Art Industry News: Scotland Has Put Its Venice Biennale Exhibition on Ice Due to Financial Concerns + Other Stories
Plus, the Fitzwilliam Museum restitutes its Courbet and China's Deji art museum bought a $9 million Beeple sculpture from Art Basel Hong Kong.
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 30.
Patron Emily Fisher Landau Dies at 102 – The New Yorker and former Whitney Museum trustee, died March 27 in Palm Beach, Florida. Landau had famously used an insurance settlement from a jewel heist in her apartment in the 1960s as seed money to fund her contemporary art collection, which eventually grew to number 1,200 artworks. From 1991 to 2017, her collection was on view at the Fisher Landau Center for Art in Long Island City, Queens. (New York Times)
Auction House Decries Mexico’s “Nationalist Opportunism” – The Mexican government, in their ongoing fight for repatriation of looted cultural heritage, has demanded that a sale of pre-Columbian art be called off at the Paris-based auction house Millon. The government claims that 83 of the 148 lots are protected under law as part of Mexico’s cultural heritage. The house will move ahead with the sale and its president Alexander Millon called pre-Columbian art a “global cultural beacon” whose “influence should never be hindered by political obscurantism.” He said efforts for repatriation was an issue of “nationalist opportunism” and that “revisiting the past and history in order to reclaim them through the pretext of Art is cultural nonsense.” (ARTnews)
Scotland Cancels Its Venice Biennale Exhibition – The biannual search for Scotland-based artists to participate in the 2024 Venice Biennale has been put on ice while a review is carried out to look into “the current mode of delivery” of the Scottish pavilion given the “the present finances and planning environment.” The Scottish pavilion is not in the Giardini, but it has been a part of the biennale since 2003. The organizing bodies, which includes the Scottish government, are considering the project “within the wider scope of international opportunities available to Scotland’s art and architecture communities.” (BBC)
Museum Will Return Courbet Painting to Jewish Heirs – The University of Cambridge’s Fitzwilliam Museum will restitute a 19th century oil painting by Gustave Courbet to the descendants of the original Jewish owner. The 1862 landscape painting called La Ronde Enfantine had been stolen by a German taskforce in charge of taking cultural loot from occupied countries. The work was taken from Robert Bing in Nazi-occupied Paris in 1941; Bing went on to join the French resistance. (BBC)
MOVERS & SHAKERS
Berlin’s Pergamon Museum Closes for 14 Years – The popular museum in the German capital has already been closed for four years because of extensive renovation work, and now this plan has changed. It won’t be opened again until 2037, the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation and the executive Federal Office for Building and Regional Planning announced on Monday, because of the “vulnerable” state of the complex. (Monopol)
Robert Storr Gives Majority of Library and Archive to CCS Bard – The storied art critic and historian has gifted the bulk of his vast collection of the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College. Among the 25,000 volumes, papers, and artworks are personal papers from his tenures at MoMA, the Venice Biennale, and Yale School of Art. The gift also features a selection of gifted works from artists including Louise Bourgeois, Chuck Close, Jenny Holzer, Gerhard Richter, and Rachel Whiteread. (Press release)
International Center of Photography’s School Appoints Heads – Artist and educator Colette Veasey-Cullors has been named the dean and deputy director of ICP’s school. Veasey-Cullors previously served as the interim vice provost at the Maryland Institute College of Art; she is the first person of color to hold the role, which she begins on June 15. (Press release)
FOR ART’S SAKE
Deji Art Museum Acquires Beeple Sculpture – The China-based institution is revealed as the buyer of NFT-sensation’s work, titled S.2122 (2023), sold by LGDR for a reported $9 million at last week’s Art Basel Hong Kong fair. The work, which is a companion piece to Human One, which Ryan Zurrer bought at Christie’s for $29 million. On Twitter, the artist wrote that the work is “his is the story of a possible future where climate change has forced us to live on these giant clusters in the middle of ocean. It’s 100 years in the future and things have gotten pretty weird but we’re making it work… “ (ARTnews, Twitter)
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