Art Industry News: Small Galleries Rely on Just One Artist for Almost Half Their Total Sales, Study Finds + Other Stories

Plus, Performa starts streaming its archive of performance art and Christie's is selling the collection of Drue Heinz.

Oskar Dawicki's “Homage to Bruce Lee” (2011) at Postmasters Gallery's former location in Chelsea. Courtesy of Postmasters 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 Friday, March 8.


Billionaire Collectors Build a Dream Home for Video Art – When Pamela and Richard Kramlich decided to build a dream home around their famed collection of video art, the budget flew out of the window. The philanthropists commissioned architects Herzog and de Meuron to create the ultimate second home in the Napa Valley, California. The Kramlichs won’t say exactly how much they spent on the artistic tribute to video, but admit that it is somewhere “between $10 million and $200 million.” Pamela’s first acquisition, in 1987, was a video by Peter Fischli and David Weiss for their San Francisco townhouse. It cost all of $350. (New York Times)

Performa’s Streaming Platform Goes Live – The New York-based nonprofit will be broadcasting performances on its new website, which goes live today. The first works to been streamed are pieces by Mike Kelley and Laurie Simmons, plus footage of works by Sanford Biggers, Julie Mehretu, Shirin Neshat, and Adam Pendleton. The new platform aims to allow work from the Performa Biennial archive to live on. Meanwhile, the new Performa Magazine will publish a weekly review of performance art in New York and beyond. (ARTnews)

Art Basel’s Global Art Market Report Is Out – Small galleries (those with turnover of less than $1 million) rely on just one artist for nearly half of their total sales, according to the latest Art Basel and UBS Global Art Market Report, released today. The third edition of the report confirms a flight to the top in the art market. The report’s author, Clare McAndrew, estimates that the art market grew to $67.4 billion, up six percent from last year and the second-highest level in a decade. According to McAndrew, the top-heavy nature of the market means that, for primary-market galleries, an average of 63 percent of each gallery’s sales made in 2018 came from their top three artists. For smaller galleries, 45 percent of total sales come from just one. “If those artists leave or the bigger galleries take them away, it leaves them in a very dangerous position.” McAndrew notes.  (The Art Newspaper)

To dive deeper into the key findings and trends from last year’s auction results, read our brand-new artnet News Intelligence Report.

Christie’s Is Selling Drue Heinz’s Art – The widow of H.J. Heinz II, who served as president of his grandfather’s ketchup empire, died last year at 103. Now, her estate is selling works from her art collection at Christie’s across several sales in New York and London. The sales will benefit the Hawthornden Literary Retreat at Hawthornden Castle in Lasswade, Scotland, which she transformed into a sanctuary for writers. Works on offer include Modigliani’s Lunia Czechowska (à la robe noire) (1919), estimated between $12 million and $18 million, and Bonnard’s La Terrasse (1912), estimated between $6 million and $9 million. (New York Times)


The Armory Show Awards a Trio of Prizes – The 25th anniversary edition of fair may have started off rocky, but at least three recipients are leaving much better off than they came. Charlie James Gallery won the Presents Booth Prize for its solo presentation of Sadie Barnette; Ryan Gander and his gallery Lisson took home the $20,000 Pommery Prize; and the artist Kapwani Kiwanga, who lives and works in Paris, won the inaugural $10,000 Étant donnés Prize. (Press release)

Richard Saltoun Donates a Portion of Sales to A.I.R. Gallery – The London-based gallery will donate five percent of its sales during the Independent fair in New York to A.I.R. Gallery, the pioneering female artist-led space. Richard Saltoun recently announced that the gallery will present an all-female program for the next year. (TAN)

Sotheby’s Will Auction a Massive Bouguereau – If you have an extremely large house, this painting is for you. Sotheby’s is offering William-Adolphe Bouguereau’s La Jeunesse de Bacchus (1884) at its Impressionist and Modern art evening sale on May 14 in New York. Measuring more than 20 feet long and 11 feet tall, it is being sold by descendants of the artist and is estimated to fetch between $25 million and $35 million. (Press release)


Remai Modern CEO Under Investigation – Gregory Burke, the outgoing director of Saskatoon’s Remai Modern Art Museum, is under investigation by the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission for alleged workplace harassment. Burke announced in December that he would step down from the post to become director of Auckland Art Gallery in his native New Zealand. Remai Modern is currently searching for his replacement. In a statement, Burke says he is cooperating with the investigation and that the allegation, which dates from 2013 and was filed in 2016, has been incorrectly characterized in media reports. (CBC)

Hudson Valley Painter Don Nice Has Died – Don Nice, who started out as a Pop artist and then brought the Hudson River School into the 20th century, has died. He was 86. After moving to upstate New York in 1969, he turned to landscape painting—and then pushed the boundaries of the genre by breaking free of the rectangular canvas. (New York Times)

Peabody Essex Museum Names Its New Director – Brian Kennedy will succeed longtime director Dan Monroe as the head of the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts. Dublin-born Kennedy previously served as director of the Toledo Art Museum in Ohio. He begins his new role in July. (Boston Globe)

Taipei Biennial 2020 Announces Curators – The veteran French philosopher Bruno Latour and Paris-based curator Martin Guinard-Terrin will co-curate the 2020 Taipei Biennial. The duo has collaborated on four projects together in the past. The announcement states that their appointment was announced earlier than usual to offer them “more resources and support as well as more freedom and time to experiment together.” (ARTnews)


Islamist Terrorist Is Convicted of Jewish Museum Shooting – A Belgian jury has found Mehdi Nemmouche guilty of murdering four people at the Jewish Museum in Brussels. The ISIS fighter faces a life sentence for the attack in 2014. The judge dismissed his lawyers’ claim that the slaughter was all part of a Mossad plot. (AFP)

MoMA and PS1 Name Young Architects Program Winner – Pedro & Juana, the Mexico City-based architecture firm led by Ana Paula Ruiz Galindo and Mecky Reuss, are the 2019 winners of MoMA’s annual Young Architects Program. The duo will create a jungle-themed installation within MoMA PS1’s courtyard titled Hórama Rama. (Press release)

A Feminist Art-Historical Analysis of Game of Thrones The YouTube trailer for the series finale of G.o.T has got Adam Gopnik of the New Yorker reaching for his art-historical references. He was struck with the image of Queen Cersei (Lena Headey) sipping wine and looking smug. What could it mean? In Renaissance and Baroque painting, when a woman is pictured drinking wine, she is transgressing social norms. In a Vermeer, it is a prelude to seduction; for the male Impressionists, it was a sign a women was semi-equal, at least for a moment. (New Yorker)

Tate Curator’s Carolee Schneemann Instagram Is Censored Tate curator Catherine Wood was shocked and dismayed to see that Instagram had deleted her image of the late Carolee Schneemann’s trailblazing feminist work, Eye Body. Instagram informed her that the art-historical representation of the nude female body had breached its guidelines. “As part of the art community that uses this platform so much, how do we negotiate this kind of censorship?” she asks, noting the irony of it happening on International Women’s Day. (artnet News)

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