Art Industry News: Patti Smith Distances Herself From New Mapplethorpe Biopic + More Must-Read Stories

Plus, Peter Schjeldahl writes about Agnes Gund's art for social justice and Petrit Halilaj Wins the second edition of Mario Merz Prize.

Musician and author Patti Smith poses in front of her portraits in an exhibition dedicated to the late Robert Mapplethorpe at the Grand Palais in Paris. Courtesy of PATRICK KOVARIK/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 Thursday, July 6.


Lessons From Sam Durant’s “Scaffold” Controversy – Artist Sam Durant’s now-famous sculpture was set to be included in Minneapolis’s redesigned sculpture garden but was withdrawn from the plan due to protests over its subject matter, which referenced the massacre of 38 Dakota men. Here, American curators discuss the implications of the protest and what can be learned from the controversy. (StarTribune)

Agnes Gund’s Art for Social Justice – Art critic Peter Schjeldahl comments on Gund’s sale of the 1962 work Masterpiece by Roy Lichtenstein, which she sold for a cool $165 million to establish the America for Justice Fund. The nonprofit is dedicated to addressing mass incarceration in the US. (The New Yorker)

Mapplethorpe Biopic Moves Forward Without Patti Smith – The Ondi Timoner film, which will cover Robert Mapplethorpe’s career success in the 1970s until his death from AIDs in 1989, is slated to begin production on July 11 in New York City. The project, however, does not have the support of key player Patti Smith, though representatives have failed to comment on why. (


Spain Receives Cuban-American Millionaire’s Collection – Roberto Polo, who has amassed a collection of 7,000 paintings, sculptures, and photographs, will lend the works to Spain to be shown in Toledo and Cuenca. This is the largest cultural deal Spain has made in over 20 years. (The Local)

Sotheby’s London Old Masters Sale Totals $67.9 Million – The auction powerhouse’s evening sale was comprised of 70 lots, and included J.M.W Turner’s Ehrenbreitstein, which was sold for $23,956,725—the highest price paid for an Old Master Painting at Sotheby’s London since the sale of the artist’s Rome, From Mount Aventine for a record $39,319,185 million in 2014. (Press release)

PAFA Adds to Permanent Collection – The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts has announced 30 additions to its holdings, including works by Paul Chan, Robyn O’Neil, Elizabeth Vaughn Okie Paxton, Joan Semmel, and William Villalongo. (Press release)

Frieze New York Lowers Fees for Younger Gallerists – For the fair’s Frame sector, which features up-and-coming galleries, Frieze New York is offering lower booth costs to relieve financial stressors and encourage consistent participation. (ARTnews)


Hirshhorn Welcomes Isaac Applbaum to Board – The D.C. institution has named the San Francisco-based entrepreneur and philanthropist to its board. (ARTnews)

Hepworth Wakefield Wins £100,000 Museum of the Year Prize – The gallery has been named 2017 Art Fund museum of the year for its “breathtaking” exhibitions, high visitor numbers and new sculpture prize. (The Guardian)

Conceptual Artist Mel Chin Honored at Vanderbilt – The Houston native has won Vanderbilt University’s 2017 Distinguished Alumnus Award. (Glasstire)

Card S. Ward Named Executive Director of Morris Museum – The museum’s Board of Trustees announced the appointment today. (Press release)


The Royal Academy Celebrates 250 Years – The RA’s annual Summer Exhibition, 2018 will celebrate its 250th anniversary with an externally curated historical show, “The Great Spectacle,” covering the many controversies in its storied past. (The Art Newspaper)

Houston Police Department Calls for Art Submissions – The new Southwest police station has a budget of up to $50K to buy art, thanks to the City of Houston Civic Art Program, which hopes to see artwork become accessible to the neighborhood. (Glasstire)

Turkey Protests to Germany Over Art Installation – The installation, which sits outside the offices of Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin, is a car emblazoned with the words “Do you want this car? Kill dictatorship!” Turkey claims the car encourages the killing world leaders, including President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. (

Petrit Halilaj Wins Mario Merz Prize – The artist’s native country of Kosovo is the center of his practice that explores further ideas about family, memory, cultural and sexual identity, and history. (Press release)

Pettit Halilaj. Mario Merz Prize. Finalists Exhibitions 2nd Edition
(Group Exhibition).
Fondazione Merz, Turin. Image courtesy Chert Luedde.

Petrit Halilaj. Viva Arte Viva
(Group Exhibition).
Arsenale. 57th Biennale di Venezia. Image courtesy Chert Luedde.

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