Art Industry News: Turner Prize Winner Grayson Perry Is Now Giving Free Art Lessons to Aspiring Artists Under Lockdown + Other Stories

Plus, the Cleveland Museum announces pay cuts and furloughs and the São Paulo Biennial postpones its opening.

Artist Grayson Perry poses for a portrait at Sydney Opera House. Photo by Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images.

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 26.


Cleveland Museum Announces Pay Cuts and Furloughs – The Cleveland Museum of Art is the latest art institution to enact sweeping new measures in an effort to counteract losses, which it estimates will reach around $5 million, during the current shutdown period. The museum said it would immediately furlough all part-time staff, temporarily lay off a portion of its unionized staff (including security guards), and reduce pay for salaried employees by around 11 percent to 15 percent. The museum’s director William Griswold says the belt-tightening efforts aim to “preserve jobs the best we can.” (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

British Museum Experts Use Software to Spot 4,500 Looted Antiquities Online  The Times spotlights how Egyptologists are using high-tech methods to identify looted antiquities for sale online. Experts from the British Museum are working with law enforcement to crack down on smugglers and unscrupulous dealers by using sophisticated new software to spot Ancient Egyptian objects with fake provenances that pop up on ephemeral websites. Successfully salvaged artifacts include sculptural reliefs from Karnak and Luxor that have now been returned to Egypt. (Times)

Grayson Perry Will Teach Art on TV – The telegenic British artist is making a special TV series for a nation under lockdown. He will teach Britain how to make art through Grayson’s Art Club, a Channel 4 program encouraging people to use their time in isolation to hone their creative skills. Perry plans to speak to fellow artists about how best to sculpt, draw, and paint. He wants viewers to produce visual representations of their time in isolation, and plans to display the work in an exhibition that will chronicle the UK’s changing mood during the social-distancing era. (Evening Standard)

What Will Art Look Like After Lockdown? – What can artists do besides survive 2020? New York Times critic Jason Farago surveys how art might change after months in lockdown. The grounding of flights has put a temporary halt to much of the contemporary art world, which, over the past few decades, “has morphed into a round-the-globe, round-the-clock industry,” with star artists serving as traveling entertainers. Now, Farago writes, “The task of artists in this new plague year will be to reestablish painting, photography, performance and the rest as something that can still be charged with meaning, and still have global impact, even when we’re not in motion.” (New York Times)


Sotheby’s Hong Kong Sales Move Back to Asia – In a testament to how quickly the global health situation is changing, the auction house has reversed its decision, announced earlier this year, to move its spring Hong Kong Modern and contemporary art sales to New York. Sotheby’s now plans to hold them in Hong Kong, but reschedule the sales from April to the beginning of July. (Art Market Monitor)


São Paulo Biennial Postpones Opening – The art-world postponements are beginning to make their way into the fall. Bienal de São Paulo is pushing the opening of its main group show, “Though it’s dark, still I sing,” from September 5 to October 3. Meanwhile, much of the robust programming it has throughout the city to supplement the central show is indefinitely on hold. (ARTnews)

Artistic Director Named for Yerevan Biennial – Lorenzo Fusi has been appointed the new artistic director for the Yerevan Biennial Art Foundation. The former Liverpool Biennial curator will oversee operations for Armenia’s first biennial, which has been postponed to new dates: April 15 through June 18, 2021. (Press release)

Art Technicians Launch Emergency Fund – An emergency fund for art technicians who are out of work during the current lockdown period is looking for artists to donate work to a charity auction. The money collected by the Art Technician Emergency Fund through donations and auction sales will be distributed to those workers who have responded to its survey about the impact of the crisis on their livelihoods. (Press release)


The Rijksmuseum Puts Its Old Masters (and Curators) Online – The Amsterdam museum has launched an interactive platform to bring Rembrandt’s The Night Watch and Vermeer’s The Milkmaid to every living room in the world. Along with 700,000 high-resolution photographs of the works that are free to download, the Rijksmuseum’s curators will also offer free art history lessons from their homes via YouTube. (Press release)

How Designers Are Fighting to Protect Public Health  The current worldwide health emergency has triggered a wave of ingenuity among designers and engineers. The Guardian has found identified 10 inventive designs ranging from sanitizing robots and repurposed agricultural drones to a 3D-printed hospital ward. Chinese company Winsun made 15 isolation wards in a single day by mobilizing its 3D-printing technology. A Belgian 3D-printing company, meanwhile, has designed a simple, hands-free door handle attachment, which you can download for free. Materialise’s slogan is: “Do less harm, use your arm!” (Guardian)

Guggenheim Workers Protest the Museum’s Payment Plan – Freelance employees who were scheduled to work at the Guggenheim before the museum was forced to close on March 13 are petitioning to be paid for their bookings. The Guggenheim’s union is asking the museum to reconsider its decision to not pay workers who were on call after March 29. (Hyperallergic)

Peter Blake Makes a London Stands Together Poster – The legendary British pop artist Peter Blake has made a moving tribute to London as a symbol of hope for the city. Blake—who was the artist behind the album cover for The Beatles’s Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band—designed a rainbow print with the words “London Stands Together,” which he is encouraging people to post in the windows of their homes. The rainbow was inspired by the many rainbow drawings made every day by children being kept home from school. (Evening Standard)

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