Art Industry News: The Met Will Repatriate 15 Sculptures Linked to Disgraced Dealer Subhash Kapoor + Other Stories
Plus, Phillips end of year accounts cast doubts on the company's finances and Anselm Kiefer wins the German National Prize.
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 Friday, March 31.
Did MoMA Inadvertently Spread Putinist Propaganda? – The New York museum has changed the wall text of Frances Stark’s work U.S. Greatest Hits Mixtape Volume 1 (2019) after complaints were aired about the work on social media. The original wall text stated that the series examines the history of U.S. military intervention in six countries, including “Ukraine (2013).” However, rather than U.S. military intervention, late 2013 saw the development of large-scale protests that was evolved into the Maiden Revolution in early 2014. The same year also saw Russia invading Ukraine and annexing the peninsula of Crimea. The curatorial team and the artist decided to strip the years listed in the caption after outcry on social media. (ARTnews)
Activists Halt Auction of Indigenous Artifacts – More than two dozens protesters from several tribal groups turned up at Mebane Antique Auction Gallery in North Carolina after learning about the sale of a 600-year-old Indigenous skull on social media, citing that the state’s laws could not stop the sale happening. They succeeded to stop the sale eventually. However, the sale highlighted the confusion between state and federal laws over the human remains from Native American communities. (ARTnews)
Met Returns Artifacts to India – The New York museum announced it would return 15 sculptures, all of which were associated with disgraced dealer Subhash Kapoor, to the government of India. As part of ongoing cooperation with the D.A.’s office, the Met has also removed three pieces of Turkish origin from view, as part of a criminal investigation into Turkish sites Bubon and Perge. (Press release)
Future of Phillips Amid Ongoing Russian War in Question – Accounts of the Russian-owned British auction house cast doubts over the company’s financial status. It shows that the house relies heavily on the guarantees provided by Leonid Fridlyand and Leonid Strunin, the founders of Russia’s largest retailer Mercury Group, the owner of the house. The two are not subject to western sanctions, but as the war in Ukraine continues, it was uncertain how the sanctions will impact Russian economies and those who have financial ties with Russia, which might affect their ability to finance the company. (Guardian)
MOVERS & SHAKERS
Guggenheim Union Stages Rally at VIP Openings – Members of the Local 2110 UAW protested outside of the museum as visitors flocked to the VIP openings for Gego and Sarah Sze. The staff’s union has been in negotiations for over a year with the institution, who has offered a four year contract with “only nominal wage increases.” (Instagram)
Jenny Schlenzka Decamps From Performance Space for Gropius Bau – The executive artistic director of New York’s veteran Performance Space since 2017 is leaving to take the reins at the Berlin-based exhiibtion hall. A native German, Schenzka said she was leaving the post after doing “pretty much everything that I had in me that I wanted to do,” and that the space could benefit from someone “with more energy and fresh ideas.” (New York Times)
Anselm Kiefer Wins German National Prize – The artist has been awarded the coveted prize worth €30,000 by the German National Foundation in Hamburg for his “impressive works” and being among the first generation of German artists “to deal directly with the question of identity and nation after war and the Holocaust.” (Die Ziet)
Silverlens Beefs Up Its Roster – Stephanie Syjuco, Poklong Anading, and Taloi Havini have all joined the gallery, which is “dedicated to representing Southeast Asian Diaspora artists.” Syujuco’s first show at the gallery will take place at Silverlens Manila in 2024; Havini will show at the New York outpost; and an Online Viewing presentation with Anading will go up later in 2023. (Press release)
FOR ARTS SAKE
Gerhard Richter’s Gift to Berlin Goes on View – The famed artist’s long-term loan of 100 works to the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation will finally go on show at the Neue Nationalgalerie from April 1 to 2026. Works on display reflect the Cologne-based artist’s career from the the 1980s to present times. (DW)
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