Art Industry News: Mega-Collectors Agnes Gund and Eli Broad Come Out in Support of the Wealth Tax + Other Stories
Plus, thieves make off with a golden egg from a $2.5 million sculpture by Salvador Dalí and drone photographers terrorize Stonehenge.
Art Industry News is normally 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 Tuesday, July 25.
Thousands Join Artist to Reimagine Trump’s “Big Beautiful Wall” – The Mexican artist Enrique Chiu is making a miles-long mural on the Mexican side of the US Southern border. With the help of 3,800 volunteers, Chiu is turning the existing fence into a mural full of uplifting messages. The artist, who himself crossed the border as a migrant when he was eight, says he hopes his “Mural of Brotherhood” will send a message of hope and peace to those crossing the border by car or on foot. (Hyperallergic)
Thieves Steal a Golden Egg From Salvador Dalí’s Sculpture – Thieves have made off with a golden egg that sat atop the torso of a $2.8 million sculpture by Salvador Dalí on public view in Vancouver. Officials from Chali-Rosso Art Gallery, which placed Space Venus on the downtown corner, say the egg is valueless on its own. The gallery’s owner Susanna Strem calls the vandalism “a senseless and selfish act,” but says the egg, if returned, can be reattached without causing further damage. (Vancouver Sun)
Agnes Gund and Eli Broad Ask the Government to Tax Rich People More – The renowned art collector Agnes Gund and her daughter, Catherine Gund, have lent their names in support of a wealth tax on the richest Americans ahead of the 2020 US presidential election. “America has a moral, ethical, and economic responsibility to tax our wealth more,” a letter, published on Medium and signed by 19 people including Gund, George Soros, and two members of the Pritzker family, reads. The message notes that as part of “the richest 1/10 of the richest 1 percent,” the signatories would “be proud to pay a bit more of our fortune towards America’s future.” Meanwhile, collector and private museum owner Eli Broad published an op-ed in the New York Times expressing his own support of a wealth tax. (ARTnews, New York Times)
Zimbabwe Museum Keeps Its Masterpieces Hidden – Why would 93 masterworks from the prestigious Courtauld Collection bequeathed to Zimbabwe’s National Gallery remain hidden in storage? Art historian Louisa Treger uncovered information about the works while writing a book about Lady Virginia Courtauld, whose husband, collector Stephen Courtauld, donated the trove. Eventually, she managed to see a few of the treasures in the hidden collection, which includes a Renoir, a Rembrandt, and a Dürer. Treger suspects the gallery has kept the valuable works under wraps in order to keep them safe from former prime minister Robert Mugabe, who was known to plunder Zimbabwean assets. (Times)
Night Gallery Adds Three Artists to Roster – The Los Angeles gallery has added three artists to its roster: painters Han Bing and Robert Nava and ceramicist Brie Ruais. Night will open a solo exhibition of Nava’s work on July 20, with programming featuring Ruais and Bing to follow. (ARTnews)
Fine Art Print Fair Exhibitors List – The IFPDA Fine Art Print Fair has released its 70 gallery-strong exhibitor list for this fall’s event, and it includes Pace Prints, Hauser & Wirth, Paris’s mfc-michèle didier, and Boston’s Childs Gallery, among others. This year’s fair, slated to run October 23 through 27 at New York’s Javits Center, will be directed by art-fair veteran Helen Toomer. (Press release)
Upstairs Art Fair Returns to the Hamptons – The Upstairs Art Fair, founded by Harper’s Books and Half Gallery, will return to Amagansett for a third edition next month. Newcomers to the fair, which runs from July 19 to July 21, include Jack Hanley and CANADA. (Press release)
Mohamed Bourouissa Joins Blum & Poe – The Algeria-born, Paris-based artist is now represented by Blum & Poe, which has locations in Los Angeles, New York, and Tokyo. (Bourouissa will continue to be represented by galerie kamel mennour in Paris.) A solo exhibition of his work is slated to open at Blum & Poe in Los Angeles this fall. (Press release)
COMINGS & GOINGS
MoMA Launches a Design Store in Hong Kong – New York’s Museum of Modern Art is expanding to Asia—sort of. The august museum is opening a superstore in Hong Kong stocking KAWS and Yayoi Kusama merch, among other designer products. The 6,000-square-foot outlet will be located in a new K11 art shopping mall built by billionaire Adrian Cheng, who is on the board at MoMA PS1. (RLI)
A Weed Museum Is Coming to Los Angeles – A Los Angeles-based cannabis technology and media company is opening a pop-up museum about the history of marijuana and its prohibition. Called the Weedmaps Museum of Weed, it is due to open on August 3 through September 29. Admission is $35 for an educational trip. (CNN)
FOR ART’S SAKE
Dinosaur Bones Are Unearthed in Colorado – Construction workers stumbled across an unlikely piece of debris while conducting routine work in a Denver suburb: fossilized bones. Experts from the Denver Museum of Nature and Science have confirmed that the 68 million-year-old partial skeleton belonged to an adult Triceratops. (Daily Mail)
Alex Israel Designs a Deluxe Handbag for Louis Vuitton – After developing a unisex fragrance for Louis Vuitton earlier this year, the LA-based artist has tried his hand at designing a handbag for the luxury brand. Israel’s Capucines bag is based on his colorful “Wave” paintings—complete with two colorful wave forms peeking out from the top of the simply shaped purse. The artist looks forward to seeing it in action. If he spots a proud owner, he says, “I’d probably go up to the person carrying it and just say ‘cool bag.’” (Cultured)
Battle Rages Over Stonehenge Airspace – The heritage organization responsible for Stonehenge is at war with amateur photographers who use drones to snap images of the ancient monument from the air. English Heritage chiefs have banned unmanned aerial vehicles over all of its sites without pre-approval, as has the National Trust. But drone enthusiasts point out that landowners do not own airspace, and if they keep their drones 50 meters away from any structure, they are not breaking the rules. (Times)
Someone Gave Carrie Underwood a Sculpture of Herself Made of Cheese – The country music star was greeted in Wisconsin with a portrait sculpture made of the state’s official dairy product. Underwood was thrilled by the cheesy tribute, which is inspired by the cover of her new album. “This is me… carved into a 40lb block of Wisconsin cheese in honor of our show here in Milwaukee! I’m speechless!!!” she posed on Instagram, cheekily adding, “Where’s the wine?” (People)
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