Art Industry News: Someone Spray-Painted a Pro-War ‘Z’ Symbol on a Pussy Riot Member’s Front Door + Other Stories

Plus, the Venice Biennale's Golden Lions go to Katharina Fritsch and Cecilia Vicuña, and the Hauser & Wirth Institute funds archival research.

A protester paints the "Z" sign on a street, in reference to Russian tanks marked with the letter, during a rally organized by Serbian right-wing groups in support of Russia's invasion of Ukraine. (Photo by ANDREJ ISAKOVIC/AFP 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 this Tuesday, March 8.


Venice Biennale Announces Lifetime Achievement Awards – Congratulations are in order for German artist Katharina Fritsch and the Chilean artist Cecilia Vicuña, who will be awarded the Golden Lions for Lifetime Achievement at the Venice Biennale next month. The central exhibition’s curator, Cecilia Alemani, nominated the artists, who were approved by the Biennale’s board. Alemani praised Fritsch for the “awe and dizzying attraction” she arouses with her hyperreal yet fanciful sculptures, and Vicuña for her “intimate and powerful” work that anticipated “many recent ecological and feminist debates.” (Press release)

China-Founded Fashion Giant Accused of Art Theft – Artists say Shein, the world’s largest fast-fashion online e-retailer, has been selling products emblazoned with images of their artworks without their consent. British oil painter Vanessa Bowman discovered a £17 ($22) sweater with a painting of hers printed on it, while Edinburgh-based illustrator Elora Pautrat was surprised to find her work on a mousepad. A rep for the company stated: “When legitimate complaints are raised by valid I.P. rights holders, Shein promptly addresses the situation.” (Guardian)

Pussy Riot Member’s Home Vandalized With “Z” – The Latin letter “Z” and the phrase “we will end this war” were spray-painted on the Moscow apartment door of Pussy Riot member Rita Flores on March 5. The symbol, which first appeared on Russian tanks as they advanced on Ukraine, has become a moniker of the Russian invasion and has been compared to the swastika. A “Z” was also spray-painted on the door of film critic Anton Dolin around the same time. (The Art Newspaper)

New York Dealers Fight Ivory Ban – The Art and Antique Dealers League of America and the National Antique and Art Dealers Association of America are appealing New York’s ivory ban, which prohibits the display and sale of objects containing ivory that are less than 100 years old or more than 20 percent ivory. The trade organizations argue that the mandate, which came into effect in 2014, is unconstitutional because it imposes an “incidental burden on commercial speech.” (TAN)


Hauser & Wirth Institute Awards $700,000 in Archival Grants – The non-profit arm of the mega-gallery will fund the Studio Museum in Harlem’s effort to digitize its archives and endow a scholarship in the archival field at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. “Yes, you could endow the wing of a museum, or you could help preserve the historical record into the future,” said Lisa Darms, Hauser & Wirth Institute’s executive director. (TAN)

Is This a New Miami Art Hub? – “What I’ve noticed in Miami is that unlike New York or L.A., collectors are very motivated to drive to see the art,” said Gabriel Kilongo, a former sales associate at Mitchell-Innes & Nash who just opened a new gallery, Jupiter, in Miami’s North Beach neighborhood. His is the latest contemporary-art addition to the area, which is also home to gallery Central Fine and Jada Art Fair, which coincides with Art Basel Miami Beach. (New York Times)

Budi Tek Makes a Big Gift to LACMA – Seven works from the collection of Tek’s Yuz Foundation that are currently on show at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art have been officially donated to the museum. The gift includes works by Yu Youhan and Zhou Tiehai, as well as Ai Weiwei’s oft-photographed Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads (2011). (TAN)

Taiwan Pavilion Reveals Backup Venice Plan – Taiwan will dedicate its upcoming Venice Biennale pavilion to archival materials and public programs after its original representative, artist Sakuliu Pavavaljung, was sacked amid a string of sexual assault allegations. The project, organized by the Taipei Fine Arts Museum, is titled “Impossible Dreams.” (Art Asia Pacific)

National Portrait Gallery Acquires Female Artists’ Self Portraits – The five self portraits, executed by women artists between the early 1970s and 2019, include Everlyn Nicodemus’s Självporträtt, Åkersberga, the first self portrait by a Black female artist added to the London gallery’s collection. (In the year of our lord 2022, this first may not be something to brag about!) The acquisition also includes works by Rose Finn-Kelcey, Chila Kumari Burman, Celia Paul, and Susan Hiller. (Guardian)


Anna Delvey Arrives on SNL, Sort Of – “The real Delvey is inside you,” Chloe Fineman said, reinventing herself as the artful scammer in this Saturday Night Live skit (which was swiftly shared by the real Anna on Instagram). There were no stops at Fotografiska or trips to Storm King, but there was a very fake Russian accent and plenty of assurances that the wire transfer would be forthcoming. (YouTube)

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