Art Industry News: Artemisia Gentileschi Was About to Have Her Moment. Now Her Historic Survey Has Been Postponed Indefinitely + Other Stories
Plus, Christie's shuts down almost all its locations and England's Arts Council begins planning grants for out-of-work artists.
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 Monday, March 16. For an up-to-the-minute list of recent art world cancellations and postponements, have a look here.
How the Gardner Security Head Befriended an Art Thief – The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum’s head of security has struck up an unlikely friendship with a retired art thief and career criminal. Anthony Amore is happy to have the occasional lunch with Myles Connor, who once stole a Rembrandt from Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts but was in jail at the time of the Gardner heist. Connor claims he cased the museum with someone involved in the unsolved crime. Ulrich Boser, the author of a book on the Gardner heist, says Amore may have an ulterior motive for the unlikely friendship: “It makes sense to me that Anthony is reaching out and having conversations with people like that.” (Boston Globe)
California Man Pleads Guilty in Art Fraud Case – Philip Righter has pleaded guilty to trying to sell fake works by Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Keith Haring in a fraud worth more than $6 million. Righter forged paperwork to support his claims of authenticity, used the forgeries as collateral for loans that he defaulted on, and falsely claimed to have donated art to charity in order to secure tax breaks. The West Hollywood-based, 43-year-old fraudster told prospective buyers that he had inherited some of the works from his grandmother. After he is sentenced in Florida, he will be transferred o California, where he faces additional charges. (New York Times)
Landmark Artemisia Gentileschi Show Called Off – The National Gallery has made what it describes as an “unprecedented” decision to indefinitely postpone its highly anticipated Artemisia Gentileschi exhibition, which was originally scheduled to open on April 4, because of the coronavirus pandemic. The museum said in a statement that it was “very disappointed” about having to postpone the first-ever major UK exhibition of the female Old Master, but called the move “sadly unavoidable.” The show, which was inspired by the museum’s $4.5 million acquisition of a self-portrait by the artist in 2018, will be rescheduled at a to-be-determined date. (The Art Newspaper)
Arts Council England Takes a Coronavirus Lead – The government-funded Arts Council has announced it is making mitigating the impact of coronavirus its “number one priority for the next three months.” The arts funding body will refocus some grant programs to help compensate individual artists and freelancers for lost earnings. It also pledged to bring forward grant payments to organizations it supports to assist with their cash flow. Although the UK government is still advising museums and arts organizations to remain open, ACE warns: “if you are a public-facing venue you may have to close for a period of time.” (ACE)
Christie’s Closes Most Locations – Christie’s is joining dozens of art businesses in temporarily closing the majority of its offices around the world due to coronavirus, but its London auction house remains open. There will be reduced staff in Amsterdam, Geneva, and Paris. For an up-to-the-minute list of arts-related closures (and reopenings), click here. (ARTnews)
Will Coronavirus Revive Interest in Local Fairs? – The commentariat seems to be divided as to whether smaller or larger fairs are the ones that will emerge stronger following the coronavirus crisis. Our columnist Tim Schneider notes in this week’s Gray Market that postponements to an increasingly crowded fall will likely result in some kind of consolidation. The Times suggests that smaller fairs, like the Dallas Art Fair and Art Brussels, will double down on local art collectors as travel declines. (NYT)
COMINGS & GOINGS
France Shuts Down Eiffel Tower as Part of Lockdown – France ordered the closure of the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, and the Musée d’Orsay, as well as all cafés, restaurants, cinemas, and nonessential shops starting Sunday. Having recorded at least 3,600 infections of COVID-19, the country has banned all gatherings of more than 100 people, but pressed ahead with plans for nationwide municipal elections on Sunday. (AP)
Italian Architect Vittorio Gregotti Has Died of the Virus – The 92-year-old architect died in Milan from pneumonia after contracting coronavirus. The renowned architect designed the 1992 Olympic Stadium in Barcelona, the Arcimboldi opera theatre in Milan, and the new opera house in Aix-en-Provence, France. (Monopol)
FOR ART’S SAKE
Bernard Arnault Orders LVMH Perfume Factories to Make Hand Sanitizer – The luxury conglomerate owned by top art collector Bernard Arnault plans to begin fabricating hand sanitizer, which it will supply to France free of charge. Facilities that produce fragrances and cosmetics for Christian Dior, Guerlain, and Givenchy will temporarily be converted into factories to make hydroalcoholic gel for French health authorities and hospitals. (The Cut)
Museum Workers Search for Clarity Amid Health Emergency – Part-time workers at museums are concerned that organizations have been vague about payment as they shutter amid the coronavirus outbreak. A spokesperson for the Metropolitan Museum of Art said all workers will be paid during the temporary closure—but sources inside the museum say that they were told that part-time and full-time workers will receive pay for the next two weeks only. (ARTnews)
Anish Kapoor’s Bean Put in Lockdown – Chicago’s Millennium Park remains open, but Kapoor’s Cloud Gate (also known affectionately among throngs of Instagrammers as The Bean) is in quarantine, with no visitors permitted nearby. All park events have been canceled through April 12. (Block Club)
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