Art Industry News: George Lucas’s Futuristic Museum of Storytelling Breaks Ground in LA + More Must-Read Stories

Plus, street artists call for an H&M boycott and a Brazilian scientist claims he discovered a hidden Michelangelo selfie.

Filmmaking legend George Lucas. Photo: ROSLAN RAHMAN/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, March 15.


Ousted Director Defends the Museum as Sanctuary – In a new essay, Laura Raicovich, the former director of the Queens Museum, argues that cultural institutions are an ideal place to provide sanctuary for immigrants and other groups facing discrimination. But as Raicovich says she learned firsthand, board members are wary and fear retaliation in Trump’s America. (Frieze)

Annie Leibovitz Captures Macron and Museum Leaders for Vanity FairThe French president Emmanuel Macron hosted 28 museum directors at the Elysée Palace on Tuesday to discuss cultural policy. Curiously, several hot-button topics—the possible loan of the Mona Lisa and the French promise to repatriate African heritage—were not discussed. But the American photographer Annie Leibovitz was on hand to capture the event for Vanity Fair. (Le Figaro)

Lucas Museum Breaks Ground in LA – Star Wars creator George Lucas has started building his futuristic Museum of Narrative Art in Los Angeles, which has an estimated budget of $1 billion. But the museum’s director Don Bacigalupi would not be drawn out on the rumors that its planned acquisitions include Norman Rockwell’s Shuffleton’s Barbershop, previously owned by the Berkshire Museum. (New York Times)

Street Artists Call for H&M Boycott – The affordable fashion label is under fire for its latest ad campaign, which uses graffiti by the artist Jason ‘Revok’ Williams as a backdrop. Williams sent a cease and desist letter to H&M, but the company is fighting back, arguing that the artist “has no copyright rights to assert” because his art “is the product of criminal conduct.” Naturally, this has angered street artists, who are calling for a boycott of the brand. (Metro)


Ritz Memorabilia Goes Under the Hammer – More than 3,500 objects from the famous and celebrity-frequented Ritz Hotel in Paris are hitting the auction block next month. A bed board and lacquered bedside tables from Coco Chanel’s suite are on offer for an estimated $3,000–4,200. (The Art Newspaper)

Jedd Novatt Is Now Represented by Waddington Custot – The London gallery now represents the American sculptor known for his monumental geometric works in steel and bronze. His first solo exhibition will open there in November 2018. (Press release)

Hans Coper Ceramic Smashes Records – A ceramic by Hans Coper from his 1970s “Cycladic” series sold for £381,000 ($531,000) at a regional auction in England, smashing records for the artist as well as the category of British studio pottery. The seller’s late husband bought it for £250; after he died, she kept it in a shoebox. (Guardian)

Kurimanzutto Teams Up With Thomas Dane – Kurimanzutto is presenting a major show in London at Thomas Dane Gallery in June; next fall, it will host Thomas Dane in its Mexico City space. The London show, co-organized by co-founder Jose Kurí, examines the history of Signals, an influential London gallery that showed artists including David Medalla and Gustav Metzger in the 1960s. (Press release)


Textile Artist Ethel Stein Dies at 100 – The Upstate New York artist who wove her way into the hearts of many with her sock puppet characters—she sold 10,000 of them during her lifetime—died on Friday at 100 years old. In her work, Stein merged historical weaving practices with a 20th-century Bauhaus aesthetic. She also created the puppets Lamb Chop and Charlie Horse of 1950s children’s television fame. (NYT)

Aperture Wins Major Magazine Award – The contemporary photography magazine was awarded the 2018 National Magazine Award for general excellence for three of its issues: “American Destiny,” “Future Gender,” and “Elements of Style.” The New Yorker won the award for feature photography for Philip Montgomery’s spotlight on the opioid crisis in Ohio. (ARTnews)

Art Jameel and Delfina Foundation Partner – London’s Delfina Foundation and Art Jameel in Jeddah and Dubai have announced a major new partnership involving new programming and residency initiatives. Delfina’s director Aaron Cezar will become senior advisor at Art Jameel, and Fady Jameel will join Delfina’s board of trustees. (Press release)


Museums Fly Trevor Paglen’s Weeping Angel Flag – Yesterday, 17 institutions across the US mounted Weeping Angel, a flag designed by Trevor Paglen for an initiative by the public art nonprofit Creative Time. The project, “Pledges of Allegiance,” invites artists to design flags in opposition to the Trump administration. (ARTnews)

Munster Raises Funds for Eisenman Sculpture – A group of enterprising Münster residents are developing creative ways to raise the €1.2 million ($1.48 million) needed to buy Nicole Eisenman’s fountain sculpture from last year’s Skulptur Projekte Münster. One local company has even developed an Eisenman-themed beer. The artist is working to create a permanent outdoor version of the piece, which was repeatedly targeted by vandals during the show’s run. (TAN)

Hidden Michelangelo Selfie Discovered? – A Brazilian scientist claims that the small sketch of a man tucked in the corner of Michelangelo’s drawing of Vittoria Colonna is, in fact, a self-portrait of the artist. But don’t go rewriting your art history textbooks just yet: previously, Deivis de Campos has “found” feminist symbols in the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. (Daily Mail)

National Portrait Gallery Apologizes for Fake Stephen Hawking Photo  The museum is fixing a mislabeled photograph from an anti-Vietnam War protest to correct its previous claim that one of the men in the photo was a young Stephen Hawking with crutches. The gallery had been selling the print online as an image of Hawking with Vanessa Redgrave and Tariq Ali. The photo began to spread quickly online as a tribute to Hawking, who died yesterday. (Gizmodo)

Follow Artnet News on Facebook:

Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.