Art Industry News: Damien Hirst Designs a High-End Bar in Las Vegas + More Must-Read Stories

Plus, Sting is selling his design collection at Phillips and a judge approves the removal of Confederate statues in Memphis.

British artist Damien Hirst poses before his creation "The immortal" (1999) in 2010. Photo VALERY HACHE/AFP/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 this Friday, May 18.


Collector Plans Museum in the Swiss Alps – Polish collector Grażyna Kulczyk is planning a contemporary art museum and research center in the mountain town of Susch, near St. Moritz. The Muzeum Susch is slated to open January 2 with a show of work from Kulczyk’s collection that addresses the ideals of the feminine and the body, organized by Tate Liverpool’s Kasia Redzisz. (ARTnews)

Canadian Lawmaker Proposes Restitution Legislation – A Liberal member of the Canadian parliament, Bill Casey, has proposed a bill suggesting a national strategy for repatriating Indigenous cultural items and remains from museums around the world. The bill was developed in concert with Indigenous Peoples and is currently under review by the government. (CBC News)

Damien Hirst’s Shark Swims Into Las Vegas – Last night, the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas revealed its new central bar, bedecked with a never-before-exhibited Damien Hirst formaldehyde shark sculpture from 1999, The Unknown (Explored, Explained, Exploded). As part of the hotel’s $620 million revamp, Hirst designed the entire Unknown Bar, adorning the walls with spot paintings and even designing its napkins, coasters, and cocktail stirrers. (LA Times)

African American Art Museum Coming to Florida – County officials in Tampa, Florida, have unanimously approved a plan to open a privately funded African American art and artifact museum. They are now searching for a suitable location. A now-defunct Florida museum with a $7 million African American art collection closed after six years of operation in 1997. (Artforum)


Seattle Art Fair Reveals Exhibitors – Ninety-one galleries will clamor for tech collectors at the fourth edition of the fair, which will be artistic directed by Nato Thompson for the first time and runs August 2–5 at the CenturyLink Field Event Center. Blue-chip participants include Gagosian and David Zwirner as well as local galleries SEASON and Swift. (Press release)

Alexander Gray to Represent Ricardo Brey – The New York gallery now represents the Cuban-born, Belgium-based artist. The city’s first solo exhibition devoted to Brey, the first Cuban artist to be included in documenta, is scheduled to open at the gallery in 2019. (ARTnews)

Sting Sells Design at Phillips – The auction house’s New York design sale will contain 15 items from Sting and his wife Trudie Styler’s personal collection, including a 32-panel work by Italian artist Piero Fornasetti and the musician’s personal piano. (ARTnews)

Beloved Dealer Richard Gray Dies – The Chicago-based art dealer and philanthropist died on Wednesday at age 89. During his long career, he served as president of the Art Dealers Association of America, the Chicago Art Dealers Association, and as a trustee of the Art Institute of Chicago. His gallery will continue operating under his son Paul and partners Valerie Carberry and Andrew Fabricant. (Artforum)


Main Museum Teams Up with ArtCenter College – Downtown LA’s Main Museum is launching an “exploratory” partnership with Pasadena’s ArtCenter College of Design from June until December to test-run a possible merger. The downtown museum will lease its space to ArtCenter for $1 per year in exchange for operational support from the college. (Press release)

NEW INC Gets a New Director – The New Museum has appointed Stephanie Pereira as the next director of NEW INC, the institution’s in-house incubator that supports innovation, collaboration, and entrepreneurship across the fields of art, design and technology. Pereira joins NEW INC from Kickstarter, where she served as the first director of its arts program. (Artforum)

Berlin’s Humboldt Forum Will Open Gradually – The ambitious and controversial institution is on schedule to open its doors in autumn 2019—but it will open gradually, says the incoming director Hartmut Dorgerloh. It will take another two years, until 2021, before the entirety of the Humboldt Forum will be open to the public. (Monopol)​

Luke Willis Thompson Wins Photo Prize – The New Zealand artist won the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize, a prestigious £30,000 ($40,485) award, for Autoportrait (2017), a video-based portrait of Diamond Reynolds, the girlfriend of Philando Castile, who was fatally shot by a police officer in Minnesota. The work is currently on view at London’s Photographers’ Gallery. (Press release)


MoMA Acquires Trove of Early 20th Century Works – The Museum of Modern Art has acquired 324 works on paper by pioneers of European movements including Dada, Constructivism, and the Bauhaus. The works come from the collection of the Rye, New York-based investor and venture capitalist Merrill C. Berman. (Press release)

Israeli Minister Bans Artworks Supporting Palestinians in Gaza – Artwork by some students at Jerusalem’s Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design were banned from display at an international conference. The works showed support for Palestinian protesters killed at the Gaza border. (Newsweek)

Memphis Judge Gives OK to Remove Confederate Statues – A Tennessee judge has declined to issue an injunction in favor of a Confederate heritage group that sought to restore three Confederate statues to public display. The statues were removed from city parks thanks to a legislative loophole last December. (Courthouse News)

Magritte Is Now an Action Hero – Finally, we can see what’s behind René Magritte’s mysterious green apple! A new action figure released by the My Modern Met Store presents a doll version of the surrealist painter’s Son of Man. He is outfitted with a few other accessories from Magritte works—including, of course, a pipe that is not a pipe. (My Modern Met)

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