Art Industry News: Inside the National Gallery Director’s First Week on the Job + Other Stories

Plus, a Connecticut woman is suing Harvard over photographs of her ancestors and MoMA sells a Picasso drawing at auction.

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 Thursday, March 21.


Will Design Save Us From Extinction? – The 22nd edition of the Milan Triennial zeroes in on our ailing planet—and how design has the potential to change human behavior. Curator Paola Antonelli’s main exhibition, “Broken Nature: Design Takes on Human Survival,” which runs through September 1, features more than 100 projects engaging humanity’s fraught relationship with the natural world. Highlights of the cerebral exhibition include before-and-after satellite images showing climate change and rapid urban development; visual representations of data including disease rates and energy consumption; and innovative examples of recycling. (New York Times)

Inside the National Gallery Director’s First Week – The Washington Post rode along with Kaywin Feldman during her first week on the job as the new (and first female) director of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. On the agenda? A gallery-wide staff meeting, the guards’ morning roll call (during which she greeted officers individually), and a full day at new-employee training, which she could have skipped. “It’s good to have a one-day deep dive, to experience what all new employees experience,” Feldman said. (Washington Post)

Harvard Sued Over Photos of Slaves – Tamara Lanier, a Connecticut woman who is a descendant of slaves, is suing Harvard University for ignoring her request to return photographs of two of her ancestors and instead “shamelessly” profiting from them by using them to illustrate books and demanding a licensing fee for their reproduction. The photographs—thought to be the earliest known images of American slaves—were taken by a Harvard biologist as part of a research project that was used to support slavery in the US. Lanier says the university is exploiting the images of her great-great-great-grandfather Renty and his daughter Delia, and is now asking that Harvard turn over the photos, acknowledge her ancestry, and pay her damages. She wants to tell “the true story of who Renty was.” (AP)

Michael Steinhardt Accused of Sexual Harassment – The leading Jewish philanthropist, collector, and museum donor has been accused by seven women of making inappropriate sexual comments while they were relying on or seeking his financial support. Steinhardt denied many of the specific words the women attributed to him and said he had never touched anyone inappropriately, but did acknowledge that provocative comments “were part of my schtick since before I had a penny to my name, and I unequivocally meant them in jest.” Steinhardt has a gallery in his name at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and a natural history museum in his name in Tel Aviv. He is also a major donor to the Israel Museum. (New York Times)


Gagosian Moves Into Market Analysis – Gagosian is launching another online viewing room to coincide with Art Basel Hong Kong next week—but this one is taking an unusual approach. The gallery will dedicate the portal to just one painting by Albert Oehlen from the late 1980s, a novel way to offer high-priced items online. Alongside information about the painting, the gallery is also dipping its toes into market analysis, offering data about the artist’s remarkable auction history. The gallery will reveal the precise painting and price tomorrow when the room goes live at noon. (ARTnews)

MoMA Is Selling a Picasso Drawing – The New York museum is selling a fresh-to-market ink drawing by Picasso at Christie’s France to boost its acquisition fund. The 1932 composition, Joueuse de lyre et nu couché, is one in a series depicting flute players and reclining nudes and is estimated to sell for €250,000–350,000 ($284,766–398,673). The museum hopes the sale on March 28 will capitalize on collectors in town for the prestigious Salon du Dessin fair. (Art Daily)

Denny Dimin Gallery Will Open up a Space in Hong Kong – The Lower East Side gallery is opening an outpost in Hong Kong’s Mid-Levels neighborhood, an affluent residential area. The space’s debut exhibition, opening March 29, will include new work by the mixed-media artist Erin O’Keefe and the painter Matt Mignanelli. (ARTnews)

Heather James to Open Fifth Gallery Location – Palm Desert’s Heather James Fine Art, which has already expanded to New York, San Francisco, and Jackson Hole, is launching its latest outpost in Montecito, California. The director of the new space will be Tom Venditti, who worked for 14 years with billionaire art collector Paul Allen as the senior director of art collections at Vulcan, Inc., in Seattle. (Press release)


India Announces Venice Biennale Selections – The Indian Pavilion at the the Venice Biennale will showcase a group exhibition about the legacy of Mahatma Gandhi. Seven artists—Nandalal Bose, Atul Dodiya, G.R. Iranna, Rummana Hussain, Jitish Kallat, Shakuntala Kulkarni, and Ashim Purkayastha—will take part in the show curated by Roobina Karode of New Delhi’s Kiran Nadar Museum of Art. (Art Asia Pacific)

Dallas Museum Promotes Contemporary Art Curator – The Dallas Museum of Art has named Anna Katherine Brodbeck as its new senior curator of contemporary art. Brodbeck, who previously served as associate curator, fills a position that has been vacant since the abrupt departure of Gavin Delahunty. (ARTnews)

J. Tomilson Hill Joins the Guggenheim’s Board – The collector and private museum founder J. Tomilson Hill has joined the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation’s board of trustees. The hedge-fund billionaire is already a trustee of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. (Press release)


Anne Imhof’s Sex Show Opens at Tate Modern – The Golden Lion-winning artist has transformed all of Tate Modern’s basement Tanks for a 10-day-long installation that blurs the boundaries between male and female and day and night. Called Sex, it includes sound, lighting, specially composed music, and six nights of durational performance. The presentation is organized by curators Catherine Wood and Isabella Maidment. (Press release)

Seventy-Five Women Pay Tribute to Yoko Ono – The veteran Fluxus artist will be celebrated in song, music, and performance at the LA Philharmonic. A 14-piece music ensemble, 25-person chorus, 12 guest artists, nine dancers and a 15-person crew from the rock collective Girlschool will gather at Disney Hall for the tribute concert on Friday night. (LA Times)

Jim Carrey Takes Aim at Operation Varsity Blues – The actor-artist is not amused by fellow Hollywood stars Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman, who are among the 50 people facing charges in the US college admissions scam. Taking aim at the pushy parents who allegedly paid bribes to get their kids into top universities, Carrey has created unflattering portraits in his signature style. He declared on Twitter that all cheaters will eventually get a failing grade. (Fox News)


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