Art Industry News: The Makers of the ‘Rain Room’ Are Now Getting Into NFT Artworks Alongside Rob Pruitt and Other Artists + Other Stories

Plus, German museums get the green light to reopen on Monday and Ellsworth Kelly's partner gifts MoMA 25 sketchbooks by the artist.

Random International, Rain Room, Sharjah. Courtesy the artists and Sharjah Art Foundation.

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 4.


In Defense of Juergen Teller’s W Photos – Cultural critic Naomi Fry pens a defense of Teller’s recent photo shoot, which quickly became a laughingstock on Twitter. According to Fry, the casual depictions of celebrities including Riz Ahmed and Jonathan Majors are not about disrespecting the sitters, but instead about being “disrespectful to the very notion of stardom.” What’s more, Teller has always been on the edge—in these pictures, he reminds us that “being just a little bit ugly is cool.” (New Yorker)

Spanish Court Affirms that Picasso In Botín Case Cannot be Exported – The Picasso painting at the center of a smuggling case brought against billionaire banker and collector Jaime Botín must stay in Spain, a judge ruled. Botín was sentenced to 18 months in prison and fined a whopping $58 million for attempting to smuggle the work, worth $27.4 million, out of the country. The court said the painting was too important to the nation to be exported. (ARTnews)

German Museums Get the Green Light to Reopen – After a nine-hour meeting yesterday, Germany’s heads of state have decided to ease lockdown restrictions—sort of. Many rules will remain in place, but museums, somewhat surprisingly, are among the venues allowed to open their doors beginning Monday, March 8. (They were previously told they were going to be among the last venues to reopen.) There are caveats, however: Reopening rules are bound to infection rates in individual regions and the German government says it will pull an “emergency brake” on re-openings if rates rise above 100 per 100,000 residents over a three-day period. (The Art Newspaper)

Texas Museums Keep Protections in Place Despite New Order – Five major museums in Texas are distancing themselves from Governor Greg Abbott’s declaration that the state’s mask mandate would end and businesses would be able to operate at 100 percent capacity as of March 10. The Dallas Museum of Art, the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, the San Antonio Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and the Menil Collection in Houston will maintain their current limited capacity and keep mask protocols in place. (ARTnews)


Ten Artists to Offer NFT Works – Ten artists with major art-world bonafides will offer their first NFT artworks in partnership with Verisart, a blockchain certification platform, on the specialist marketplace SuperRare. Participants include Petra Cortright, Shepard Fairey, Random International, Rob Pruitt, and Neïl Beloufa. One work by each artist will be dropped on the site over the next ten weeks. (Financial Times)

Martha Jungwirth Gets Worldwide Representation With Thaddaeus Ropac – The 81-year-old Austrian painter, who has gained overdue acclaim late in life, previously worked with Galerie Krinzinger in Vienna, among other galleries. She will present new abstract paintings with Ropac in Paris in September. (Press release)


California Museums Begin to Reopen – Museums in certain parts of the Bay Area will begin to open as the infection rate in the state falls. The Asian Art Museum in San Francisco will open today and the de Young Museum will open on March 6. Social distancing regulations will be in effect. (Los Angeles Times)

MoMA Gifted 25 Ellsworth Kelly Sketchbooks – The Museum of Modern Art has received a gift from Jack Shear, Kelly’s partner, of 25 sketchbooks by the American artist. They include some 1,700 pages of drawings and collages that have rarely been seen. (Press release)


Archaeologists Discover Ancient Roman Marble Floor in France – An opulent floor from the ancient world was unearthed during routine work on an apartment building in Nîmes, France. Archeologists found the colorful and geometric tiled floor of a Roman villa that dates to the first or second centuries. (Colossal)

Billionaire Wants to Turn Palace Into Cultural Think Tank – Art collector Nicolas Berggruen is in the process of purchasing the Casa dei Tre Oci in Venice, Italy, for an undisclosed price. He aims to transform it into a hub for his eponymous institute, which hosts exhibitions and symposia. Some have criticized the move, saying the sale puts profits over the common interests of Venice.  (Press release)

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