Art Industry News: Mysterious 3,000-Year-Old King Tut Sculpture Could Sell for $5 Million at Christie’s + Other Stories

Plus, Moby learned about 9/11 from Damien Hirst and locals sue LACMA over a parking garage to halt its expansion.

A man stands by the sarcophagus of the 18th-dynasty Pharaoh Tutankhamun, displayed in his burial chamber in his underground tomb in the Valley of the Kings. (Photo: MOHAMED EL-SHAHED/AFP/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 this Monday, June 3.


Venice Cruise Ship Crashes Into Tourist Boat – A cruise ship collided with a tourist boat in Venice yesterday, injuring five people. The crash took place in the busy Giudecca Canal, while the MSC Opera was being towed and tug-boat cables snapped. Dramatic video footage shows people fleeing the ship, siren blaring, as it hits a dockside before crashing into the tourist boat. Activists and environmentalists have long campaigned to ban large ships from passing near St. Mark’s Square—and they were recently joined by Banksy, who created a new work lampooning the massive cruise liners. “Our message is clear: enough, now,” said Venice tourism chief Paola Mar. (Guardian)

Local Group Sues to Block LACMA Expansion – Opponents of the controversial new LACMA expansion designed by Peter Zumthor are challenging the project in the courts by targeting a planned museum garage on a residential street. According to the lawsuit, the proposed multi-story garage violates building height restrictions and it its environmental impact was not properly assessed before the project was approved by the city. The lawsuit “has the long-shot potential to delay the project,” says the New York-based architecture historian and expansion opponent Greg Goldin. (The Art Newspaper)

King Tut Sculpture Worth $5 Million Heads to Auction – Christie’s is selling a 3,000-year-old sculpture of the boy king’s head in London on July 4. It carries an estimate of £4 million (about $5 million). It is not known exactly where or how the sculpture was initially found, but its provenance dates back to the 1960s, when it was owned by a German collector. It has been in the current owner’s collection since 1985. (Financial Times)

Moby Found Out About 9/11 From Damien Hirst – The musician’s tell-all memoir contains a number of juicy anecdotes and interesting tidbits from his storied career (as well as one, ahem, seemingly exaggerated one). But the oddest may be the fact that Moby first learned about the 9/11 terrorist attack over the phone from his friend Damien Hirst (despite the fact that Moby lived in Manhattan and could likely have seen the disaster from his roof). To make matters more surreal, Moby’s birthday is also September 11. (Vulture)


Man Ray Inc. Boosts Its Ties With Gagosian – The mega-gallery has represented the Man Ray Trust since early 2018, but now is working with the newly formed Man Ray Expertise Committee to create a more unified authority on the artist. The committee will oversee the publication of a catalogue raisonné of about 150 of the artist’s objects and sculpture pieces. These lesser-known works by the photographer will also be the subject of an exhibition at Gagosian in New York in 2021. (Financial Times)

JINGART Returns to Beijing – The second edition fair, founded by the organizers of ART021 in Shanghai, was held from May 30 to June 2 at a new, larger venue, the Beijing Exhibition Center. It welcomed international exhibitors including Hauser & Wirth, David Zwirner, Galerie Perrotin, and Chengdu’s A Thousand Plateaus Art Space. Organizers also launched a new section dedicated to contemporary ink art. (Press release)


Pioneering Abstract Artist Tony DeLap Dies – The influential Los Angeles abstract painter and sculptor Tony DeLap has died at age 91. DeLap’s training as a magician permeated his artistic perspective; he often incorporated illusion into his exhibitions. Alongside peers Craig Kauffman and Larry Bell, he helped direct trends in Minimalism in the 1960s, particularly the “Finish Fetish” movement that rose to prominence on the West Coast. (Los Angeles Times)

Hammer Museum Gala Names Honorees – Feminist art powerhouse Judy Chicago and the Oscar-winning filmmaker and writer Jordan Peele will be honored at the Los Angeles museum’s annual fundraising gala on October 12. Both make work that resonates “across our political and cultural landscape,” according to museum director Ann Philbin. (LAT)


Art Education Kits Donated to NYC Schools – Schools in underserved communities in New York have received the largest ever private donation of art supplies courtesy of arts advocacy organization Mister ArtSee. Some $2 million worth of art education books and kits, or 100,000 units, were delivered to schools earlier this month to mark the organization’s 10th anniversary. A Kickstarter has also been launched to raise funds for even more. (Press release)

Flint Wants to Transform Its Image With Public Art – Michigan artists are creating 100 murals in Flint to try and pivot the town’s global image away from its water crisis and emphasize its rich creative community. The initiative, led by the Flint Public Art Project, aims to install the murals before fall 2020. (Detroit News)

Trump Blimp Will Greet the President, Again – As the US president swoops in on the UK for an official state visit and meeting with the Queen (as well as lame duck prime minister Theresa May), the giant diaper-clad caricature of Trump will follow closely behind. The team behind the object—who call themselves the Babysitters—raised some £30,000 ($38,000) for different charities addressing causes harmed by Trump’s politics, spanning climate change to women’s rights. The Museum of London is also in talks to acquire the inflatable work. Ahead of its flight, a projection of the Trump Baby was cast onto the cliffs of Dover. (Reuters)

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