Dhabi Royal Gets a Named British Museum Space – A British Museum gallery dedicated to ancient farming in the Middle East and Europe will be renamed in honor of the late Sheikh Zayed, the founding father of the United Arab Emirates. The British Museum has served as a consultant on the planned Zayed National Museum in Abu Dhabi and has agreed to lend “important” objects when it is eventually built. (Press release)

Swimming to Christo’s Mastaba – Alice Thomson, a Times journalist and regular swimmer in the Serpentine lake, was skeptical about Christo’s monumental floating sculpture because it interrupted her morning swim. So she decided to visit the work with the artist himself in a boat—and was converted. She told him she wants to climb it. Security said no. But Christo said, “Wait until dark.” (The Times)

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