Art Industry News: Since Vacating His Museum-Owned Mansion, LACMA’s Director Has Been Glamping in a Trailer Park + Other Stories

Plus, Banksy's latest work is vandalized by fans of his rival and California's museums get clearance to reopen after one year.

LACMA CEO and director Michael Govan. Photo by Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for LACMA.

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 Tuesday, March 16.


A German Prince Wants His Family Treasures Back From Germany – Georg Friedrich Prinz von Preussen, a descendant of the Hohenzollern dynasty (which reigned over the former Prussian empire), is on a quest to recover his family’s art and artifacts. The bourgeois businessman believes that the royal treasures, confiscated in Eastern Germany after World War II and transferred to museum collections, are rightfully his—but the courts could dismiss his claim if it is found that his great-grandfather was a supporter of the Nazi party. (NYT)

Elon Musk Says He’s Selling an NFT, Too – The NFT frenzy has, perhaps unsurprisingly, inspired Elon Musk to get creative (his girlfriend Grimes sold $5.8 million worth of NFTs at the beginning of the month). The billionaire tech tycoon—who briefly had the distinction of being the richest man on the planet—is making a move into the music industry with a dance track about NFTs… sold as an NFT. On Sunday, he offered some foreshadowing about the project on his Twitter: “I love music. It makes my heart sing.” (Twitter)

Michael Govan Is Now Living in a Trailer Park – The director of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art has been on the move—and under fire—a lot lately. As the shuttered museum faced a mounting deficit, a nonprofit backing LACMA sold the longtime five-bedroom mansion he’d been living in rent-free for $6.7 million. He downsized to a $2.2 million Spanish Revival—but self-evicted after just four months and had the museum put it up for sale. Now, he’s glamping in a Malibu trailer while he looks for more permanent digs. He’s definitely OK with it. “It’s cool,” he told LA Mag. “I’m very happy about it.” (LA Magazine)

Los Angeles Museums Get the Green Light to Reopen – Speaking of LA, the city’s museums finally got clearance to reopen after the state of California graduated to a less restrictive tier of pandemic restrictions. While institutions in many other US states reopened months ago, California’s have remained shuttered for a year. Under the new rules, museums will operate at 25 percent capacity. Many are now ramping up plans and expect to open in April. (New York Times)


Creator of Crypto Art Carbon Calculator Shuts Down Site – Computer scientist Memo Akten is taking down a website that tracks the carbon footprint of crypto art,, because he says it was being used “as a tool for abuse and harassment.” Atken provided no further explanation, but said that he supports “artists, and we should support each other…. Our conversations should not be around comparing individuals to each other, comparing you to them, or me to you.” (Gizmodo)

Almine Rech Is Selling NFT Art – The French and Belgian gallery is getting in on the crypto-art craze, collaborating with Nifty Gateway and artist César Piette on four NFTs that launched yesterday. They range in price from $250 to $799. (Flash Art)


Johann König Is Opening in Seoul – The German dealer is expanding in Asia with a new space in Seoul. Like his former Tokyo space, the outpost will be shared with the luxury clothing brand MCM. The Japanese project shuttered last year as the building was slated for demolition. (TAN)

Banksy’s Reading Prison Work Is Vandalized – Banksy’s latest mural—which depicts an escaping prisoner on the side of Reading Prison in the UK—has been defaced with the words “Team Robbo.” The alias references King Robbo, a graffiti artist who died in 2014 and had a feud with Banksy. The perpetrators also covered up a typewriter that the prisoner figure used as a weight for his bed sheet as he scaled the wall. (BBC)


Garrett Bradley’s Time Nominated for an Oscar – The artist’s acclaimed film has been nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. Bradley, who is represented by Lisson Gallery, created the documentary in 2020 (and it is currently available for streaming). It focuses on the story of Fox Rich, an abolitionist activist, and her attempts to free her jailed husband. (Vanity Fair)

Ed Sheeran’s Painting Raises £51,000 for Charity – A colorful abstract work with Pollock-style sprays of paint by a self-taught artist by the name of Ed Sheeran raised more than $70,000 for the Suffolk, UK, cancer campaign through £20 raffle tickets. The lucky winner of the painting, a 22-year-old woman in Vermont named Claire Faynor, says she may create a dedicated Ed Sheeran room in her home to display it. (BBC)

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