Art Industry News: That Immersive ‘Van Gogh Experience’ Your Mom Is Talking About Already Is Selling Out Across 13 US Cities + Other Stories

Plus, Carol Bove brings her monumental sculptures to the Met's facade and a former UK department store may be transformed into an art center.

Culturespaces' Van Gogh display, pictured here, will go up against Immersive Van Gogh and Grande Experiences' Van Gogh in 2021. Photo by Eric Spiller, courtesy Culturespaces.

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 Wednesday, March 3.


Former Department Store to Become Art Center – Local politicians have submitted plans to transform the former site of Debenhams department store on London’s Oxford Street into a vast art space. The 400,000-square-foot store shut down during the pandemic. Since there has been no commercial interest in the site, Westminster councilors have suggested turning it into a gallery hub, complete with a library and rooftop garden. (Time Out)

Claude Lévêque Responds to Abuse Allegations – The French artist’s lawyer has shared his response to sexual abuse allegations made against him. Lévêque notes that he filed two complaints against an anonymous accuser for blackmail and defamation in 2015, and that prosecutors closed a previous investigation into the allegations against him without a follow up in 2016. He also disputes specific claims made more recently by Laurent Faulon, including that there were other alleged victims. “These actions have seriously harmed me both professionally and personally,” Lévêque writes, stressing his right to the presumption of innocence. (Le Journal des Arts)

Van Gogh Experiences Are Coming to 13 (!) US Cities – Three competing companies offering you the chance to step inside an enormous room lit to resemble a Van Gogh painting are expanding to a total of 13 US cities. Tickets are now on sale for the experience everywhere from New York to Chicago to St. Petersburg, Florida—and they’re already selling out. (Afar)

Are NFTs Just Like Photography? – Are you still confused about how NFTs work? Bloomberg reporter James Tarmy offers a simple corollary in the traditional art market: photography. Both can be reproduced over and over, but are conferred artificial scarcity. Other factors in photography, like the presence of a signature and the quality of the print, also help shape value. NFT collectors, Tarmy says, are just trying to normalize a similar market framework for digital art. (Bloomberg)


Emalin Gallery Is Growing Up – London’s Emalin gallery is moving to a new location in Shoreditch, swapping out the gritty Huntington Industrial Estate for the much sleeker nearby 1 Holywell Lane. It will inaugurate the new space with a solo exhibition of work by Latvian artist Daiga Grantina. (Press release)

Painting by the “Persian Picasso” Heads to Sotheby’s – Sotheby’s is selling a work by the celebrated Iranian Modernist Bahman Mohassess during its cross-category “Modern Renaissance” sale in London this month. The minotaur painting, titled Minotauro sulla riva del mare (1977), is expected to fetch as much as $627,000. (ARTnews)


Bloomberg Philanthropies Funds Street Murals – Bloomberg Philanthropies has opened up applications for the next round of grants for its Asphalt Art Initiatives. Artists can apply for up to $25,000 to create street murals on public roadways, pedestrian spaces, and traffic barriers. (TAN)

Turner Prize Founder Has Died – Former Tate director Alan Bowness has died at age 93. The leading curator, writer, and philanthropist was known for his role in bringing about the Turner Prize and for paving the way for Tate’s Northern gallery, Tate Liverpool. (ARTnews)


Paper Signed by MLK at Birmingham Jail Fetch Over $130,000 – Two sheets from the logbook of Birmingham Jail in Alabama that were signed by Martin Luther King, Jr. sold for more than $130,000 at Hake’s Auctions. The pages were signed by prisoners accepting incoming mail. (Smithsonian)

Art Fund Hits Its £1 Million Target for Museums – The UK charity Art Fund has hit its £1 million target to raise emergency funds to help UK museums, galleries, and historic houses through the pandemic. Due to the scale of the crisis, the charity is leaving the fund open for further donations and is offering enticing artist inducements for different levels of giving, including a limited-edition work by Cornelia Parker. (Press release)

See the Met’s New Carol Bove Façade – The Metropolitan Museum of Art has unveiled four sculptures by the American artist Carol Bove in the niches of its Fifth Avenue building façade. The commanding forms are part of the institution’s contemporary art commissions series, and will be on view through November. (Press release)

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