Art Industry News: Cardinal Dolan Gives the Met Gala (and Rihanna) His Blessing + More Must-Read Stories

Plus, a corporation sues Frida Kahlo's relatives and Finnish activists want to build a frozen "Mount Trumpmore" in the Arctic.

Rihanna at the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination Costume Institute Gala. Photo by Sean Zanni, ©Patrick McMullan.

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 Wednesday, May 10.


Frida Kahlo’s Relatives Sued in Battle of the Barbie Doll – The Panama-based Frida Kahlo Corporation has sued the Mexican artist’s great-niece. The company claims Mara Cristina Romeo Pinedo and her daughter have published “false and slanderous” statements in an attempt to discredit the corporation in a copyright battle over Mattel’s much-debated unibrow-less Kahlo Barbie. (Hyperallergic)

France Lags Behind in Nazi-Era Restitution – So says a new government report, which details France’s failure to deal properly with the Nazi-looted art in its museums. The report’s author, cultural heritage expert David Zivie, has urged French institutions to publish online inventories of works that lack clear provenance and to create a task force of experts to rule on cases. (The Art Newspaper)

Cardinal Gives the Met Gala (and Rihanna) His Blessing – Amid discussions over whether the Met Ball was disrespectful to Catholics, the head of New York’s Roman Catholic diocese Cardinal Dolan told reporters he was so on board with the event that he lent Rihanna his mitre to complete her John Galliano-designed attire. (The cardinal was joking, a spokesperson for the archdiocese clarified.) “I may have seen some things in poor taste, but I didn’t detect anybody out to offend the church,” Dolan said. (The Wrap)

Paris to Become Refuge for Heritage at Risk – Paris’s mayor is moving ahead with her plan to provide secure storage in the city for cultural heritage at risk internationally. Anne Hidalgo plans to work with the new Geneva-based cultural protection alliance, ALIPH, which is chaired by the American billionaire Thomas Kaplan. (Artforum)​


Armory Show Names Deputy Director – Eliza Osborne joins the New York fair from the LA-based Centre Pompidou Foundation, where she served as director. Before that, she worked at Sotheby’s in New York and LA. (Artforum)

Insider’s Guide to Bogotá’s Lively Art Scene – Alejandra Sarria, the chief curator of Espacio Odeón and former programming coordinator for the fair ArtBo, picks the liveliest galleries and artist-run spaces in the Colombian capital, which boasts around 100 commercial galleries. (New York Magazine)

Rockefellers’ Rivera Sells for Record $9.76 Million – Christie’s Rockefeller sales keep on giving. Diego Rivera’s The Rivals (1931) sold for $9.76 million, setting a new record for a work of Latin American art at auction. A wedding gift to David Rockefeller from his mother, it was a highlight of Christie’s second Rockefeller sale, which totaled $106.9 million. (artnet News)

Cattelan’s Museum Scarf Mega-Sale – The Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan has donated 30 knitted “Museums League” scarves, based on those more frequently created for universities or football teams, to be sold to benefit the Brooklyn Museum at Phillips New York on May 17. He has designed an extra one bearing the name of the auction house. The full set carries an estimate of $20,000 to $30,000. (Press release) ​


Joan Mitchell Foundation Staffs Up – Kay Takeda will take up the role of senior director of artistic programs in June, after she steps down from the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, where she has worked since 2005 as vice president of grants and services. (ARTnews)

Portrait Gallery Announces People’s Choice Winner – Puerto Rican photographer ADÁL’s 1993 photograph of the Latin music star Marc Anthony, acquired by the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery in 2014, won the gallery’s twice annual People’s Choice Contest. Viewers who voted on social media said they would like to see it prominently and permanently displayed. (Smithsonian Magazine)

NEA Announces 2018 Grants – This year, the National Endowment for the Arts will award $80.5 million in grants to 1,071 arts institutions across the US, with the biggest slice—over $23 million—going to Art Works II’s diverse programming, and other large amounts going to the Armory Center, the Brooklyn Museum, and the Whitney. (ARTnews)


National Portrait Gallery Announces Big Gift – The Garfield Weston Foundation has awarded a $6.8 million grant to the London gallery for the construction of its new wing. To recognize the gift, the gallery will name the new addition—part of its $50 million revamp—the Weston Wing. (Apollo)

Harriet Tubman Memorial Gets Green Light – The new Equal Rights Cultural Heritage Center in Auburn, New York, is getting the city’s first statue of the abolitionist Harriet Tubman when it opens in October, thanks to a donation by George and Mary Cuthbert and their children. The clay and bronze monument to a young Tubman will be designed and built by Brian Hanlon, a classically trained sculptor. (Auburn Pub)

Chinese Art Academy Opens Bauhaus Museum – The architect Alvaro Siza’s design museum has opened at the prestigious China Academy of Art in Hangzhou. Showcasing its Bauhaus collection, the institution is taking part in an international research project on the famous art and design school that will culminate in a major exhibition at Berlin’s Haus der Kulturen der Welt in 2019. (TAN)

Activists Plan Arctic “Mount Trumpmore” – The Finnish activist group Melting Ice hopes to carve a 35-meter-tall ice sculpture of Donald Trump on a melting Arctic glacier to draw attention to climate change. Called Project Trumpmore after the monuments in South Dakota, the group is now crowdfunding the $475,000 needed for artists to get carving, possibly in Greenland. (YLE)​

Artist’s rendering of the planned glacial ice sculpture bust of Donald Trump in the Arctic. Courtesy Project Trumpmore.

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