Art Industry News: How an LA Gallery Owner Became World-Famous (It Involves Shrimp Tails and Cinnamon Toast Crunch) + Other Stories

Plus, London's Masterpiece fair cancels its 2021 edition and the Smithsonian is on the hunt for a class of new directors.

Jensen Karp, the founder of Gallery1988 in Los Angeles, also known as shrimp-tail guy.
Jensen Karp, the founder of Gallery1988 in Los Angeles, also known as shrimp-tail guy. (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for TBS)

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 Thursday, March 25.


M+ Says It Will Comply With National Security Law – The pressures placed on cultural producers by Hong Kong’s new national security law are beginning to bubble over. The head of West Kowloon Cultural District Authority, which oversees the highly anticipated art museum M+, has pledged that its inaugural exhibitions will be in accordance with the national security law. Meanwhile, M+ confirmed it has no plans to show dissident artist Ai Weiwei’s work Study of Perspective: Tiananmen Square (1997) when it opens later this year. (South China Morning Post)

Smithsonian Hunts for New Directors – The Smithsonian Institution is going on a hiring spree. No fewer than six museums are searching for new directors, including the National Museum of African Art in Washington, DC; the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum in New York; and the newly authorized National Museum of the American Latino and the American Women’s History Museum. The appointments have the potential to reshape the institution for generations. (Washington Post)

There’s a Nebulous Art Angle on the Shrimp Tails Fiasco – Twitter has been freaking out about one unlucky man’s discovery of shrimp tails and string inside a box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal. The victim of this strange and gross occurrence, Jensen Karp, is a comedy writer and the co-founder Gallery1988, a pop culture-themed gallery in Los Angeles. “Conceptual art critics have kept conspicuously mum about the matter,” reports the Art Newspaper. Suspicious! (TAN)

More Than 100,000 Documents of Auschwitz Inmates Digitized – A major archival research initiative is uncovering more identities of people murdered in Auschwitz-Birkenau in Poland. Among them are two artists, the French resistance fighter and painter Léon Delarbre and the Polish artist Franciszek Jazwiecki. Jazwiecki made poignant portraits of prisoners, which are now on display in the museum on site. (Courthouse News)


Almine Rech Is Opening a Project Space in Aspen – Almine Rech, the contemporary art gallery with locations in Paris, Brussels, New York, London, and Shanghai, will touch down in Aspen—the newest art-world outpost for the highly mobile wealthy. “Go to where the collectors have relocated,” says owner Almine Ruiz-Picasso. (ARTnews)

London’s 2021 Masterpiece Fair Is Cancelled – Scheduled to open on June 24, days after lockdown ends in England, the cross-category fair has now been cancelled for the second year in a row. Organizers said the schedule was too tight to allow for proper planning. (Financial Times)


Swiss Art Dealer Doris Ammann Has Died – The influential dealer who led Zurich’s Thomas Ammann Fine Art has died. Born in 1944, she founded the gallery in 1977 with her brother Thomas and helped make it a destination for the world’s top collectors. (ARTnews)

Art Dealer and Collector Daniel Wolf Has Died – The dealer quietly acquired 25,000 classic and contemporary photographs for the J. Paul Getty Museum in the early 1980s for just $17 million, transforming the museum, shocking the art world, and jump-starting other collectors’ interest in the medium. He died at 65 of a heart attack, according to his wife, the artist Maya Lin. (New York Times

The Sobey Art Award Founder Has Died – Donald Sobey, heir to the Canadian grocery chain Sobey’s and one of Canada’s most significant arts philanthropists, has died at age 86. He founded the Sobey Art Award in 2002—the country’s equivalent to the Turner Prize—which spotlights and supports emerging Canadian artists. (Globe and Mail)


Disabled Artists Reflect on the Pandemic Year – The past year has changed a lot for disabled artists, from the opportunities they have access to (now that most residencies and programming have gone remote) to the general public’s level of interest in their work. “Able-bodied people have never had to think about the politics of their bodies as it pertains to sickness,” said artist Panteha Abareshi. “And now they want to experience that subjectivity.” (NYT

John Gerrard Releases an NFT of Western Flag The Irish artist has dropped his first NFT, and he’s asking at least 250 ETH ($414,742.50). The work, Western Flag (NFT), is a spin off of his acclaimed work Western Flag (Spindletop, Texas) from 2017, which was seen as a powerful climate change protest. Funds from the NFT sale will be used to offset its energy usage and will be funneled into a cryptofund dedicated to soil restoration in Ireland. (Artfix Daily)


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