Art Industry News: Met Museum Installs Plaque on Its Facade Acknowledging the Lenape People Who Originally Owned Its Land + Other Stories

Plus, Germany offers museum funding for Benin Bronze provenance research, and Saint Paul’s Cathedral is facing closure.

A pedestrian walks past the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the United States, Aug. 18, 2020. Photo by Wang Ying/Xinhua via Getty images.

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 Thursday, May 13.


Artists, Scholars, and Museum Directors Call for Halt to India’s Central Vista Redevelopment Plan – Glenn Lowry, Chris Dercon, Ashis Nandy, and Anish Kapoor, who has been especially critical of plans to redevelop the historic buildings of Delhi’s Central Vista, have signed an open letter along with dozens of others asking the Indian government to halt its plans as the coronavirus pandemic makes deadly waves in the country. “The current escalating health crisis calls for a pause and a reset,” the authors write. “For the short term, this project should be immediately suspended, and all priorities and resources directed to combating the pandemic.” (The Hindu

Tintin Heirs Lose Legal Battle Over Hopper Mashups – A French artist has won his court battle over artworks reimagining the comic hero Tintin inside Edward Hopper paintings. The heirs of Tintin creator Hergé sued artist Xavier Marabout for copyright infringement earlier this year, objecting to one work that imagined the boy hero talking with a woman in an eroticized version of Hopper’s Chop Suey. The court ruled in favor of Marabout, recognizing that the work was a parody with humorous intent, and awarded him €20,000 in legal fees plus €10,000 in damages. (Guardian)

Germany Offers Funding for Benin Bronze Research – The German Lost Art Foundation has announced that it will offer small museums emergency grants of up to €25,000 to conduct research into the provenance of Benin Bronzes in their collections. The decision comes after Germany agreed to begin restituting looted Benin objects to Nigeria next year. (The Art Newspaper)

Met Installs Plaque Honoring Lenape People – The Metropolitan Museum of Art has installed a bronze plaque on its Fifth Avenue facade to honor and recognize the Lenape, the Indigenous people who owned the land on which the museum sits. Recognizing that it is in the homeland of the Lenape diaspora, Lenapehoking, it reads: “We respectfully acknowledge and honor all Indigenous communities—past, present, and future—for their ongoing and fundamental relationships to the region.” (TAN)


London Gallery Weekend Announces Participants – Nearly 140 contemporary art galleries have signed on to take part in London’s first Gallery Weekend from June 4 through 6. Central London galleries including Alison Jacques, Goodman Gallery, and David Zwirner will be the focus on Friday, followed by South London spaces from Vitrine to Sid Motion Gallery on Saturday, and East London galleries including Modern Art, Maureen Paley, and Hales on Sunday. (Press release)

Hong Kong Gallery Will Accept Bitcoin at ABHK – The Hong Kong gallery Ora-Ora will accept cryptocurrencies Bitcoin and Ether at Art Basel Hong Kong next week. The gallery will be presenting NFTs and digital artworks by Peng Jian and Cindy Ng. (TAN)


Art Gensler Dies at 85 – The founder of the Gensler, the world’s largest architectural firm with 50 offices and 5,000 employee, died on Monday at his home in Mill Valley, California. The firm designed interiors for media outlets such at the New York Times and the Washington Post, and served in several cases as executive architects on projects by other big names such as Diller, Scofidio and Renfro and Norman Foster. (Architectural Record)

Russia Cracks Down on Pussy Riot Members – Russian authorities have arrested two members of the punk art activist group Pussy Riot. Last week, Veronika Nikulshina was sentenced to five days in prison on suspicion of disobedience ahead of a planned military parade, and now another member, Alexander Sofejew, has been sentenced to four days for “disrupting public order and insulting passers-by,” according to local media. (Monopol)


Saint Paul’s Cathedral at Risk of Closure – London’s Saint Paul’s Cathedral is at risk of closure after the pandemic dip in tourism revenue has left the institution in a financial crisis. The building is rotting, its centuries-old lead roof is leaking, and St Paul’s dean says “big decisions” must be made to save the precious landmark. (Evening Standard)

Louis Comfort Tiffany Building Under Threat – Preservationists are concerned that a nonprofit group that owns the Ayer Mansion cultural center in Boston has listed the rare surviving Louis Comfort Tiffany-designed building for sale. If they find a buyer to pay up the $22.5 million asking price, the building could fall to private hands, making it inaccessible to scholars and visitors. (New York Times)

Exterior of the old Ayer Mansion on Commonwealth Avenue. Photo by Jonathan Wiggs/The Boston Globe via Getty Images.

Exterior of the old Ayer Mansion on Commonwealth Avenue. Photo by Jonathan Wiggs/The Boston Globe via Getty Images.

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