Art Industry News: The Duchess of Cambridge Is the V&A’s Newest Patron + More Must-Read Stories

Plus, locals are skeptical about the Obama Presidential Center and a Lee Ufan sculpture is vandalized by a K-pop fan.

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge visits the newly created underground Sainsbury gallery of the V&A museum with the museums director Tristram Hunt and architect Amanda Levete in June 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Richard Pohle - WPA Pool /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 this Tuesday, March 27.


Getty Cracks the Mystery of King Tut’s Spots – For decades, visitors to King Tutankhamen’s tomb in Egypt have wondered about the brown spots covering the walls. Now, experts from the Getty Conservation Institute have solved the mystery. It turns out the spots are due to mold. The good news? The fungus is as dead as the boy pharaoh, so it won’t be getting any worse. (New York Times)

Pushback to the Obama Presidential Center Mounts – Critics of the planned Obama Presidential Center in Jackson Park, Chicago, object to the loss of green space and worry that rising rents will price poor people out of the South Side neighborhood. Even faculty members of the nearby University of Chicago, where Obama taught, are divided over the $500 million campus, which the former president says will create jobs and regenerate the area. (Washington Post)

Duchess of Cambridge Becomes V&A Patron – The Duchess of Cambridge’s museum portfolio is growing: she is now the royal patron to the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. The art history graduate recently penned wall labels for the Victorian photography show at the National Portrait Gallery, where she is also a patron. (Press release)

Ai Weiwei Has South America in His Sights – The exiled Chinese artist reveals that he has five shows lined up across South America and 25 assistants at work in Brazil. While Ai can’t be in Hong Kong for Art Basel this week, his art about the global refugee crisis is on view—and, to his surprise, works by his half brother, Ai Xuan, are, too. (The Art Newspaper)


Basquiat Canvas Could Sell for $30 Million – A 12-foot-square canvas by Basquiat could hammer for $30 million on May 16 at Sotheby’s in New York. The seller bought Flesh and Spirit for $15,000 from the late artist’s solo show at Tony Shafrazi Gallery in 1983, the same year it was painted. Not a bad profit. (Bloomberg)

Tehran Gallery Makes Art Basel Debut – The first Iranian gallery to show at an Art Basel fair, Dastan’s Basement from Tehran, is participating in Art Basel Hong Kong this week. Asian galleries are also out in force: The fair is hosting 41 galleries from Mainland China (six more than last year), plus three newcomers from India. (TAN)

Beatrix Ruf Returns to Judge Art Brussels – The former director of the Stedelijk, who left amid a storm of controversy last year, will be a judge for Art Brussels’s solo prize. Participating artists include the veteran Hong Kong performance artist Frog King, who will paint visitors’ names or messages in his signature font during the fair. (Press release)


Copenhagen Welcomes Another Matisse – The New Carlsberg Foundation and the Augustinus Fonden made a million-euro donation to the National Gallery of Denmark to support its acquisition of Matisse’s painting Nymph and Faun (c.1911) in a private sale brokered by Christie’s. The painting goes on display today, joining its many other Matisses. (Press release)

Thelma Golden Gets a Getty Medal  The director of the Studio Museum in Harlem will receive the annual award along with two other recipients: MoMA president Agnes Gund and the sculptor Richard Serra. The Getty Center established the honor in 2013 for individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to the arts. (Press release)

Black Panther Photo Archive Acquired by the University of Texas  The archive of documentary photographer Stephen Shames has been acquired by the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History at the University of Texas in Austin. Shames was friends with the co-founder of the Black Panther Party, Bobby Seale, and served as the party’s official photographer between 1967 and 1973. (Glasstire)



Pope.L Is Creating New Work for the High Line – Works by Pope.L, Maria Thereza Alves, Andrea Bowers, Marinella Senatore, Timur Si-Qin, and others are coming to New York’s High Line in April. The commissioned work will appear in a group show titled “AGORA” that explores art’s power to drive social change. (Artforum)

Fifty Female First Nation Artists Hit the Road – A Canadian public art project titled “Resilience” will reproduce work by 50 indigenous women artists from different generations on 167 billboards across the country this summer. Participants include Rebecca Belmore, Rosalie Favell, and the late Inuit artist Annie Pootoogook. Canadian road trip, anyone? (Canadian Art)

Lee Ufan Sculpture Vandalized by K-Pop Fan – The Korean artist’s monumental outdoor sculpture at the Busan Museum of Art has been vandalized. In addition to footprints and graffiti, the name of Wanna One boyband member Kang Daniel has been carved into the 2.7 meter-tall iron sculpture. Grainy security footage is hindering a police search for the perpetrator. (The Chosun Ilbo)

Ancient Ruins Restored Through Gifs – Expedia’s “NeoMam” shows the world’s greatest ancient structures restored via a series of animated gifs. Watch the undoing of centuries of natural and manmade damage, including Lord Elgin helping himself to the Parthenon’s friezes, in a few seconds as the ruins are restored to their original glory. (Expedia)

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