Art Industry News: Damien Hirst Is Launching a New Eco-Friendly NFT Series About ‘the Boundaries of Art and Currency’ + Other Stories
Plus, NFT marketplace SuperRare raises $9 million from investors including Ashton Kutcher, and a new Berlin museum is a "climate disaster."
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 31.
Berlin’s Flashy New Museum Is a Climate Nightmare – “The Museum of the 20th Century is a climate killer,” says conservation scientist Stefan Simon of the major museum project planned for Berlin that is set to cost €364 million ($427 million) in public money. The federal audit office has already warned architects Herzog & de Meuron that it should be made much more sustainable. The airy, largely wall-free design and translucent room will take four times as much energy to cool as the Altes Museum nearby. (Zeit)
Ai Weiwei Is “Proud” of His Tiananmen Photo – The artist and activist has responded to the news that authorities from M+, the highly anticipated Hong Kong museum, would not display his famous photograph of his middle finger in front of Tiananmen Square as part of their inaugural exhibitions. “I cannot refuse that feeling of being proud,” he says. Yet he worries for the freedom of Hong Kong, whose “more liberal, more democratic society, is disappearing.” (France 24)
Damien Hirst Signs With Energy Efficient Blockchain – The cryptocurrency Ethereum’s co-founder Joe Lubin has created a 99 percent energy efficient network called Palm, and Damien Hirst is its inaugural artist. He will release 10,000 works on paper that are linked to NFTs that “explore the boundaries of art and currency” for a project creatively titled The Currency Project. (The Art Newspaper)
Humboldt Forum’s Benin Bronze Show Moves Forward – Curators at the Humboldt Forum are forging ahead with plans to present an exhibition on the Benin Bronzes despite criticism and German authorities’ own statements that they are paving the way for the objects’ return to Nigeria. Bénédicte Savoy, the co-author of an influential report on African heritage in French museums, says she thinks the bronzes should not be displayed, while curator Jonathan Fine contends that “precisely because this issue is so pressing it’s important for museums to engage with it, and not just at the level of rhetoric or moving a couple of labels around.” (TAN)
The Armory Show Will Open a Digital Exhibition Space – The New York art fair is launching a digital exhibition space, “Armory Access: Curated,” where curators can organize virtual shows. The first exhibition, titled “The Pandemic is a Portal,” will be organized by Daniel S. Palmer, the curator for New York’s Public Art Fund. Opening April 15, the show will feature work by 20 artists including Hank Willis Thomas and Andrea Bowers. (TAN)
NFT Marketplace SuperRare Closes Series A – The NFT art platform has raised $9 million from investors including Mark Cuban and Ashton Kutcher after closing sales worth tens of millions of dollars in recent weeks. The company, which launched in 2018, says it curates its offerings—usually one-off editions—more “closely” than other NFT platforms. (TechCrunch)
COMINGS & GOINGS
New Media Artist Tony Martin Has Died – The artist, whose groundbreaking work with light and interactive installations drew acclaim from performers ranging from Pauline Oliveros to the Grateful Dead, has died of congestive heart failure. He was 83. (Artforum)
Suzanne Weaver Will Depart the San Antonio Museum of Art – The interim chief curator, who came to the institution in 2016, is retiring. A replacement for Weaver, who helped steer the San Antonio Museum of Art during the pandemic, has yet to be announced. (Artforum)
FOR ART’S SAKE
France Gives €500,000 To Aid in Beirut Museum Reconstruction – France is giving €500,000 ($586,253) to help restore the Sursock Museum, which was badly damaged in the blast the tore through the city last year. The money will help restore the vibrant stained-glass windows and historic first floor of the museum, which dates to 1912. (TAN)
Critics Rail Against Greta Thunberg Sculpture – Is it a mark of respect or a vanity project? The Winchester University and College Union in Winchester, UK, is under fire for installing a bronze sculpture of the climate activist Greta Thunberg, which cost £24,000 ($33,041). Critics say the funds could have gone toward preventing redundancies at the institution. (Evening Standard)
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