Art Industry News: The New York Times Calls Artnet’s Wet Paint the ‘Essential’ Chronicle of NYC’s Downtown Art Scene + Other Stories

Plus, Sotheby's will sell off Karl Lagerfeld's collection and the Cy Twombly Foundation sues the Louvre over a renovated gallery.

The Wet Paint hat. Photo courtesy Nate Freeman.

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 Monday, March 8.


Twombly Foundation Sues the Louvre – Tensions between the Cy Twombly Foundation and the Louvre have erupted into a lawsuit. The foundation filed suit in a Paris court on Friday demanding the Louvre reverse a renovation it began during lockdown of a gallery that houses a monumental blue ceiling mural designed by Twombly in 2010. “It’s offensive,” said David Baum, the foundation’s lawyer. “For this to come via text message with a picture where everything is done. We hit the roof.” (New York Times

Campaigners Ask the Public to Help Track Statues of Women – The Public Sculptures and Statues Association has launched a campaign to record the number of statues of women around the UK. While it has so far recorded 100 sculptures and busts of real-life women—excluding fictional characters and mythical figures—it is calling on the public to send in any information about their local areas to add to the database. (Evening Standard)

Wet Paint Is the “Essential” Chronicle of a New Downtown Scene – The perspicacious New York Times media columnist Ben Smith zeroed in the new downtown New York media scene that has sprouted up in reaction to the dominance of online and social platforms. These hyper-local projects like the Drunken Canal, which are printed (on paper!) and distributed around town, have their online corollary in Wet Paint. “One essential element of a scene where news breaks on Instagram’s ‘close friends’ feeds rather than on Twitter is a gossip column to keep track,” Smith writes. “Artnet’s Wet Paint plays that role for the downtown art and media scenes.” (NYT)

Twitter Chief Is Auctioning the First-Ever Tweet as an NFT – Twitter’s chief executive Jack Dorsey is selling the first-ever tweet on the platform as an NFT. The tweet, which Dorsey published on March 21, 2006, reads “just setting up my twttr.” The signed tweet is being auctioned off through the Valuables platform, and so far has attracted bids of up to $2.5 million. (CNN)


Sotheby’s to Sell Karl Lagerfeld’s Collection – The auction house has announced it will sell off property from the late designer’s residences in Monaco. Sotheby’s Monaco outpost will take around two months to appraise the objects, with a sale to be held sometime in the second half of 2021. (Women’s Wear Daily)

Restituted Pissarro Heads to Auction – The estate of the Jewish heirs of a Camille Pissarro work restituted from the collection of American collectors Bruce and Robbi Toll are now selling the artist’s La Cueillette des Pois (Picking Peas) at Sotheby’s Paris on March 25. The work is estimated to bring in as much as $2.1 million. (ARTnews)

Fair Warning Sells Amy Sillman Painting for $724,500 – Loïc Gouzer has launched the second season of his semi-private, semi-public auction app Fair Warning with Nose (2010). The painting, which was last sold by mega-collector David Teiger’s estate at Sotheby’s in 2018 for $447,000 with fees, fetched $724,500 this time around. Handily exceeding its high estimate of $450,000, the total beat out all but one of Sillman’s auction prices, per the Artnet Price Database. (Instagram)


Sydney Museum’s Longtime Director Retires – Elizabeth Ann Macgregor plans to step down from her post at the helm of Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art in October after 22 years. Under her purview, the struggling institution transformed into the most visited public contemporary art gallery in the world, offering a case study of how to expand audiences. (Guardian)

New Dates for the Folkestone Triennial – The fifth Folkestone Triennial has announced new and extended opening dates when audiences can enjoy outdoor public works in Folkestone’s coastal environment. The exhibition, titled “The Plot,” will now run from July 22 to November 2. It will present more than 20 new commissions by artists including Pilar Quinteros, Rana Begum, and Gilbert & George. (Press release)


American Academy of Arts and Letters Expands Its Ranks – The society has added new members for the first time in more than 100 years, creating room for 33 cultural figures as part of an effort to expand and diversify. Artists Mark Bradford, Betye Saar, Mel Chin, Theaster Gates, Faith Ringgold, Michael Heizer, and Lorna Simpson are among the new members. (Press release)

Black British Artists Gift Prints to Inspire British Schoolchildren – Six British artists have created new prints that will be distributed in UK schools to inspire children and support the teaching of Black histories. Hurvin Anderson, Alvaro Barrington, Frank Bowling, Lubaina Himid, Claudette Johnson, and Yinka Shonibare have all contributed to the Hepworth Wakefield School Prints initiative. The works will also be sold in limited editions to fund school programs with local artists. (Press release)

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