Art Industry News: ‘Shark Tank’ Billionaire Mark Cuban Is Launching a ‘Super-Easy’ Gallery for NFTs Called Lazy.com + Other Stories
Plus, French galleries are up in arms that auction houses are allowed to reopen and the Uffizi will send Botticellis to the Tuscan hills.
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 Wednesday, March 24.
Columbia Graduate Arts Students File Lawsuit for Reimbursement – Graduate students at Columbia’s School of the Arts have filed a class action lawsuit against the school in an effort to recover tuition fees and other financial damages from the 2020 spring semester. While the legal proceedings are underway, students and graduate workers, who have lost access to studios, classes, and mentorship during the pandemic, have been on strike for the spring 2021 semester. (Hyperallergic)
British Museums Under Pressure to Return Looted Artifacts – After Germany entered into talks to return the contested Benin Bronzes in its national collections to Nigeria, pressure is mounting on museums in the UK such as the British Museum in London and the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford to engage more deeply with the restitution conversation. “The current situation is a bit like a thief has stolen your watch and sold it to a pawn shop, but the pawn shop is refusing to hand it over to the police,” said artist Victor Ehikhamenor, who is a member of the Nigerian trust that will receive the restituted objects. (Guardian)
Artist Coalition Announces 10-Week Strike Against MoMA – A coalition of artist and activist groups is planning a 10-week series of programs, protests, and community conversations targeting New York’s Museum of Modern Art under the banner “Strike MoMA.” The initiative, led by the newly formed collective International Imagination of Anti-National Anti Imperialist Feelings, wants to target the institution’s “elitism, hierarchy, inequality, precarity, disposability, anti-Blackness, [and] misogyny.” (Hyperallergic)
Uffizi Diffusi Program to Scatter Botticelli Works to Tuscan Hills – The Uffizi is sending a suite of Botticelli paintings it usually keeps in storage to a villa in Tuscany as part of its “Uffizi Diffusi” project. The initiative is designed to offer high-wattage works on short-term loan to around 100 sites in Tuscany before 2024 with the aim of luring tourists away from overcrowded Florence. (TAN)
Mark Cuban Is Launching an Online Gallery for NFTs – The billionaire investor and Shark Tank regular is developing a new online gallery for digital art and collectibles that would allow creators and collectors to show off their digital assets. “I wanted an easy way to show my NFTs and a way to put them in my social bios, my email signature, and any place I can stick a URL,” Cuban said. “People are curious about what other people collect. There wasn’t a super-easy way to do it.” The new site, Lazy.com, is live now. (The Block)
French Auction Houses Remain Open, Galleries Object – Parisian galleries are revolting after auction houses were granted an exception to the latest lockdown measures imposed on galleries and other businesses on March 20. The main French trade association is demanding galleries receive equal treatment to their competitors, while some dealers accuse the government of caving to auction house lobbying. (Le Monde)
COMINGS & GOINGS
Op-Art Pioneer Ernesto Mallard Dies – The Mexican artist, who was an early proponent of Kinetic art, has died at 89. Mallard emerged as an important figure in the Mexican Op-art movement in the 1960s before stepping away from the art industry the following decade. (The Art Newspaper)
Iceland’s Venice Biennale Pavilion Moves to the Arsenale – Artist Sigurður Guðjónsson, who is representing Iceland at the Venice Biennale in 2022, will work with curator Mónica Bello on the country’s pavilion, which will be sited inside the central Arsenale for the first time. Guðjónsson is known for creating immersive environments that “seem to extend the perceptual field and produce sensations never felt before.” (Press release)
FOR ART’S SAKE
First Events Announced for the Festival of Brexit – Organizers of the £120 million Festival UK 2022 (nicknamed the “Festival of Brexit” after it was announced by then-prime minister Theresa May in the wake of the Brexit vote) have revealed initial plans for programming. Arty highlights include an immersive experience exploring the wonder of the human mind by Turner Prize-winning collective Assemble and a large-scale installation celebrating the British weather by events studio Newsubstance. (Brollies up then, folks!) (Guardian)
See the 394-Pound Meteorite Going Up for Auction – A 394-pound meteorite is being sold online at Premier Spring Estate Auction on April 6. It was previously owned by Dr. Harvey H. Nininger, a self-taught meteoriticist who revived interest in the study of meteorites in the 1930s. The rare specimen is estimated to fetch as much as $200,000. (ArtfixDaily)
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