Art Industry News: Want a Free Multimillion-Dollar Manhattan Apartment? Just Become a Museum Director + Other Stories

Plus, the Dallas Museum of Art returns a sacred sculpture to Nepal and MC Hammer weighs in on the Benin Bronzes.

Katy Clark was president of BAM until this year. (Photo by Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)

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 5.


Junior Art Workers Report Poor Treatment by Employers – Many gallery and museum staff in the UK and the US have reported that they have felt pressured to go into workplaces they feel are unsafe and have been unfairly dismissed during the pandemic. Some were also forced to sign non-disclosure agreements about their treatment. Underpaid junior staff are disproportionately affected, and are often fired without due process and subject to strict non-compete clauses that make it difficult to find alternative employment. (The Art Newspaper)

Museums Association Director on the Positive Side of Lockdown – The director of the Museums Association Sharon Heal says that, financial pressures aside, there has been an upside of lockdown: institutions have had time to rethink their roles. Many museums have been supporting their local communities with education and entertainment, and even become vaccination centers. Meanwhile, they are taking time to address internal failings, institutionalized racism, and inequality within their own organizations. (Guardian)

Cultural Leaders Enjoy… Free Housing? – The New York Times delves into a long-held perk for leaders of cultural institutions in pricey cities: free housing. At a time when museums are facing unprecedented financial shortfalls and complaints about poor treatment from junior staff, the arrangement is prompting fresh scrutiny. The Brooklyn Academy of Music gave its director nearly half the purchase price of her $1.9 million apartment in 2015, which she kept when she left the post five years later. (New York Times)

Installation Will be Relocated from National Geographic HQ – A massive rock sculpture by artist Elyn Zimmerman on the campus of the National Geographic Society will be relocated following pushback against the institution’s decision to demolish it to make room for a new building. Nat Geo will now find a suitable cultural institution or site to relocate the 1984 sculpture and reflecting pool at its own expense. (Artforum)


Lisson Gallery Will Represent Garrett Bradley – Lisson has announced exclusive worldwide representation of the American artist and award-winning filmmaker Garrett Bradley. Her quiet documentaries have enraptured the art and film worlds alike; she won best director for Time at Sundance in 2020. (Press Release)

Christie’s Appoints New US Leadership – Two new executives have been promoted in Christie’s New York chairman’s office. Bonnie Brennan is now president of Christie’s Americas, taking over from Jennifer Zatorski, who has been promoted to global managing director of strategic initiatives. (ARTnews)


Dallas Museum of Art Will Return Sacred Statue to Nepal – The Dallas Museum of Art is returning a stone sculpture that was looted from a Hindu temple in the 1980s to Nepal. The stele depicting the deity Lakshmi Narayana had been on loan to the Dallas museum from a collector who bought it at Sotheby’s. (NYT)

Royal Academy Pushes Marina Abramović to 2023 – The Royal Academy has revised its calendar for the next few years following the UK’s prolonged lockdown. A two-person show of Tracey Emin and Edvard Munch and solo exhibitions of Michael Armitage and David Hockney will be held in 2021; the much-anticipated Marina Abramović retrospective has been postponed to 2023. (Press release)


MC Hammer Tells British Museums “U Can’t Touch This” – The American rapper MC Hammer will be in conversation with art historian Dan Hicks on the Clubhouse app this evening to discuss why British museums holding onto the Benin Bronzes should return them. Don’t forget to tune into The Art Angle podcast, where we interviewed Hicks about the history and current status of the looted objects. (Clubhouse)

Italy to Close Case Against Suspected Klimt Thieves – An Italian public prosecutor’s office wants to close the case against three suspects linked to a stolen Gustav Klimt painting that was uncovered inside the wall of a museum. No advances have been made in the case, and while a judge could still recommend prosecution, this is unlikely. (Liberta)

Show Explores Art from Hunter S. Thompson’s Campaign for Sheriff – A new show at Manhattan’s Poster House will include campaign posters designed for Hunter S. Thompson’s gonzo run for County Sheriff in Colorado in 1970. “Freak Power” is on view through August 15. (New York Times)

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