Art Industry News: Bored Archeologists on Lockdown Have Discovered Dozens of Hidden Roman Sites in England’s Backyard + Other Stories

Plus, sound artist Samson Young wins the inaugural Sigg Prize and Supreme plans a capsule collection featuring outsider artist Daniel Johnston.

An aerial view of Stonehenge Photo: Heritage.

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 Wednesday, May 13.


Inside Arts Leaders’ Regular Zoom Meeting – Typically not in communication and competing for audiences, up to 200 of New York’s cultural leaders have been meeting daily on Zoom since the pandemic hit to help each other face this moment of adversity. Heads from Museum Mile on Fifth Avenue to tiny cultural centers in Brooklyn and the Bronx are sharing information about how to access funds, create digital strategies, and plan summer programming. The call takes place on weekdays at 3 p.m. for up to an hour and is led by Taryn Sacramone, executive director of the Queens Theater, and Lucy Sexton, executive director of New Yorkers for Culture & Arts. “We have kids enter the frame all the time, and people asking a question with somebody sitting in their lap,” Sacramone said. “That’s the reality right now.” (New York Times)

Jerry Saltz on Coping in Quarantine – The art critic Jerry Saltz has been teased endlessly on Twitter for his unusual coffee-drinking and eating habits, which involve gas-station coffees, a Big Gulp, and endless deli chicken paillard. In a moving personal essay, he assures the public that he and his wife, art critic Roberta Smith, are living well. “I am a hunter-gatherer-microwaver providing for my wife, who is my eyes and mind,” he writes. His journey to unorthodox sustenance was shaped by his upbringing in Chicago, from the loss of his mother to an uncomfortably blended family. Today, he writes, “I lose my defensiveness and embarrassment about the way I eat. In this terrible pause, I can say that… I took my limitations and pared my life down to art, work, and Roberta. I couldn’t be happier.” (Vulture)

Locked-Down Archeologists Are Making New Discoveries – Scholars may be stuck at home, but they are still finding ways to keep busy. While archaeological digs are on pause during the lockdown, scientists and amateurs alike have been searching aerial images using LiDAR scans to uncover previously hidden Roman, prehistoric, and medieval sites. The project is organized by researchers from the University of Exeter in the UK. So far, the volunteer team has found two Roman roads, 30 prehistoric or Roman settlement enclosures, and 20 prehistoric burial mounds, in addition to medieval farmlands. (Daily Mail)

Baltimore Gets a Grant for Its Matisse Center – The Baltimore Museum of Art has received a $3.5 million gift to endow the directorship of the Ruth R. Marder Center for Matisse Studies, a 3,500-square-foot facility dedicated to the artist and currently scheduled to open in fall 2021. Katy Rothkopf, the museum’s senior curator and department head of European painting and sculpture, will be its new director. The anonymous donor requested that Anne and Ben Cone be named in the directorship in recognition of their support for the museum, they are also relatives of the late sisters Claribel and Etta Cone, who first established the Matisse collection at the BMA. (Artfix Daily)


Eye of the Collector Opens Its Online Viewing Room – The inaugural Eye Viewing Room will launch May 12, the original opening date for the boothless fair’s inaugural edition at Two Temple Place in London. The online version of the fair, founded by a former head of Masterpiece, will offer a selection of works chosen in collaboration with 21 international galleries. (Press release)

Xavier Hufkens Sets an Opening Date – The Belgian gallery will reopen its two spaces on May 19, welcoming a maximum of eight visitors at a time. It will also open a third exhibition space in Brussels designed by the Belgian architect Bernard Dubois with a show of work by Sterling Ruby. (Press release)


Museum Director Alan Shestack Dies at 81 – The museum veteran, who retired in 2008 as deputy director and chief curator of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, has died at 81. Shestack’s extensive career in art institutions included tenures directing the Yale University Art Gallery, the Minneapolis Institute of Art, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. (MinneapolisStar-TribuneCulturegrrl)

Artist Plans Bamako Art Center – The Malian painter Amadou Sanogo is opening a new arts center in Bamako in 2022. The center, called Makoro, will offer studio spaces for Malian artists under 30 and will host exhibitions and workshops for schoolchildren. (The Art Newspaper)

One-Third of Scottish Artists Lost All Income in April – A COVID-19 impact survey of 100 organizations and artists in Scotland has revealed that a third have lost all income in April. The survey, conducted by the Scottish Contemporary Art Network, also found that 70 percent of institutions are likely to cancel some of their programming as a result of the shutdown and resulting budget cuts. (Press release)


Samson Young Wins the Inaugural Sigg Prize – The Hong Kong-based artist, known for making inventive art with sound that touches on themes of identity, migration, and military conflict, has won the inaugural Sigg Prize, a biennial prize for artists in the greater China region backed by art collector Uli Sigg and the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority museum M+. Young will receive HK$500,000 ($65,000). (Press release)

The Mormon Church Will Only Let the “Art of Jesus” in Meeting Rooms – The leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have directed local representatives to place only artwork depicting Jesus in all church foyers and entryways. A news release from the church explains the move is to “testify further of our central belief in Jesus Christ.” (Salt Lake Tribune)

How the Virus Affects Art Insurance – With the public health crisis locking down art-storage units and forcing delays in shipments, many collectors are wondering what impact the current situation will have on their holdings’ insurance values. Advisors say collectors could negotiate lower rates with their provider by axing transit coverage in favor of a “stay only” or “limited transit” plan until things normalize. (ARTnews)

Supreme Releases Capsule Collection Honoring Daniel Johnston – The late outsider artist Daniel Johnston, a cult figure best known for the cassette tapes he hawked while working at an Austin McDonalds in the ’80s, is an unlikely partner for the streetwear brand Supreme. But the company is unveiling its second collaboration with Johnston, who was also a dedicated artist. The line featuring his original art—including a frog figure that became famous when Kurt Cobain wore a shirt with the image at the 1992 VMAs—will be available beginning May 14. (Juxtapoz

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