Art Industry News: The Met Had the Two Biggest Museum Shows in the World in 2018 + Other Stories

Plus, controversy hits El Museo del Barrio yet again and the Pinchuk Prize winner has been announced.

Installation of "Heavenly Bodies" at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Image courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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 Monday, March 25.


Artist Pulls Work From El Museo del Barrio Show to Protest ‘Exclusion’ – Controversy continues at the New York museum as artist Marta Moreno Vega withdraws her work from a planned exhibition in the wake of the appointment of Rodrigo Moura as the museum’s chief curator. The appointment of Moura, who is Brazilian, and of Patrick Charpenel, who is Mexican, as executive director in 2017 are cited as evidence of how the institution is favoring Latin Americans over Latinx and Puerto Rican artists and curators. In a social media post, the artist said the museum is “excluding the communities it was created to serve.” (ARTnews)

For Some Older Artists, Success Can Come Too Late – A number of older African American artists are attracting unprecedented market attention. While many are pleased with the belated recognition, some struggle to navigate “the coarser realities of the modern-day art market,” according to the New York Times. Artist McArthur Binion, for example, rediscovered at age 72, rejected a dealer who he felt was patronizing him by telling him how to speak about his art. Other dealers overestimate the speed at which these older artists can work, and their capacity to travel the world for the yearly calendar of industry events. (New York Times)

These Were the Biggest Museum Shows of 2018 – The Met was behind the two most popular museum shows in the world last year, with “Heavenly Bodies” welcoming some 10,919 visitors a day, followed by its Michelangelo show, which saw 7,839 visitors a day. Interestingly, five of the top 10 shows were staged by the Shanghai Museum, with the most popular of the group featuring masterpieces on loan from Tate Britain and welcoming some 7,126 daily visitors. The Louvre’s Delacroix show made it into the top 20, taking position 15 with 5,431 daily visitors, followed by the Guggenheim’s controversial Art and China show in 16th place, which saw 5,307 visitors a day.  (The Art Newspaper)

Protests Erupt at the Whitney Again Over Controversial Trustee – The activist group Decolonize This Place targeted the Whitney for a second time over its ties to vice chairman of its board Warren B. Kanders, who owns a company that makes tear-gas canisters that have been used at the US-Mexico border. On Friday evening demonstrators from the group gathered inside the museum’s Andy Warhol show holding up banners reading “Brought to you by Safariland” and “Warren Kanders Must Go!” They were joined by people from 30 other activist organizations, including Nan Goldin’s anti-opioid P.A.I.N group. (ARTnews)


Sotheby’s Will Host Another African Art Sale in April – The auction house will hold its fourth sale of African Art on April 2 in London, stating in a release that “the international market for Modern and Contemporary African Art is certainly heating up.” It will be led by a work by El Anatsui, which carries a low estimate of £550,000, and will also include work by Chéri Samba, Hassan El Glaoui, and Eddy Kamuanga Illunga. (Art Market Monitor)

Auction of Contested Hertfordshire Schools Collection Reaps £444,000 – The Hertfordshire County Council in the UK went ahead with an auction of 150 works from its collection at Cheffins in Cambridge despite criticism from cultural figures including the artists Bob and Roberta Smith that such sales threaten the public realm. A representative of the Art Fund Charity also raised concerns that the proceeds are not all going to maintain the remaining works in the public collection. (TAN)


An Africobra Show Comes to the Venice Biennale – The Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami will organize an official collateral event with the Chicago-born artist collective Africobra for the upcoming Venice Biennale. Called “AFRICOBRA: Nation Time,” the event marks the first exhibition from South Florida will appear in the prestigious Italian exhibition. It also marks the collective’s first major show in Europe. (Press release)

Grayson Perry Is Getting His First Major Show in Scotland – The line-up for the Edinburgh art festival has been revealed and it includes a solo show for Turner Prize winner Grayson Perry—his first major exhibition in Scotland—at Dovecot Studios, as well as a large exhibition dedicated to Bridget Riley at the Royal Scottish Academy. The annual festival is set to run from July 25 to August 25. (Guardian)

Pinchuk Art Prize Winner Announced – The PinchukArtCentre has announced Lithuanian artist Emilija Škarnulytė as the winner of the fifth edition of the Future Generation Art Prize. The international prize for artists under 35 comes with a $60,000 cash award and another $40,000 to put toward their artistic practice. (Press release)


Montreal Museum Hires a Staff Therapist – The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts has appointed a full-time art therapist to its staff. The move comes after Canada introduced a program allowing doctors to prescribe museum visits to sick patients. The therapist, Stephen Legari, chats about the role art can play in healing in this week’s episode of Hyperallergic’s podcast. (Hyperallergic)

The Cinematographer of ‘Roma’ Is Selling Photos to Benefit a Mexican Labor Group – Photographer Carlos Somonte, who documented the award-winning film “Roma,” has teamed up The Lapis Press to produce an edition of five photographs taken during the filming. Somonte has pledged to donate the profits to the Center for Support and Training of Domestic Workers in Mexico. (Artspace)

German Museum Acquires Unsolicited Sculpture From documenta 14 – One of the tent sculptures that had been unofficially installed at documenta 14 in 2017 by Thierry Geoffroy was acquired by the Kunsthalle Mannheim. The tent, which has “the emergency will replace the contemporary” scrawled on it, was part of the recent exhibition “Structure in the world. Art and economics 1919–1939 / 2008–2018” at the museum. The work comments on the European migrant crisis as well as art’s capacity to respond to socioeconomic emergencies. (Email)


The Emergency Will Replace the Contemporary by Thierry Geoffroy.

Follow Artnet News on Facebook:

Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.