Art Industry News: KAWS Declares the Death of H&M’s Street Cred After Graffiti Lawsuit + More Must-Read Stories

Plus, Julian Schnabel is ready for his comeback and Sean Kelly donates his James Joyce trove to the Morgan.

KAWS. Photo: Clint Spaulding/

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 Friday, March 16.


Julian Schnabel Is Ready for His Comeback (Again) – The artist and filmmaker is hoping to certify his long-brewing personal “American renaissance” with a show at San Francisco’s Legion of Honor Museum that will announce itself to visitors with six new large-scale abstract paintings he created for the museum’s outdoor courtyard, which will tower ever-so-modestly over a casting of of Auguste Rodin’s The Thinker. He is also also working on a movie about Van Gogh called At Eternity’s Gate. (New York Times)

Sean Kelly Donates His James Joyce Trove to the Morgan – The art dealer and his wife Mary have built an enviable collection of nearly 400 works by the Irish author over the years—complete with signed first editions, manuscripts, and correspondence. The couple has announced they will now give it to the Morgan Library & Museum in Manhattan, where the museum is planning a 2022 exhibition timed to the centennial of the publication of Ulysses. (NYT)

KAWS Declares “R.I.P. H&M” Over Street Art Kerfuffle – The famed artist used an Instagram story to join the chorus of creatives siding against H&M after the clothing company argued that the graffiti artist REVOK didn’t deserve copyright protection for a graffiti artwork they used in an ad campaign because it was “a product of criminal conduct.” H&M has since dropped its lawsuit, admitting they “should have acted differently” and are working with REVOK for a solution. (Complex)

We Art Not Surprised Supports Ousted Female Curators – After the high-profile female museum curators María Inés Rodríguez, Laura Raicovich, and Helen Molesworth were each issued their marching orders for being, respectively, “too demanding,” “too political,” or “undermining [of] the museum,” the activist group We Are Not Surprised suggested a sexist pattern to the dismissals. (Garage / Instagram)


Sotheby’s Appoints New Asia Chairman – Nicolas Chow has been promoted by the auction house to be the chairman of Sotheby’s Asia. He has been at Sotheby’s since 1999, latterly as head of its Chinese art department. (Art Forum)

Collectors Snap Up Works in Nairobi – Demand for works from across Africa by such artists as the late Ugandan painter Geoffrey Musaka and the Kenyan artist Yony Waite pushed an auction of African modern and contemporary art in Nairobi to bring in Sh21 million ($200,000) in total. A 1989 painting by Waite went to a US phone bidder. (Business Daily Africa)

African Leaders Push the EU to Ban Ivory Trade – A summit of African leaders in Botswana will increase pressure on the European Union to follow China in banning the trade of ivory. Antique traders, meanwhile, are fighting to avert a complete ban that would include historic pieces. (Journal du Cameroun)

Next Hearing Is Set in Berkshire Museum Saga – The Berkshire Museum is going back to court on March 20 in hopes to clear the remaining legal hurdles to its controversial sale of 40 works. The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court in Boston will hear from the museum’s lawyers and its opponents. (ARTNews)


Trudl Bruckner, Co-Founder of Art Basel, Has Died Aged 101 – The veteran Basel gallerist, who co-founded Art Basel in 1970 and ran her Riehentor gallery for more than four decades, died last week, aged 101. Trudl Bruckner’s catchphrase was: “For the love of Basel.” (Press release)

The Getty Research Institute Acquires LACE Archive – The archive of Los Angeles’s longest-running contemporary art space, LA Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE), has been acquired by the Getty Research Institute. Named after a bridal boutique where it was briefly based, the gallery has organized shows by more than 5,000 artists, supporting Paul McCarthy, Mike Kelley, and Rachel Rosenthal early in their careers. (Press release)

Olafur Eliasson Turns His Little Sun Into a Foundation – The artist’s eco-friendly venture has become a nonprofit foundation, with its first project aiming to deliver solar-powered lamps and mobile phone chargers to schools in Rwanda. The initiative was launched by Olafur Eliasson and the engineer Frederik Ottesenand to bring sustainable energy to millions of people living off the grid. (Design Boom)​

Tracey Emin Brings the Birds to Sydney – The YBA legend has unveiled 67 handmade bronze birds, which are peppered around on doorways and awnings, tracing a path towards a solitary bird in a birdbath that has the title The Distance of Your Heart inscribed on it. The project is a part of the Australian city’s new public-art initiative, with Emin’s works priced at $912,000 Australian (about $709,000). (Sydney Morning Herald)


Philadelphia Museum of Art is Giving Its Chinese Galleries a Facelift – Beginning in April, the six wings devoted to Asian art will close until mid-2019, as the institution launches its first update of these galleries in several decades. The project is expected to cost around $2 million. (Press release)

Jenny Holzer’s Work for Sculpture Park in Hong Kong Damaged and Removed – The artist’s work, which debuted in February alongside Yayoi Kusama and Tracey Emin as a part of Hong Kong’s Harbour Arts initiative, has been damaged badly enough that all four components have been removed. (Instagram)

Fred Wilson Brings Afro Kismet to Pace Galleries – The African American artist who challenges history’s erasure of people of color is bringing his exhibition that debuted at the Istanbul Biennial last fall to Pace Gallery in London on March 23 before it travels to their New York location in July. The show merges the artist’s binary practice of revealing institutional bias and creating artworks that challenge historical narratives.  (Financial Times)

“Call Me By Monet” Has Won the Hearts of Instagram’s Art World – An Instagram account dedicated to the accoladed film Call Me By Your Name by Luca Guadagnino is going viral for photoshopping its protagonists into famous Monet paintings. Started by 22-year-old Filipino student Mika Labrague, it imagines key moments from the film taking place inside Monet paintings, and it already has 43,000 followers. (Dazed)

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