Art Industry News: UNESCO Warns That Stonehenge Is in Grave Danger—From Its Own Custodians + Other Stories

Plus, a statue honoring enslaved Africans replaces one of Francis Scott Key in California, and an artist considers suing the Royal Academy.

Security guard at closed Stonehenge in Amesbury, United Kingdom. (Photo by Finnbarr Webster/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 Tuesday, June 22.


Climate Activists Flood the Science Museum – A group of around 20 young climate activists occupied London’s Science Museum over the weekend to protest the oil company Shell’s sponsorship of the museum’s climate exhibition “Our Future Planet.” The group had planned to sleep over at the museum but was dispersed by police at around 9 p.m., prompting criticism that “the Science Museum would rather have kids arrested than drop their polluting sponsors.” (The Art Newspaper)

Artist Accused of Transphobia Considers Suing the Royal Academy – Artist Jess de Wahls has said she is considering taking legal action against London’s Royal Academy after it pulled her work from its online shop, citing her views on gender, which some have described as transphobic. “If they hope that this is just going to go away, it’s not going to go away,” she said. (Guardian)

UNESCO Issues a Threat to Stonehenge – The organization has warned that it may put Stonehenge on its list of World Heritage Sites in danger if plans to build a tunnel under the ancient site proceed unchanged. The proposal to construct a tunnel to redirect traffic away from Stonehenge may reduce congestion, but it will threaten the integrity of the site, according to UNESCO and other opponents. The plan will be reconsidered by London’s High Court later this week. (TAN)

Statue Honoring Francis Scott Key Replaced – A sculpture memorializing the first enslaved Africans by Oakland-based artist Dana King will replace a statue of enslaver and “Star-Spangled Banner” author Francis Scott Key in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. The latter statue was toppled by demonstrators on Juneteenth 2020. Its replacement, unveiled this week, features 350 shoulder-height steel sculptures that surround the base of the statue that once held Key. (Local News 8)


Cube Art Fair to Host NFT Trade Show in NYC – Cube Art Fair will market NFTs on a 15,000-square-foot billboard in Times Square for the first ever “NFT art fair” from June 25 to 27. Work by artists including Tigi Van Gil, Carolyn Joe, and Rubem Robierb will be shown alongside a QR code to a website where visitors can buy the work. (Hypebeast) 

Getty Acquires Work From Christie’s Women-Only Sale – The Getty Museum in Los Angeles acquired Adélaïde Labille-Guiard’s pastel Portrait of Madame Charles Mitoire with Her Children (1783) at Christie’s “Women in Art” auction last week in Paris. The piece sold for $764,000, six times its low estimate. (ARTnews)


Much-Hated Marilyn Monroe Sculpture Installed in Palm Springs – A towering statue of Marilyn Monroe has been installed outside the Palm Springs Art Museum in California despite protests that it “objectifies women.” Museum representatives who opposed the public work, which depicts Monroe with her skirt flying above her waist, boycotted the unveiling ceremony. (TAN)

Curator Diego Cortez Has Died – Curator and Mudd Club founder Diego Cortez, who helped propel Jean-Michel Basquiat and other New York artists to fame in the 1980s, has died at age 75. Fun Gallery founder Patti Astor said of Cortez, “He invented downtown.” (ARTnews)


Ming Smith Shoots a Campaign for Nike – Artist Ming Smith photographed a group of Women’s National Basketball Association players for Nike’s Jordan Brand. Her subjects include Minnesota Lynx guard Crystal Dangerfield, New York Liberty guard Kia Nurse, and Dallas Wings forward Satou Sabally. (ARTnews)

Tourists Unhappy About Selfie-Ruining Art Installation in Austria – Austrian artist group Steinbrener-Dempf and Huber installed an unsightly red tourist kiosk sculpture, Cliffhanger, on the side of the Mirafall waterfall in the Ötschergräben Valley to thwart tourists who trek there to take selfies and harm the natural environment. Crafty! (Insider)

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