Art Industry News: Amid Defections, the Venice Biennale’s Russian Pavilion Remains Closely Tied to Putin + Other Stories

Plus, an unsolved murder may help crack the Gardner Museum heist, and a new book explores Chris Burden's unrealized art projects.

An installation by Russian artist Irina Nakhova at the country's pavilion during the 56th Venice Biennale on May 5, 2015 in Venice. Photo: GABRIEL BOUYS/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 1.


An Interactive Look at Felled Confederate Monuments – Nearly two years after the murder of George Floyd sparked a reevaluation of the visible legacy of Confederate memorials across the U.S., around 230 statues have been removed, relocated, or renamed. More than 2,000 remain. A New York Times interactive report surveys where, when, and what became of some of these monuments in the wake of Floyd’s death. (New York Times)

German President Pulls Funding From “Diversity United” – Germany’s president Frank-Walter Steinmeier has withdrawn his support from the large group exhibition “Diversity United,” which is currently on display at Moscow’s Tretyakov Gallery despite calls from the show’s organizers to take it off view. Another planned stop in Paris has been cancelled. President Vladimir Putin, who authorized an invasion of Ukraine, is a patron of the show about European democracy. (DPA)

The Russian Pavilion Has Uncomfortably Close Ties to Putin – Anders Kreuger, a curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Antwerp, has raised questions about the money behind the Venice Biennale’s now-cancelled Russian PavilionThe women behind Smart Art, a company contracted to produce the pavilion for the next 10 years, are close to Putin’s inner circle: Anastasia Karneeva, the pavilion’s commissioner, is the daughter of a prominent associate of Putin whose company produces wartime fighter jets, while Ekaterina Vinokurova is the daughter of none other than Russia’s foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov. (Kunstkritikk)

An Unsolved Murder Might Help Crack the Gardner Case – Police may have a new lead in the Gardner Museum heist: the apparent assassination of a man named Jimmy Marks in Lynn, Massachusetts, in 1991. According to a tip, Marks bragged in the months before his death about helping to hide some of the stolen Gardner work. Authorities believe he had connections to another prime suspect, Bobby Guarente, whose widow told police in 2010 that she thinks her husband murdered an Irish guy named Jimmy. (Boston 25 NewsBoston Globe)


USC Sells Frank Lloyd Wright House – The University of Southern California’s School of Architecture sold the Freeman House, a 1920s home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, to real estate developer Richard E. Weintraub. The 2,800-square-foot house, which is tucked away in the Hollywood Hills, cost a mere $1.8 million due to the extensive repairs and preservation work needed. (Los Angeles Times)

Beirut Museum of Art Breaks Ground – Lebanon’s Beirut Museum of Art broke ground this weekend after seven years of stops and starts. The institution devoted to contemporary and modern art, which will be steps away from the National Museum of Beirut, should be complete by 2026. (ARTnews)

A New Book Explores Chris Burden’s Unrealized Projects – A new book published by Gagosian, Poetic Practical: The Unrealized Work of Chris Burden, brings together 60 of the conceptual artist’s never-completed projects. His impossible dreams included a plan to put a Sputnik satellite replica into orbit and the construction of a 62-foot-tall ferris wheel-shaped water fountain. (T Magazine)


A Lovecraftian Creature in a Paris Gallery Went Viral – The unpredictable alchemy of the internet strikes again! A sculpture by the Tehran-based artist duo Peybak of a hairy humanoid figure curled on its side in a corner went viral on Twitter over the weekend. The work, on view at Galerie GPN Vallois in Paris, has been retweeted from one user’s account more than 20,000 times. (ARTnews)


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