Art Industry News: Obama Portraitist Kehinde Wiley Is Launching His Own Artist Residency in Senegal + Other Stories

Plus, the US Supreme Court declines to hear a case over the National Gallery's Matisse portrait and the UK returns a looted tablet to Iraq.

Kehinde Wiley at Brooklyn Academy of Music. Courtesy Jenny Anderson/Getty Images for MoCADA.

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 Wednesday, March 20.


Brice Marden Can’t Be Tamed – The Minimalist painter has had an unusually public and candid struggle with cancer, but his illness has not changed his artistic practice. “It hasn’t made me work any differently,” Marden says. “It’s just been an extra thing to think about.” The 80-year-old artist, who is based in upstate New York, is showing little sign of slowing down. Some 60 of his drawings will go on view at Gagosian in Paris on April 4, while the Menil Drawing Institute in Houston is planning a major show next February. (New York Times)

Supreme Court Declines to Take Up Matisse Case – The long-winded battle over Matisse’s 1908 portrait of Greta Moll has finally come to an end. The US Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal on the case brought by Moll’s grandchildren, who claim the work was illegally acquired by the National Gallery in London after World War II. Last September, a New York appeals court affirmed a lower court’s decision that the museum was outside the jurisdiction of US courts. (The Art Newspaper)

Kehinde Wiley Launches an Artist Residency – The artist behind Obama’s official presidential portrait has launched an artist residency called Black Rock Senegal in Dakar. The program will bring visual artists, writers, and filmmakers together on Wiley’s compound to work alongside him for one to three months. “As an artist who works in the west, I desired a space of renewal to explore new ideas and to create work outside of a western context, to create work within the context of my own lineage,” Wiley says. The project is also an opportunity to pay it forward for the artist, who was deeply shaped by his own residency experience at the Studio Museum in Harlem at the start of his career. The first residency cycle begins in June; applications are due April 15. (ARTnews)

The UK Returns a Looted Tablet to Iraq – The UK government has returned a 3,000-year-old carved stone tablet from Babylonia—said to curse anyone who destroys it—to Iraq. The antiquity, which was looted during the Iraq War and traveled to the UK under forged documents, was seized at a London airport in 2012. Since then, authorities and experts at the British Museum have worked to confirm its provenance. The museum’s director handed over the object, which he describes as “a very important piece of Iraq’s cultural heritage,” to the Iraqi ambassador in London this week. (AFP)


London Dealers Caught Up in Chowaiki Fraud – Three London dealers have been ensnared in the ongoing legal saga surrounding incarcerated dealer Ezra Chowaiki, who was sentenced to 18 months in prison for fraud last year. A Pennsylvania collector has filed a complaint against three London dealers—Hugh Gibson, Alon Zakaim, and David Breuer-Weil—over the rightful ownership of Marc Chagall’s painting Bouquet de giroflées (1971). The collector alleges it was sold to the dealers under false pretenses and that he is the rightful owner; the dealers contest the claim. (TAN)

Condo São Paulo Names Participants – Paris’s Galerie Antoine Levi and Brussels’s Levy.Delval are among the 11 international participants to be hosted by eight galleries in the second edition of gallery-share initiative Condo São Paulo. This year marks the city’s first full-sized edition after a successful mini-Condo (called “Unit”) held at the Brazilian gallery Jaqueline Martins in 2018. (ARTnews)

Measuring the Market at TEFAF – What’s the status of the various niche markets brought together under one roof at TEFAF in Maastricht, which is open until March 24? Dealers repeatedly state that there is a scarcity of high-quality Old Master paintings, requiring creativity on their part. “The top 10 old masters are impossible to source but there are plenty of other artists that buyers are curious about,” says Andrea Lullo of Lullo Pampoulides. Meanwhile, antiquities seem to be a blossoming opportunity, with comparatively decent supply and still-affordable prices. (TAN)

New Online-Only Auction Record Set at Sotheby’s – An item from the personal collection of the Austrian economist Friedrich Hayek has broken the record for an online-only sale at Sotheby’s. His Nobel prize went for  £1.1 million ($1.5 million), exceeding the previous high mark set earlier this year when a deep-pocketed 17-year-old acquired a complete archive of Supreme skateboards for $800,000. (Press release)


Prospect New Orleans Names Director’s Council – An all-star group of eight curators will support artistic directors Naima Keith and Diana Nawi in their work on the Prospect.5 New Orleans triennial in 2020. The council includes LACMA contemporary art department head Rita Gonzalez; United States Artists CEO Deana Haggag; New Orleans’s African American Museum director Gia Hamilton; SFMOMA contemporary art curator Eungie Joo; MoMA associate curator of media and performance art Thomas J. Lax; Dia Foundation deputy director Courtney J. Martin; Virginia Museum of Fine Arts curator Valerie Cassel Oliver; and Pérez Art Museum director (and former Prospect artistic director) Franklin Sirmans. (ARTnews)

Neuberger Museum Announces Prize Winner – The museum in upstate New York has awarded the French-Moroccan multimedia artist Yto Barrada the 2019 Roy R. Neuberger Prize, which comes with $25,000. Her exhibition. titled “Yto Barrada: The Dye Garden,” which first debuted in Rome, will open at the museum at Purchase College in September. (ARTnews)

New Director for De Appel – The Polish curator Monika Szewczyk will succeed Niels Van Tomme, who left the Amsterdam contemporary art nonprofit at the end of last year. Szewczyk, who previously helped organize documenta 14, will begin her new role on May 1. (Press release)


The Havana Biennial’s Artist List Is Out – The postponed 13th edition of the Cuban exhibition, titled “The construction of the possible,” will include 83 artists and collectives from 45 countries. The late French-Moroccan photographer Leila Alaoui is among those on the list, as well as seven Cuban artists including Tamara Campo Hernández and Oscar Figueroa. The show runs from April 12 to May 12. (ARTnews)

Princess Kate Announces Royal Patronage of Foundling Museum – The Duchess of Cambridge has become a patron of London’s Foundling Museum, which works to change the lives of vulnerable children and young adults through creativity. Middleton accepted the role of patron after visiting the museum in December 2017 and meeting families and children who had been helped by its programming. (Press release)

A Monument to Women’s Suffrage Approved for Central Park – A statue depicting Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony will be the first monument dedicated to a non-fictional woman in New York’s Central Park. A slightly modified version of the original proposal made by sculptor Meredith Bergmann was unanimously approved by the Public Design Committee, despite reservations held by some that the monument whitewashes the struggle for women’s rights. (Hyperallergic)

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