Art Industry News: Banksy’s Brand-New Rat in Chelsea Might Already Be Going to Auction + More Must-Read Stories

Plus, Rio’s modern art museum is selling a Jackson Pollock and Tracey Emin is unleashing her birds in Australia.

Banky's newest rat in New York was recently removed. Courtesy @banksy Instagram.

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 21.


Berkshire Museum Gets (Another) Day in Court – The Boston judge hearing the museum’s petition to sell 40 works of art said thatthe essential question” was whether it could survive without the $55 million it hopes to raise. After many months of legal wrangling, Justice David A. Lowy will soon make the final decision about whether the sale can proceed. (Berkshire Eagle)

Rio de Janeiro Museum Is Selling a Pollock – Rio de Janeiro’s Museum of Modern Art is selling a painting by Jackson Pollock donated by Nelson Rockefeller. The estimated value of No. 16 (1950) is around $25 million. The museum says it needs the money to secure its future for the next 30 years. (AFP) ​

Banksy’s New York Rat Gets Removed in Record Time – The owners of the New York building on which Bansky stenciled a rat have already removed his design, just a week after it appeared. A foreman said he suspected it was heading straight to auction. (Hyperallergic)

Christopher Knight on the Mess at MOCA LA – The Los Angeles Times art critic says MOCA Los Angeles’s firing of its chief curator illustrates a broader culture clash plaguing the museum. “Enormous pressures for a traditional, establishment mechanism for valuing art just rolled over an untraditional, anti-establishment curatorial process that was feeling its way through,” he writes. (LA Times)


Will Picasso Break His Own Record This Year? – In 2018 to date, high-ticket Picassos have generated $236 million at auction (and it’s only March). The Rockefeller family’s Rose Period Picasso heading to Christie’s in May has an estimate of $90 million–120 million, fueling speculation that this may be the year the artist’s $179 million auction record is broken. (Art Market Monitor)

Iranian Contemporary Art Gallery Opening in London Tehran’s CAMA Gallery is expanding. The gallery’s new London space, due to open on April 5, will debut with “Sensation,” a group show of work by 19 contemporary Iranian artists who specialize in techniques ranging from calligraphy to hyper-realistic painting. (Press release)

Ming Dynasty Jug Leads Sotheby’s Asia Week Sales The phones were busy on the second day of the auction house’s Asia Week sales in New York. A rare blue-and-white ewer from the Detring / von Hanneken Collection sold to a private Asian collector for more than $3 million. (Press release)


The Rockport Center Will Be Demolished – The Texas art center, which was hit hard by Hurricane Harvey in August, has announced that it will raze its building, which has been deemed beyond repair. The organization will use grants it has received since the hurricane to help build a new facility. (Glasstire)

Art Institute of Chicago Hires a New Curator Caitlin Haskell has been appointed the curator of international Modern art at the Chicago institution. Previously, Haskell was the associate curator of painting and sculpture at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. She begins her new role in July. (ARTnews)

ArtCenter/South Florida Taps New VP of Programming – Esther Park will take over the position, leading the Miami center’s conversation series and artist residency program. She previously served as director of alumni and public programs at the National YoungArts Foundation. (Artforum)

California’s African American Museum Gets a Big Gift The Los Angeles museum has received 32 paintings, sculptures, and mixed media works from the collector and scholar Gordon W. Bailey. The gift includes works by Sam Doyle, Purvis Young, Leroy Almon, and others. (Press release)


Ancient Mosaics Found Under Florida Museum’s Lawn – The Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg, has recovered two ancient mosaics originally from Antioch that a staff member decided to bury under its front lawn three decades ago. Originally excavated in the 1930s by Princeton University, they were acquired by the Florida museum in the 1960s. (Tampa Bay Times)

Barnes Denies Plans to Sell Any Art – The Barnes has leased its original home in Merion to St. Joseph’s University. Now, the board is assessing the future of Albert Barnes’s own home, Ker-Feal. While Ker-Feal’s furniture, rugs, and Chinese vases could possibly be sold, paintings and a Jacques Lipchitz stone relief on the Merion building are staying put. (Philadelphia Inquirer)

Pittsburg Will Replace Racist Statue With Statue of a Black Woman – The city of Pittsburg is asking locals to vote on what should replace the statue of composer Stephen Foster, which includes a barefoot slave at his feet strumming a banjo. The city intends to supplant the statue with one of an African American woman who had an impact on Pittsburg. (Smithsonian)

Tracey Emin’s Birds Officially Unveiled in Sydney – Yesterday, Emin finally unveiled her public work for Sydney, which features 60 handmade bronze birds perched in various locations across the Australian city. The life-sized birds are titled Distance of Your Heart. (Press release)

Tracey Emin Distance of your Heart in Sydney. Photo by Katherine Griffiths.

Tracey Emin Distance of your Heart in Sydney. Photo by Katherine Griffiths.

Tracey Emin Distance of Your Heart in Sydney. Photo by Paul Patterson.

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