Art Industry News: Why the Smithsonian Hasn’t Hung Donald Trump’s Presidential Portrait Yet + Other Stories

Plus, Brooklyn's "Batcave" museum opens and Alex Da Corte directs a Prada campaign.

Pari Dukovic's 2019 photograph of former President Donald Trump, which currently hangs in the National Portrait Gallery. Courtesy of the NPG.

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 18. 


Has LACMA Abandoned Historical Art? – Art critic Christopher Knight is not pleased that LACMA is not showing more from its store of art that spans 3,000 years of history. Due to renovations and the construction of the lavish David Geffen Galleries, the majority of the collection is currently in temporary storage, and the museum has instead increasingly focused on modern and contemporary art exhibitions. (LA Times) 

A New Art Center Opens in Brooklyn – The so-called Batcave is opening on May 19, after Joshua Rechnitz funded its refurbishment into a lavish arts center, Powerhouse Arts. The mixed-use space, which has cost a total of $180 million, will have fabrication shops for printmaking, ceramics, public art, metal, and woodworking. The unveiling will include a performance by Canadian artist Miles Greenberg. (New York Times)

Trump’s Portrait Won’t Go to the National Portrait Gallery… Yet – Because Donald Trump is seeking reelection, the museum is not allowed to hang his portrait. After the election in 2024, the museum will release the names of the two artists commissioned to paint the portraits. If Trump wins the upcoming election, the portraits of him and his wife, Melania Trump, would not be displayed until the end of his second term. (Washington Post)

Berlin Museums Look Into Provenance of Archaeology – The German Lost Art Foundation is extending funding into research beyond Nazi looted art and colonial art to include archaeological objects with murky history. Museums have received research funding of €350,000. Three archaeological sites will be involved in the pilot project. Objects under investigation stem back to the Ottoman Empire and the sites of Sam’al and Didyma, which are in Turkey, and Samarra, in modern day Iraq. (The Art Newspaper)  


Yale MFA Scholarship Honors Mickalene Thomas – Collectors Bernard Lumpkin and Carmine D. Boccuzzi Jr. Have endowed a scholarship at the prestigious art institution where they first met as students. Recipients of the Mickalene Thomas Scholarship will be mentored by the artist, who is also a graduate of the two-year MFA program. (The Art Newspaper)

Culture, Media and Sport Committee Names New Chair – Dame Caroline Dinenage has been elected to helm the U.K.’s committee, a role that she will begin immediately. A conservative, Dinenage previously served as culture minister from February 2020 through September 2021. (Evening Standard)

Alex Da Corte Directs Prada Campaign – The Venezuelan artist has art directed a colorful new campaign for the luxury brand starring actress Scarlett Johansson. The images are inspired by the Glass Age, a period in which we still live, where images are mediated through glass, as in windows or arcades in Europe, or through a smartphone screen. (Women’s Wear Daily)  


Pierce Brosnan Curates Solo Show in LA – The James Bond star and his wife, Keely Shaye Brosnan, have curated a new show titeld “So Many Dreams,” filled with the actor’s colorful works, which include paintings, sketch-filled scripts from previous roles, and prints, shown alongside a film produced by Brosnan’s son Dylan. The opening night event was attended by an A-list roster including Rene Russo, Kenny G, Sugar Ray Leonard, Adam Devine, and Shaun White. (Vanity Fair) (Instagram)

More Trending Stories:  

A Philadelphia Man Paid $6,000 for Cracked Church Windows He Saw on Facebook. Turns Out They’re Tiffany—and Worth a Half-Million 

Mona Lisa’s Other Secret—Where the Portrait Was Painted—May Have Been Solved by an Art Historian Using Drone Imagery 

A Dutch Museum Has Organized a Rare Family Reunion for the Brueghel Art Dynasty—And the Female Brueghels Are Invited to the Party 

The Smithsonian National Museum of African Art’s Director Has Resigned After Less Than Two Years, Citing ‘Resistance and Backlash’ 

‘We’re Not All Ikea-Loving Minimalists’: Historian and Author Michael Diaz-Griffith on the Resurgence of Young Antique Collectors 

The First Auction of Late Billionaire Heidi Horten’s Controversial Jewelry Proves Wildly Successful, Raking in $156 Million 

An Airbnb Host Got More Than They Bargained for with a Guest’s Offbeat Art Swap—and the Mystery Has Gone Viral on TikTok 

Not Patriarchal Art History, But Art ‘Herstory’: Judy Chicago on Why She Devoted Her New Show to 80 Women Artists Who Inspired Her 

An Artist Asked ChatGPT How to Make a Popular Memecoin. The Result Is ‘TurboToad,’ and People Are Betting Millions of Dollars on It 

An Elderly Man Spray-Painted a Miriam Cahn Painting at a Paris Museum After Right-Wing Attempts to Censor It Failed 

The Netflix Series ‘Transatlantic’ Dramatizes the Effort to Evacuate Artists From France During World War II. Here’s What Actually Happened in Real Life 

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