Art Industry News: Did Frida Kahlo Make Up Her Jewish Heritage? + More Must-Read Stories

Plus, Paul Kasmin plans to open its fourth New York gallery (with a rooftop garden!) and Tanya Bonakdar expands to Los Angeles.

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 Friday, June 8.


The Myth of the Post-Blockbuster Market Bump – The assumption that a major museum solo show will automatically boost an artist’s prices doesn’t bear out in reality, reports Bernard Lagrange. Using artnet and Sotheby’s data, he tracks the effect of major shows on the market for Christopher Wool and Marlene Dumas, among others. Sometimes, the results can be counterintuitive: “Brilliant shows by insightful curators of complicated artists can stall markets, which thrive on consensus and certainty and balk at ambiguity,” he notes. (In Other Words)

Museums Wrestle With #MeToo Dilemmas – What should a museum do when an artist it is showing is accused of sexual misconduct? “Listening deeply and showing empathy and being transparent” are crucial, says Brooke Davis Anderson, who went ahead with a Chuck Close show at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts—but added a supplemental exhibition about gender and power. (The Art Newspaper)

Was Frida Kahlo a Great Jewish Artist? – As a firebrand Communist, Kahlo might have invented her father’s Hungarian-Jewish background to detract attention from his German roots after Hitler rose to power, a Kahlo expert claims. Brandeis University’s Gannit Ankori notes that many of the artist’s friends and several of her lovers were Jewish, including Leon Trotsky. (Jewish Chronicle) ​

Why Jerry Saltz Isn’t a Fan of “Like Life” – The critic gives the “intentionally titillating” sculpture show at the Met Breuer a thumbs down, finding it “often stultifying.” Discouraged by the overabundance of hyperrealist work by Western artists, Saltz calls the show “a highbrow, campy curatorial exercise.” To enrich the presentation, he says, the Met should have added examples of the human body from Asia, Africa, or Oceania. (Vulture)


Kasmin to Open Fourth Chelsea Space – Paul Kasmin Gallery—which has adopted a new name, Kasmin—is opening another purpose-built space next to the High Line in Chelsea. The gallery, which opens October 11, will be designed by StudioMDA and will feature a 5,000-square-foot rooftop sculpture garden that will be accessible from the elevated park. (ARTnews)

Christie’s Names New Americas President – Jennifer Zatorski, a 25-year veteran of Christie’s, has been named the auction house’s new president of North and South America. She succeeds Brook Hazelton, who is leaving his post this summer. (ARTnews)

Tanya Bonakdar Expands to Los Angeles – The New York gallery is heading West, opening a space in July in LA with an inaugural exhibition of work by Charles Long. Its new gallery at 1010 N. Highland Avenue was previously the home of Hannah Hoffman Gallery, which is moving to another location. (Artforum)

Pace Hires a Curator for a New Post – Andria Hickey is leaving Cleveland’s Museum of Contemporary Art to become the first senior director and curator at Pace in New York, where she will work with artists and on exhibitions. Hickey arrives as the gallery prepares to move to its new Chelsea home, which will have dedicated space for lectures and performances. (ARTnews)


Sylvie Hubac Leaves the RMN-Grand Palais – After just over two years as president of the Réunion des Musées Nationaux and the Grand Palais in Paris, Hubac has decided to leave her post to join the French Council of State. It is unclear who will replace her at the Grand Palais. (Le Journal des Arts)

Henry Taylor Wins Robert De Niro Sr. Prize – The LA-based artist known for his portraits will receive $25,000 for his “outstanding achievements in painting.” He was awarded the honor by a jury including ARTnews editor-in-chief Sarah Douglas, Dia curator Courtney Martin, and Guggenheim associate curator Susan Thompson. (Artforum)

Hill Art Foundation Names Director – Sarah Needham, a program officer at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, has been appointed executive director of billionaire art collector J. Tomilson Hill’s foundation. The foundation will open its New York space in November with a Christopher Wool show. (ARTnews)

Korean Artist Wins Solo Award – Yoon Il Kwon won the 2018 edition of the contemporary art prize, receiving a £1,000 ($1,300) cash award and support for the creation of new work for a solo exhibition at the London Art Fair in January 2019. A special mention from the judges also went to the runner-up, Jaime Valtierra. (Press release)



Polish Vodka Museum Opens – The country’s first museum dedicated to the national drink will open in Warsaw on June 12 inside a former 19th-century vodka factory in the city’s Praga neighborhood. The museum will educate visitors on the history and production of Polish vodka. Cheers! (AFP)

LACMA Wants You to Make Your Own Art Book – The museum has launched Collator, an online bookmaking tool that allows people to use high-resolution images of works in the museum’s collection to create their own publication. Collator books start at $18.95 for a 24-page paperback. Father’s day gift, anyone? (Unframed)

David Bowie Returns to Beckenham – The Italian sculptor Maria Primolan has created a bust of Ziggy Stardust that is now on display in the Beckenham Library in the south London suburb where Bowie reinvented himself in the late 1960s before his rise to global stardom. She’s also working on two terra cotta busts inspired by different album covers. (News Shopper)

See Vik Muniz’s Flag for Creative Time – Yesterday, the New York public art organization raised a flag designed by Muniz at 20 sites across the country as part of its “Pledges of Allegiance” series. Muniz’s flag, titled Diaspora Cloudreferences a 2001 project for the organization in which the artist commissioned a crop-dusting plane to draw fake clouds over the Manhattan skyline. (Creative Time)




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