Art Industry News: The Climate Activists Who Threw Soup on a Van Gogh Passionately Defend Their Action + Other Stories

Plus, more museum workers push to unionize, and suddenly people care about King Charles's art.

Phoebe Plummer and Anna Holland, activists with Just Stop Oil
Phoebe Plummer and Anna Holland from Just Stop Oil addressing the public after throwing tomato soup on Vincent Van Gogh’s Vase with Fifteen Sunflowers (1888). Screenshot from @damiengayle.

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, October 19.


Galerie König Shutters Vienna Outpost – But the facts are somewhat unclear as to whether the space was intended as a one-year pop-up all along. König has faced allegations of sexual misconduct in the German media, which he vehemently denies. (ARTnews)

Art Collectors on Art Fairs – As Paris+ by Art Basel opens its doors to VIPs this morning, three collectors share what draws them to art fairs: Fusun Eczacibasi, Pamela Kramlich, and couple Eric Johnson and Rob Thomas. “Fairs allow us to translate PDFs into real life,” said Johnson. (New York Times)

Climate Activists Explain Why They Attacked Van Gogh Phoebe Plummer and Anna Holland talk to Frieze‘s Andrew Durbin about why they threw tomato soup on Vincent van Gogh’s Vase with Fifteen Sunflowers (1888) at the National Gallery last week. The soup had originally been intended for a Warhol “for how meta it would have been”—but they decided on Van Gogh instead because of his strong moral convictions. “Van Gogh said, ‘What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything?,’” says Plummer. “I’d like to think Van Gogh would be one of those people who knows we need to step up into civil disobedience and non-violent direct action.” (Frieze)

Everyone Wants the King’s Painting – Auctioneers at Bonham’s are surprised by the interest shown in a print reproduction of a painting by King Charles that will be auctioned off on Thursday, October 20. Prints by Prince Charles sold for between £400 and £600, but this lot is expected to go for well above estimate, given his new status as King. (Evening Standard)


Beatrix Ruf Gets a New(ish) Gig – The former director of the Stedelijk Museum will helm a forthcoming contemporary art museum run by the Hartwig Art Foundation, which she has been the head of since 2020. Ruf described the planned space as a “radical” concept, where studios and living quarters for artists will be on-site. (The Art Newspaper)

More Museum Workers Push to Unionize – Staffers at the Tacoma Art Museum announced their intent to push to join the Washington Federation of State Employees. Around 90 percent of eligible employees have signed union authorization cards, but the museum has not announced if it will voluntarily recognize the union. (Seattle Times)

Australia and New Zealand’s Institutional Selling Spree – Faced with new financial scrutiny and regulation, some of the nations’ biggest financial institutions, including a major pension fund worth $40 billion, are selling their art collections, including works by major Australian names. (Bloomberg)

New Holocaust Museum to Open in U.S. – The Center for Hope, Humanity, and Holocaust Education is slated to open in Phoenix in 2025. (Hyperallergic)


People Are Loving ‘Pan’-Solo – A mother-daughter duo baked a six-foot replica of Hans Solo trapped in carbonite, made entirely of bread. Hanalee and Catherine Pervan, the California-based owners of the One Shop Bakery, have also baked characters from Game of Thrones, Loki, and The Mandalorian into carb-on copies. (NYT)

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