Art Industry News: Jeff Koons Seriously Considered Going to the Moon for His NFT Project, But Just ‘Really Couldn’t’ Take the Time Away + Other Stories

Plus, the Hong Kong auction market shows signs of cooling, and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge reveal their first official portrait.

Jeff Koons. © Jeff Koons.

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 24.


See the First Official Portrait of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge – The prospective King William and his wife Kate’s first official portrait has been revealed—with the duchess donning an emerald green outfit by the British designer The Vampire’s Wife. The photorealistic artwork was painted by award-winning British painter Jamie Coreth. (Vogue)

Brad Pitt Is a Big Charles Ray Fan – In an intimate interview with author Ottessa Moshfegh, Pitt says he doesn’t consider himself an artist; he describes his well-known ceramics practice as “a tactile kind of sport.” But he and Moshfegh bond over their love of the work of another sculptor (and mutual acquaintance): Charles Ray. Pitt, who visited the artist’s recent show at the Pinault Collection, was particularly taken with Ray’s paper study of Corpus Christi, a 17th-century sculpture by Alessandro Algardi. (GQ)

Jeff Koons Actually Considered Going to the Moon as Part of His NFT Project – The artist revealed that he actually thought about going to the moon himself as part of his multiphase NFT sculpture project with NASA and SpaceX, which will launch the first sculptures into space in late fall. “But I realized that it was really going to take a year commitment of my time,” Koons said. “And with everything going on in the studio and with my work, I really couldn’t do that.” (New York Times)

Hong Kong Sales Show Signs of Cooling Off – Christie’s, Sotheby’s, and Phillips realized a combined total of HK$2.4 billion (about $310 million) from their recent evening sales in Hong Kong—30 percent less than what they made in spring 2021. A combination of factors, including a decrease in the number of blockbuster works and fewer lots in general, caused the slump. (Barron’s)


Cecilia Vicuña Joins Xavier Hufkens Gallery – The 74-year-old Chilean artist’s star continues to rise as Xavier Hufkens adds her to its roster. The painter was awarded the Golden Lion for lifetime achievement at the recent Venice Biennale, will create the next Hyundai Commission at Tate’s Turbine Hall, and has an exhibition on view at the Guggenheim in New York. She continues to be represented by Lehmann Maupin. (Press release)

Timothy Taylor Expands in New York – Veteran London gallerist Timothy Taylor is opening an outpost in Tribeca next year, replacing the gallery’s current Chelsea townhouse. The 6,000-square-foot space at 74 Leonard Street will be renovated by architecture firm studioMDA. The gallery has also hired Stephen Truax, formerly of Cheim & Read, as a director in New York. (Press release)

Catherine Wood Gets a Promotion – The senior curator for international art at the Tate is being promoted to director of program (or, as the Brits call it, “programme”) for Tate Modern, where she has worked for 20 years. In her new role, Wood will oversee exhibitions, displays, commissions, performances, film screenings, and community projects. (ARTnews)

Kahn and Mason Foundations Award $800,000 – Six cultural institutions in the U.S. are beneficiaries of an $800,000 grant from the Wolf Kahn Foundation and the Emily Mason | Alice Trumbull Mason Foundation. These include the New York Botanical Garden, the International Print Center, and the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center in Vermont. Four organizations received $100,000 while two—Hunter College and the NYBG—received $200,000. (Artforum)


National Gallery Reveals Anniversary Blowout Plans – For its 200th anniversary in 2024, the National Gallery is planning a year-long festival of “art, creativity, and imagination.” Twelve exhibitions at 12 museums and galleries across the U.K. will open on May 10, 2024, each focused on a national treasure from the collection. Back in London, “Van Gogh: Poets and Lovers” will be a highlight, including works never seen by the public before. (Evening Standard)

Collection works © The National Gallery, London

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