Art Industry News: A Disagreement Over Pad Thai Is Turning Into a Heated Food Fight in the World of Art Theory + Other Stories

Plus, U.K. museums reopen to the public and David Hockney wants to move to France for good.

dealer Gavin Brown, dealer Patrick Seguin, and artist Rirkrit Tiravanija during a performanceon October 17, 2019 in Paris, France. Photo by Luc Castel/Gettyimages

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, May 17.


Pushback Against V&A Job Cuts Continues – The union representing workers at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum, which is in the midst of a redundancy consultation that will downsize staff to save £10 million a year, says the institution risks losing “1,000 years of expertise” in the process. They are urging the government to increase funding to the museum to ward off cuts. (Evening Standard)

English Galleries and Museums Reopen – Museums and institutions in the U.K. are officially allowed to reopen today. Directors are urging the British public to seize the moment while international travel is restricted to enjoy the country’s national treasures in a quieter and socially distanced setting. (Guardian)

Rirkrit Tiravanija Defends Pad Thai Performance – The Argentinian-born Thai artist responds to a famous critique of his performance untitled (pad thai) (1990), in which visitors are offered plates of the eponymous dish, ahead of its re-staging at David Zwirner’s Hong Kong gallery. According to Tiravanija, critic Claire Bishop’s contention that the work is no more than “self-congratulatory entertainment” reflects a kind of “academic racism” that prevents Eurocentric criticism from understanding the significance of sharing food in Thai Buddhist culture. (South China Morning Post)

MoMA Bans Strike MoMA Protesters – Protesters clashed with police after a “Strike MoMA” protest centered on the human rights of Palestinians reportedly drew more than 300 people on Friday. One protester was arrested and five were permanently banned from the institution after they allegedly tried to breach the building via its staff entrance. (Hyperallergic)


1-54 New York Opens Online – The 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair is taking place online, in partnership with Christie’s, from today through May 23. Some 26 international galleries are participating, and a selection of the works for sale are on view at Christie’s Rockefeller Center HQ. (Press release)

Janet Jackson’s “Scream” Outfit Fetches $125,000 – The famous black “bubble” shirt the singer wore in the “Scream” music video with Michael Jackson sold for $125,000 at an auction of more than 1,000 items from her personal collection at Julien’s. It had been expected to sell for $4,000 to $6,000. Meanwhile, a drawing that young Janet made of her sister LaToya fetched $3,500. (Rolling Stone)


Brazilian Artist Carlito Carvalhosa Dies – Carvalhosa, a founder of the Casa 7 group that remained committed to painting during its unfashionable period in the 1980s, died at age 59 from intestinal cancer. He was known for paintings, sculptures, and installations that challenged viewers’ perceptions of gallery spaces. (ARTnews)

David Hockney Applies for French Residency Permit – The British artist has applied for a residency permit to remain in retirement in the Normandy countryside in France. He must get permission to remain in the country after Brexit changed the rules on U.K. citizens living and working in the European Union. (Le Figaro


Who Is Really in Charge of MOCA? – Current and former MOCA staff have questioned the board’s decision to appoint an executive director to co-run the Los Angeles institution with now-artistic director Klaus Biesenbach. Some speculate that the new leadership plan is essentially a smokescreen to cover up what is essentially a demotion of Biesenbach, the fourth director to be reshuffled in 13 years. (Los Angeles Times)

Kashmir Police Arrest Artist Behind Pro-Palestine Mural – Kashmir police have arrested a graffiti artist who created a mural in solidarity with Palestine. Mudasir Gull, 32, was forced to deface the graffiti, which depicted a crying Palestinian woman and the message “we are Palestine.” Kashmir has been the site of its own public protests amid clashes over the abrogation of the region’s autonomy in 2019, and authorities fear that solidarity demonstrations could trigger larger pro-separatist protests in the region. (Al Jazeera)

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