Art Industry News: Modigliani Tried to Ghost His Ex in a Famous Painting, But Now A.I. Has Brought Her Back + Other Stories

Plus, Bonhams withdraws five Nepalese sculptures from auction and a Keith Haring mural in Barcelona faces destruction.

X-radiograph showing an earlier figure painted beneath the surface of Modigliani’s Portrait of a Girl. Image © Tate

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 Monday, June 7.


Academy Museum Overhauls Inaugural Display – The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures has redesigned its galleries ahead of its (much delayed) opening in Los Angeles this September. The exhibition spaces now more explicitly acknowledge the flawed history of Hollywood film and make more room for women and people of color. “What we don’t want is a celebratory space that doesn’t have critical conversations about what we haven’t gotten right,” the museum’s director Bill Kramer said. (New York Times)

Anish Kapoor Slams Plan to Bulldoze Parliament – The artist Anish Kapoor has spoken out about Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to bulldoze the Islamic-inspired, Edwin Lutyens-designed building that holds the seat of the Indian parliament in New Delhi. Kapoor called Modi’s plan, which is part of the leader’s ongoing campaign to “de-Islamify” India, an “abomination.” (Guardian)

A.I. Recreates a Lost Lover in Modigliani Painting – Scientific analysis of Modigliani’s Portrait of a Girl (1917) has resurrected what he later painted over: a portrait of his ex-lover Beatrice Hastings. Experts used X-rays and analysis of the artist’s other paintings to train artificial intelligence to reveal what the original underpainting would have looked like. A re-creation of the “hidden” portrait will go on view at Lebenson Gallery in London from Thursday until June 25. (Guardian)

Greece Will Improve Access to the Acropolis – Lots of changes are coming to the Acropolis. Nikolaos Stampolidis, who currently serves as director of the Museum of Cycladic Art, has been named director of the Acropolis Museum. Meanwhile, Greece is working to improve accessibility to the site despite backlash over some recent additions, including the installation of a concrete walkway to improve wheelchair access. Signs in braille and scaled models of the monuments will be added as well as handrails and slope warning signs. (National HeraldFrance 24)


Bonhams Withdraws Looted Nepalese Sculptures – The consignor of five 18th-century gilded bronze sculptures from Nepal has withdrawn the lots from an online auction at Bonhams in Paris after it emerged that they had been looted from a royal palace in the Kathmandu Valley. The auction house did not comment on whether the seller will negotiate to return the sculptures portraying Hindu Gods to their original owners. (The Art Newspaper)

Christie’s to Sell Restituted Dutch Paintings – Christie’s is auctioning two recently restituted Nazi-looted paintings during an Old Masters evening sale in London on July 8. The 17th-century Dutch paintings, by Jan Davidsz de Heem and Dirck Hals with Dirck van Delen, are together expected to fetch as much as $8.5 million. (ARTnews)


Schomburg Center Names Director – Joy Bivins will take the helm of the center, which is the leading archive for African, African diaspora, and African American history and culture. She joined the Schomburg in 2020 as associate director of collections and previously served as chief curator of the International African American Museum, in Charleston, South Carolina. (NYT)

Donald Judd’s Architecture Building Damaged by Fire – On Friday, a fire broke out at the architecture office of the Donald Judd Foundation in Marfa, Texas. The cause of the fire is unknown, but it has reportedly severely damaged the interior of the building. Luckily, no injuries were reported and the building was empty and undergoing renovations at the time. (Glasstire)


Calls to Save Keith Haring Mural – A Keith Haring mural inside a former Barcelona nightclub is under threat as the building’s owner seeks to gut it to build an elderly care facility. While the owner is weighing whether to sell the work, which has been estimated at €80,000, or to donate it to the Keith Haring Foundation, some former friends of the artist are advocating for it to stay in place even after the building reopens. (Guardian)

See Wu Tsang’s Hypnotic New Film – A new film directed by Wu Tsang for Saint Heron, the creative agency founded by Solange, features actor and model Dominique Jackson, musical icon Dionne Warwick, and singer Joi. Called Passage, the hypnotic film celebrates a group of artists making sustainable fashion for the International Woolmark Prize. Solange creative directed the film, artist Tosh Basco choreographed the movement, and the performers were styled by Ib Karma. See it here. (ARTnews)

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