Art Industry News: Good News! Italy’s Art Thefts Are Down Due to Mass Surveillance by Flying Robots + Other Stories

Plus, Hauser & Wirth plans a second Los Angeles location in West Hollywood, and Newark's deaccessioned Thomas Cole goes to Philadelphia.

A drone view of boats moored at the harbor in Garda, Italy, on June 5, 2021. (Photo by Manuel Romano/NurPhoto via 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 on this Wednesday, June 9.


Deaccessioned Thomas Cole Painting Will Go on View in Philadelphia – Looks like New Jersey’s loss is Pennsylvania’s gain. Thomas Cole’s The Arch of Nero, which was controversially deacessioned by the Newark Museum of Art last month, will go on view beginning July 2 at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The painting is on long-term loan from the Thomas H. and Diane DeMell Jacobsen PhD Foundation, which bought it at Sotheby’s last month. (The Art Newspaper)

Why Sell Art If Endowments Are Surging? – An unexpected upside of the pandemic has been a significant rise in museum endowments, with the Los Angeles Times reporting an average increase of 24 percent across half a dozen Southern California art museums. Meanwhile, the conversation about deaccessioning museum holdings to make ends meet has, contradictorily, gathered steam. MCA San Diego’s endowments saw a 40 percent growth year over year, but the museum still took the opportunity to offload 10 works at auction. (LA Times)

Art Theft Is Down Thanks to… Drones! – Art theft was down 17 percent in 2020 compared to 2019, according to Italy’s Carabinieri TPC police force. Part of that dip is due to the pandemic, which limited travel and pushed illicit art sales online, but some of it can also be attributed to the rise of high-surveillance technology, including drones, which can help track thefts. The Carabinieri are now teaming up with the Pompeii Archaeological Park to develop a state-of-the-art drone-based surveillance system that can serve as a model for other sites. (TAN)

Bavaria and Heirs of Jewish Collector at Odds Over Picasso Painting – Bavarian authorities have refused to refer a dispute over a Picasso work in its state collection to Germany’s national commission for restituting art lost during the Nazi period. They disagree with the heirs of a previous owner, who contend that the Portrait of Madame Soler (1903) was sold under duress as a result of Nazi persecution, and have refused to permit the dispute to be mediated by an independent body. (New York Times)


Hauser & Wirth Expands in West Hollywood – The gallery will open a second location in Los Angeles in fall 2022. The new West Hollywood location will take over a vintage automobile showroom on Santa Monica Boulevard. The new location, which supplements Hauser’s massive complex in the L.A. Arts District, will be designed by Annabelle Selldorf and house 5,000 square feet of exhibition space. (Press release)

Marianne Boesky and Night Gallery to Co-Rep Danielle McKinney – The New Jersey-based painter, whose nuanced portraits capture solitary female figures in moments of intimacy or spirituality, will be co-represented by Night in L.A. and Marianne Boesky Gallery in New York and Aspen. Her exhibition “Smoke and Mirrors” is currently on view at Night Gallery. (Press release)


Another (Miniature) Lady Liberty Is Coming to the U.S. – France will loan the U.S. a 10-foot-tall miniature bronze replica of the Statue of Liberty based on the plaster cast of the original work. It will go on view to mark Independence Day on July 4 and will then be displayed in the gardens of the French Embassy in Washington, D.C., on July 14 to mark France’s Bastille Day. (AP)

Graduate Students Criticized for Removing Portrait of the Queen – Students at Oxford University voted to remove a portrait of the Queen from the common room at Magdalen College because they see her as “a symbol of colonialism.” The decision has prompted backlash on Twitter and even caused the education secretary Gavin Williamson to weigh in, calling it “simply absurd.” (Evening Standard)


Unwelcome Pigeons Are Flocking to Raphael Exhibition – Nine tapestries by Raphael on view at Madrid’s royal palace have come under threat from pigeons (and their droppings) after the galleries opened windows in order to ventilate the space. So far, Spain’s national heritage institution says none of the tapestries has been damaged, and the gallery has installed harmless ultrasonic devices to deter the pigeons and is carefully monitoring the windows when they are open. (Not to be a backseat curator but… do they not have window screens in Spain?) (Guardian)

Biennial Works Vandalized in Sweden – Outdoor sculptures by artists Joe Namy and Shilpa Gupta on view at the Borås Art Biennial in Sweden were vandalized just one week after they went on view. Unknown vandals burned down Namy’s textile installation, stitched together by recent immigrants, and removed Gupta’s bronze sculpture of a seated man from its chair and threw it into the Viskan River. On Instagram, Namy wrote he was told the culprits were “most likely… drunken hooligans” but “I don’t believe this was only alcohol, this kind of violence comes from a darker place.” (Art Asia Pacific)

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