Art Industry News: Jeff Koons May Downsize His Studio Again + More Must-Read Stories
Plus, Stephen Colbert is selling drawings he made during art therapy and photographer Nicholas Nixon retires early amid harassment allegations.
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 26.
Photography Professor Retires Early Amid Harassment Allegations – Nicholas Nixon, who is best known for his series “The Brown Sisters,” in which he photographed four siblings over 40 years, has abruptly retired from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design following allegations that he made inappropriate comments to students and staff at the Boston art school, where he has taught since 1975. The “Brown” series is currently on view at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston. (New York Times)
UK Labour Party Leader Responds to Antisemitic Mural Row – As the Labour Party faces pressure to do more to condemn antisemitism in it ranks, its leader, Jeremy Corbyn, has belatedly apologized for supporting an anti-capitalist mural featuring Jewish-looking bankers, which was painted in London in 2012 by the LA-based street artist Mear One (Kalen Ockerman). (Guardian)
Jeff Koons May Be Downsizing – There are a lot of gems in this profile of Koons, timed to his presentation with David Zwirner at Art Basel Hong Kong. (The guest wifi password at his studio? “LaughSmile4Ever.”) But the big news may be that the artist plans to downsize (again) when he moves out of his longtime Chelsea studio and into a new space in Hudson Yards. “There’s definitely a staff I’d like to keep,” he says. “But the idea to have a big, sprawling studio is not necessarily something I’d like to maintain.” (South China Morning Post)
Hirst’s Country House Restoration Is on Hold – The restoration of Toddington Hall, the historic house in the west of England that Damien Hirst bought for $4.3 million in 2006, is on hold, his company Science Ltd confirms, adding that it will be a “lifetime’s work.” Neighbors and conservationists are frustrated that it is still covered in scaffolding. Maybe Hirst should call Christo? (Daily Telegraph)
Stephen Colbert Sells His Therapy Art – The Late Show’s Stephen Colbert is selling his art therapy drawings on eBay for a good cause: All proceeds go to the American Art Therapy Association. His minimalist text piece Art sold for $11,600. Created after a visit to an art therapist, the “result is a work rich with artistic ambition and personal, emotional revelation,” according to the seller’s description. (Monopol)
New Auction Records for Middle Eastern Artists – Christie’s Dubai set new records for five artists from the region last week. The top lot was a 1970s painting by the late Iranian artist Sohrab Sepehri, which sold for $287,500. But the headline sale was King Farouk of Egypt’s Patek Philippe watch, which sold for $912,500 after intense bidding. (Press release)
Beatles’ American Tour Images Sell for $360,000 – Images taken by an 18-year-old photographer of the Beatles on their first US tour in 1964 sold for £250,000 ($360,000) at Omega Auctions in North England. Many of Mike Mitchell’s 413 negatives, which captured two concerts and a press conference, had never been seen before. (BBC)
Man Ray Leads Sotheby’s Photo Sale – Minotaur, a Surrealist nude by Man Ray from 1933, leads the auction house’s photography sale on April 10 with an estimate of $150,000–250,000. The sale also includes eight classic images from Robert Frank’s famous photobook The Americans and David Wojnarowicz’s first photo project. (Art Daily)
COMINGS & GOINGS
Elizabeth Dee Gallery to Relocate – Developers are demolishing the gallery’s Harlem building, which is also the original home of the Studio Museum. Dee has operated there since September 2016. “I’m sorry to see this storied building go, but it has been a privilege to present contemporary art in this space during the last phase of its existence,” she said. (Artforum)
Crozier Acquires Art-Storage Rival – The art-storage company has absorbed Artex Fine Arts Services along with its client portfolio and storage space in Washington DC, New York, Boston, Fort Lauderdale, and Los Angeles. The merger brings Crozier’s number of facilities up to 14; it now offers around 900,000 feet of storage. (Press release)
Getty Acquires Early Renaissance Bust – The Getty Museum in Los Angeles has acquired Desiderio da Settignano’s 500-year-old Bust of a Young Boy (c.1460–64). Artwork from Quattrocento (15th century) Florence is rare. The life-size marble bust will be shown alongside the museum’s Renaissance painting collection. (Press release)
Louis Vuitton Hires Virgil Abloh to Design Men’s Wear – The luxury retailer has named Abloh—the founder of Off-White, Kanye West’s longtime creative director, and a recent collaborator of Takashi Murakami—as artistic director of its men’s wear division. He will replace Kim Jones, who jumped ship to Dior Homme in January. (New York Times)
FOR ART’S SAKE
Riga International Biennial Announces Artist List – The inaugural edition of the Latvian biennial (June 2–October 28), organized by Katerina Gregos, is named after Alexei Yurchak’s 2005 book about the collapse of the Soviet Union, Everything Was Forever, Until It Was No More. Ninety-nine artists are participating, including Adrián Villar Rojas, Jonas Mekas, Mark Dion, and Trevor Paglen. (Artforum)
Henry Moore Dissed Barbara Hepworth at the Tate – Previously unpublished diaries of the former Tate director John Rothenstein reveal that Moore, who was once a trustee, put down his rival artists when Tate was thinking of acquiring them. He shafted Barbara Hepworth in 1945, deeming one of her wooden sculptures “a poor affair.” Tate made seven sculpture acquisitions that year; perhaps not coincidentally, all were by Moore himself. (Guardian)
Downsizing of University of Texas Art Library Sparks Protest – The University of Texas at Austin is shrinking its fine arts library holdings, moving thousands of resources off campus. An open letter signed by curators of the Blanton Museum of Art, among others, asks university officials to reconsider. The school has formed two task forces to look for a solution, which will present their findings next month. (Artforum)
First David Bowie Statue Unveiled – A partly crowdfunded bronze statue of the music legend, titled Earthly Messenger, has been revealed in Aylesbury, the UK town that witnessed the debut of Ziggy Stardust. The work by sculptor Andrew Sinclair in the town’s Market Square depicts Bowie alongside a selection of his alter egos, lead by Ziggy. Speakers overhead will blast a Bowie song every hour. (BBC)
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