Art Industry News: Is the World Ready for a K-Art Explosion? South Korea Is Pouring Cash Into a Museum Boom + Other Stories

Plus, David Zwirner's Montauk artist retreat faces more hurdles, and Italian authorities want a sculpture back from a Minneapolis museum.

The opening day of "David Hockney" at the Seoul Art Museum. Courtesy of SeAM.

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 Monday, May 23.


David Zwirner’s Artist Retreat in the Hamptons Faces Roadblocks – The mega-dealer’s vision to create an artist residency in the Hamptons has met resistance from the East Hampton Planning Department. Local officials are concerned that the construction of 17 cottages on the shore of Lake Montauk might only worsen the state of the deteriorating bulkhead on the site. Zwirner has, however, successfully addressed previous concerns raised by the department over zoning. (East Hampton Star)

Italy Alleges U.S. Museum Houses Stolen Sculpture – Italian authorities are pressing the Minneapolis Institute of Art to return a Roman marble statue, which they claim was illegally excavated from a site near Pompeii in the 1970s, rather than rescued from a shipwreck as the institution previously suggested. The museum acquired the statue, a fifth century B.C. depiction of Doryphoros, in 1986 for $2.5 million. (New York Times)

South Korea Is Experiencing a Museum Boom – Korean cinema, television, and K-pop have entered the global consciousness—and K-art could be next. Several new museums are expected to open across the country in the next five years, cementing its status as an art hub amid the arrival of international gallery outposts, the launch of Frieze Seoul, and the flourishing of the local art market. Korea’s culture ministry also secured an unprecedented $5.6 billion annual budget in the latest fiscal year. (Financial Times)

Greece Challenges British Museum’s Narrative About Parthenon Marbles – Greece’s culture minister Lina Mendoni accused Lord Elgin of using “illicit and inequitable means” to seize and export the Parthenon sculptures from Greece in a blatant act of serial theft. The minister’s rebuttal came after last week’s UNESCO meeting during which the British Museum’s deputy director Jonathan Williams said the marbles were “removed from the rubble around the Parthenon.” (Guardian)


New Arts Hub Opens in Sydney – Located in the heritage-listed registrar general’s building, RGB Creative is set to become home to 12 arts organizations as part of a post-lockdown push to transform Macquarie Street in the city’s Central Business District into an arts hub. (Guardian)

Strong Appetite for Mid-Priced Art at Taipei Dangdai – Works priced between $20,000 and $50,000 by international names have reportedly sold well during the return of Taipei Dangdai, which concluded on Sunday. Woaw Gallery sold acrylic on linen works by Charlie Roberts for $20,000 to $25,000, while David Zwirner offloaded a total of $5 million worth of art, including examples by Giorgio Morandi and Wolfgang Tillmans. Works by local artists were not as popular among collectors, according to sources on the ground, (Press release, Artnet News)

Käthe-Kollwitz-Preis 2022 Goes to Nan Goldin – The American photographer and filmmaker has been awarded the coveted prize from the Berlin Academy of Arts to honor her achievements in contemporary photography. She will receive the €12,000 ($12,778) purse in early 2023, coinciding with a solo exhibition running from January to March. (Die Zeit)

Prussian Heritage Foundation Will Send Artifacts to Africa – A group of 23 artifacts from the collection of Germany’s Ethnological Museum of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation will be sent to Namibia following the conclusion of a transnational research project. The foundation says it is transferring the artifacts for further research, not an official return, but has made no plans yet for transporting them back to Germany. (ARTnews)


New Portrait of Queen Elizabeth Graces the Cover of Tatler The British magazine commissioned Nigerian artist Oluwole Omofemi to create a new image of the Queen for its special Platinum Jubilee issue. Royal watchers can also see Omofemi’s work up close at Sotheby’s London’s exhibition “Power & Image: Royal Portraiture & Iconography,” which brings together portraits of female monarchs from across five centuries. It runs from May 28 to June 15. (Evening Standard)

Oluwole Omofemi, The Queen (2022). Courtesy the artist, Tatler, Conde Nast, and Sotheby’s.

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