Art Industry News: Forget Ghost Booths—Art Basel’s First In-Person Fair in Over a Year Will Feature Futuristic Holo-Dealers + Other Stories

Plus, the Sharjah Biennial is postponed to 2023 and influential architect and curator Terence Riley has died.

Art displays at Art Basel Hong Kong 2017. Photo by Nora Tam/South China Morning Post 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 Wednesday, May 19.


Art Faces Pressure in Hong Kong – All eyes turn to Hong Kong this week as Art Basel opens its first edition in the city in two years—against a very different political backdrop than last time. Conservative lawmakers are putting pressure on institutions like the M+ Museum to cull political works from its inaugural display. “It shouldn’t be the politicians who curate this exhibition,” collector and donor Uli Sigg said, adding that government interference would also be a “serious offense” to him personally. (Wall Street Journal)

Robot Art Comes to London Museum – Three self-portraits created using artificial intelligence and marketed through an android with a female face have gone on view at London’s Design Museum. The contemporary art project is meant to provoke a debate about the rise of artificial intelligence technology. (Guardian)

Gallerists Will Use Holograms to Meet VIPs at Art Basel – The future is now. Some exhibitors at Art Basel Hong Kong, including Singapore Tyler Print Institute, will avoid the mandatory two-week quarantine by beaming into VIP client meetings through the use of hologram technology. (SCMP)

Sharjah Pushes Biennial Back to 2023 – The Sharjah Biennial has postponed its 15th edition, originally due to take place this year, to March 2023. The director of the Sharjah Art Foundation, Hoor Al Qasimi, cited “the uneven access to vaccines” and ongoing travel restrictions as part of the reasoning, as well as the desire to give artists and audiences time “to tend to what is most urgent around them.” (ARTnews)


Magnum Is Expanding in Paris – Magnum Photos will open a new location in Paris this fall. Situated within an enclosed courtyard in the 11th district, the space will include exhibition galleries, a private viewing room, and a library. It will replace the photo agency’s current Paris offices in the 18th. (Press release)

Matthew Brown Gallery Grows in L.A. – The Los Angeles gallery, established in 2019 by the eponymous then-23-year-old dealer, will expand into a 4,000-square-foot 1930s-era building across the street from its current HQ on La Brea Avenue. The second location will open on May 29 with a solo show by painter Sasha Gordon. (Artforum)


Architect and Curator Terence Riley Dies – The former chief curator of architecture and design at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and ex director of the Miami Art Museum has died. Riley, who was born in 1954, had a formative impact on the architecture scenes in both New York and Miami. (Architect’s Newspaper)

Sea-Watch Launches Art Competition – The German NGO Sea-Watch, which conducts search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean, is inviting submissions for artwork to illustrate its motto, “Ain’t no border high enough,” to print on t-shirts and hoodies to support the organization and raise awareness of its mission. Perhaps Banksy will submit? (Instagram)


Culture Unstained Put Science Museum Leader on Blast – Climate activists have leaked an internal email sent to staff by the director of London’s Science Museum, Ian Blatchford, defending the institution’s partnership with oil company Shell on its flagship climate change exhibition. Calling the director’s words a “desperate defense,” the group claims that the museum’s affiliation with the gas giant has undermined contributors’ hard work. (Press release)

Kusama’s Infinity Mirror Rooms Open at Tate Modern – With the reopening of museums in England, Tate Modern has completely sold out of tickets for its exhibition of two of Yayoi Kusama’s Insta-beloved Infinity Mirror rooms through October. The next drop of tickets to see the show will happen in September. May the selfie gods be ever in your favor. (Press release)

Yayoi Kusama, Infinity Mirrored Room—Filled with the Brilliance of Life (2011/2017). Tate Presented by the artist, Ota Fine Arts and Victoria Miro 2015, accessioned 2019 © YAYOI KUSAMA. Photo © Tate (Joe Humphrys).

Yayoi Kusama, Infinity Mirrored Room—Filled with the Brilliance of Life (2011/2017). Tate Presented by the artist, Ota Fine Arts and Victoria Miro 2015, accessioned 2019 © YAYOI KUSAMA. Photo © Tate (Joe Humphrys).

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