Art Industry News: Artist Olafur Eliasson Just Released an AR Artwork That Brings the Aurora Borealis Into Your Living Room + Other Stories

Plus, Josh Smith debuts his latest artwork on his rooftop and photographer Tyler Mitchell signs with United Talent Agency.

Olafur Eliasson, WUNDERKAMMER, detail (2020).

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 14.


Josh Smith Plans a Rooftop Exhibition – The artist Josh Smith has organized a novel offsite exhibition for David Zwirner. The show, titled “High as Fuck,” was held on the roof of the Brooklyn building where Smith lives and works. It consists of paintings he made in isolation of a deserted New York as well as older ceramic works installed six feet apart (get it?). Documentation of the project will be viewable on David Zwirner’s website from May 21 through June 21. (ARTnews)

MoMA Steps in to Protect Oslo’s Picasso Murals – New York’s MoMA has become embroiled in a battle to save historic Picasso murals in an Oslo building that is slated for demolition. MoMA curators Martino Stierli and Ann Temkin have written to Norwegian officials to ask them to reconsider destroying the Brutalist government building, known as the Y-Block. Two fragile murals designed by Picasso, The Fishermen and The Seagull, were sandblasted onto the building’s concrete walls, and heritage experts warn that they may be destroyed in the process of trying to salvage them. (The Art Newspaper)

Olafur Eliasson Launches an AR Artwork – The Danish-Icelandic artist has partnered with Acute Art on a new AR project that places natural phenomena such as the aurora borealis in your living room. The initiative, called Wunderkammer (Cabinet of Curiosities), offers up a menu of wonders, including insects, a puffin, and a virtual compass that points north. “Today, where physical distancing guides our lives, it’s as crucial as ever that we surround ourselves with things and atmospheres that really matter to us,” the artist said in a statement. The project is available on the Acute Art app beginning today. (Le Figaro)

William Kentridge on Johannesburg Under Lockdown – The South African artist has been spending his time sheltering in place making drawings, which are on view at Marian Goodman’s virtual booth in Frieze New York’s online viewing room. In an interview, he describes life in Johannesburg under lockdown: “[I]t’s been very interesting how it’s pushed us back into a kind of apartheid-era world of the separation of whites in privileged enclaves—with their houses and gardens and space to move about—and the majority of the black population in townships and informal settlements policed by soldiers keeping the lockdown rules enforced.” (ARTnews)


New Asia Chairman Appointed at Phillips – Phillips Hong Kong has appointed Jonathan Crockett as its new chairman of Asia. Since Crockett joined the auction house from Sotheby’s in 2016 as its new deputy chairman of Asia, its auction sales in the region have grown 77 percent. (Press release)

Max Hetzler Opens Berlin Space – Galerie Max Hetzler is expanding in Berlin, opening a new space in an Art Nouveau building at Bleibtreustraße 15/16 with an exhibition of recent works by German painter André Butzer. The gallery, Hetzler’s third in the city, will open on May 29. (Press release)

Berlin Galleries Go For Transparency – A new online project by a group of 25 Berlin dealers is seeking to create more transparency when it comes to their programs, their artists, and their price points. Berlin Views, which launched at the beginning of the month, is sharing featured artworks and their prices via the new and evolving platform that hopes to engage emerging and young collectors. (Berlin Views)

Daata Launches New Online Platform for Video Art – The video art commissioning and streaming platform has launched Galleries at Daata, a new initiative to showcase and sell video art. Galleries on board include Goodman Gallery, Hauser & Wirth, Monique Meloche, Peres Projects, and Simone Subal. (Press release)


Cleveland Museum Plans to Reopen in June – The institution, which closed March 14, is set to reopen June 30, becoming the first museum in the state to announce such plans. Museum leadership will strictly limit the number of visitors—capped at 500 a day—and require health precautions including mandatory masks. (Cleveland Plain-Dealer)

Tyler Mitchell Signs With UTA – The celebrity photographer has signed with UTA, which plans to assist in the Brooklyn artist’s expansion into narrative film and television. Mitchell made history as the first black photographer to shoot a cover of American Vogue when he shot Beyoncé in 2018 at the tender age of 23. (Hollywood Reporter)


Miami Beach Launches Emergency Cultural Arts Fund – The city of Miami Beach is launching a $1 million emergency fund to support local institutions who have reported a collective loss of more than $7 million, as well as hundreds of job reductions, as a result of the shutdown. The money comes from an emergency reserve fund maintained by the city council. (Press release

Museums Reopen, But Nothing Feels the Same – Across Germany, France, and Asia, museums are slowly reopening. But going to see art is a very different experience than before. Taped-off pathways, masks, and plexiglass walls have become the new normal for art-lovers. (Artnet News)

A man wearing protective mask visit the Museum of Illusion on May 13, 2020 in Paris. Photo by FRANCK FIFE/AFP via Getty Images)

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