Art Industry News: Two Ukrainian Dealers Came to the U.S. for Art Fairs, Got COVID, and Now Are Refugees + Other Stories

Plus, UNESCO raises the alarm about cultural heritage in Ukraine, and OpenSea de-platforms Iranian artists and collectors.

Max and Julia Voloshyn, founders of Voloshyn Gallery. Courtesy of Voloshyn Gallery.

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 this Monday, March 7.


Venice Biennale Vows to Move Ahead With Ukraine Pavilion – Organizers of the Venice Biennale have said they will do everything in their power to ensure that Ukrainian artist Pavlo Makov and his team of three curators are able to travel to Italy as planned to unveil the Ukrainian pavilion. Still, much is up in the air: Flights out of Ukraine are grounded, and the cities where the curators and Makov live are facing increasing ground and air strikes. (Artforum)

Father of Computer Art Dies at 99 – Charles Csuri, a pioneering digital artist who experimented with computers during the 1960s, has died at 99. Many refer to the artist, who was born in West Virginia, as the father of computer animation. (ARTnews)

Ukraine Gallery Owners Stranded in the U.S. – Max and Julia Voloshyn, gallery owners in Kyiv, have been stuck in the U.S. as a war rages in their home country. The two traveled to Miami for Art Basel Miami Beach, but postponed their return after contracting COVID; they then decided to stage a (now very timely) pop-up exhibition about socially engaged Ukrainian art in Miami. Back in Kyiv, their gallery has become a bomb shelter. (NPRNew York Times)

UNESCO Raises Alarm Over Cultural Heritage in Ukraine – The organization announced last week that it is “gravely concerned” about threats to cultural heritage sites across Ukraine. Civilians have been wrapping statues in major cities with bubble wrap and foam in hopes of protecting them from bombing. UNESCO said it would try to meet with Ukrainian museum officials to discuss how to safeguard cultural property. A meeting on March 15 will examine the impact of damage sustained so far. (ARTnews)


OpenSea De-Platforms Iranian Artists – The NFT marketplace has been deleting the accounts of Iranian users and collectors due to ongoing sanctions from the U.S. The blockade covers artists and collectors based in the Middle Eastern country but also passport-holders based elsewhere. (ARTnews)

Court Sides With Phillips (Again) in Richter Suit – A U.S. court upheld a July 2021 decision in favor of Phillips in a legal battle with Chinese collector Zhang Chang. The court found that Phillips did not breach the terms of its contract or unjustly enrich itself in its effort to claim payment from Zhang for Gerhard Richter’s 1963 painting Düsenjäger. (TAN)

How Surrealism Is Having a Comeback – The Sotheby’s France sale “Surrealism and Its Legacy” on March 16 will be led by a rare, never-before-auctioned work by French artist Francis Picabia. Sotheby’s claims the event is the first major auction of Surrealist art in the birthplace of the movement. (Guardian)

German Culture Minister Warns Against Boycotts – “I warn against tendencies of a boycott of Russian art and culture or a general suspicion against Russian artists and also in general against fellow citizens who come from Russia,” said German culture minister Claudia Roth. She added that Russian culture “is part of European cultural heritage” and that it should not be “be instrumentalized by Putin.” (Monopol)


Neue Nationalgalerie Holds Fundraiser for Ukrainian Refugees – Klaus Biesenbach, the new director of Berlin’s Neue Nationalgalerie, held a 36-hour public fundraiser for Ukraine at the museum over the weekend. Co-organized with artists Anne Imhof and Olafur Eliasson, the event—which ran from 10 a.m. on Saturday to midnight on Sunday—raised money and collected cell-phone power packs and mobile Wifi hotspots for refugees arriving in Germany. (The Art Newspaper)


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