Art Industry News: Leon Black Will Resign as MoMA’s Board Chair Amid Scrutiny of His $158 Million Payout to Jeffrey Epstein + Other Stories

Plus, Brexiteers want to build their own museum and the buyer of that $15.4 million Van Gogh painting is revealed.

Leon Black speaks onstage at the Museum Of Modern Art Film Benefit on November 19, 2018, in New York City. Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Museum of Modern 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 on this Monday, March 29.


Brexiteers Launch Effort to Raise £1 Million for Their Own Museum – Leave campaigners have started fundraising for a planned Museum of Brexit that will tell the story of Britain leaving the EU. The project, which is backed by Brexit supporters, was granted charitable status after vowing to be “neutral” and tell a fair and balanced story. It is now seeking to generate £400,000 to buy a home for the museum, £250,000 for establishment costs, and a financial reserve of £350,000. (Guardian)

Plans for Theme Park Near Grounds of Angkor Wat Scrapped – Cambodia’s culture and fine arts ministry has rejected a proposal by the Hong Kong casino operator NagaCorp to build a resort and theme park just 500 meters away from the Angkor Wat temple after UNESCO raised concerns about the project. The government took issue with the size of the $350 million resort, which would have sprawled over 75 hectares of land. (The Art Newspaper)

MoMA Chairman Leon Black Will Step Down – After weeks of speculation and pressure, financier Leon Black told colleagues on Friday that he would not seek re-election as chairman of the board of the Museum of Modern Art. The decision marks the latest fallout from revelations that Black paid $158 million to the late sex offender Jeffrey Epstein for tax and advisory services, and comes on the heels of news that he would step down as chief executive of his private equity firm Apollo Global Management. Black is expected to remain on MoMA’s board; other MoMA honchos are already vying to replace him in the top spot. (New York Times)

New Alliance for Curators of Color Seeks to Empower – The New York-based Association of Art Museum Curators Foundation is launching a new professional alliance for curators of color. The program, which will be shaped by AAMC director Judith Pineiro and curator Kelli Morgan, seeks to empower curators of color globally—connecting them with one other and with the foundation’s network in an effort to address the “isolationism, racism, inequity, and lack of access” experienced by BIPOC curators. (ARTnews)


Buyer of $15.3 Million Van Gogh Revealed – The London-based Reuben family has been identified as the buyer of the Vincent van Gogh landscape that sold for $15.4 million at Sotheby’s Impressionist and Modern art sale in Paris last Thursday. (The work was reoffered three times in the same sale due to technical mishaps with the online bidding system.) Scène de rue à Montmartre (Impasse des deux frères et le Moulin à Poivre) had been in private hands for more than a century. (Art Market Monitor)

New York Galleries Expand Against the Odds – The Art Newspaper checks in with three New York galleries opening new spaces—Grimm Gallery, Salon 94, and PPOW—to find out what is spurring their growth after a turbulent year. On the heels of the closure of Metro Pictures, Jorg Grimm says, “I think there will be a new generation of gallerists rising.” (TAN)


Arab Art Collector Ramzi Dalloul Dies – The collector, who amassed more than 3,000 Arabic artworks and had plans to open a private museum in Beirut, died of an unknown health cause. His age was not disclosed. (ARTnews)

India Art Fair Names New Director – Jaya Asokan, the deputy director of the India Art Fair, will take the helm from Jagdip Jagpal, who has led the event since 2017. The fair, which is now owned solely by Hong Kong-based events company Angus Montgomery, plans to hold its next edition from February 3 to 6, 2022. (TAN)


Panel Recommends Return of Franz Marc Painting – Germany’s advisory panel on Nazi-looted art has recommended the return of a painting to the heirs of Jewish banker Kurt Grawi. Foxes (1913) by Franz Marc hangs in the Dusseldorf Kunstpalast and is estimated to be worth between €15 million and €30 million ($17.7 million and $35.4 million). (TAN

New York Theaters Show Art in Empty Storefronts – Performing arts institutions in New York have gotten creative to bring works to the public while they remain on lockdown. New York Live Arts in Chelsea hosted artists in its lobby and vestibule for individual performances visible through glass to passerby, while the Irish Repertory Theater installed screens and speakers in its sidewalk-facing windows to stream footage of people reading poems. The artists always find a way! (NYT)

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