Art Industry News: World’s Busiest Artist JR Just Created a Vast Canyon Beneath the Eiffel Tower Overnight + Other Stories

Plus, Beijing’s UCCA Center for Contemporary Art opens its new branch in Shanghai, and Barry Diller's new island debuts in New York City.

A giant artwork by French street artist and photographer Jean Rene, aka JR, on display at the Eiffel Tower. Photo by Anne-Christine Poujoulat / AFP 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 Friday, May 21.


UCCA Opens Shanghai Outpost – Beijing’s UCCA Center for Contemporary Art is launching its new branch in Shanghai, called UCCA Edge, tomorrow. The inaugural show revisits the 2000 Shanghai Biennale, which the museum posits is the “moment at which the Chinese art world began to understand itself as global.” The 5,500-square-meter venue, designed by SO – IL architects, is spread across three floors of a new office tower on the north shore of Suzhou Creek. (The Art Newspaper)

Akron Art Museum Searches for a Way Forward – The Akron Art Museum was among the art institutions most upended by whistleblower claims of workplace mistreatment last year. Now, it is publicizing its efforts to rebuild trust with staff and visitors. The museum’s interim director Jon Fiume, hired to stabilize the institution, has proposed a transformation plan including staff and board training on DEAI and implicit bias. (Akron Business Journal)

JR Installs a Canyon at the Eiffel Tower – Just when you think to yourself, “Wow, it’s been a while since I’ve heard about what JR is up to,” there he is again! The inexhaustible French street artist has just completed a massive trompe l’oeil installation at the Eiffel Tower in Paris. The black-and-white photocollage work creates the appearance of a vast canyon beneath the monument, and will remain in place for one month. We’ll bet you $200 it shows up in the next season of “Emily in Paris.” (Le Monde)

German Architecture Biennial Curators Call for Housing Debate – The curators of the German pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale, which presents a vision of the year 2038, have called on the German government and public to think about and debate proactively what can be done today to create a more sustainable architecture, and to improve human and animal coexistence with plants. (Monopol)


Phillips Will Offer “Bitchcoin” – Phillips will sell conceptual artist Sarah Meyohas’s early digital currency, Bitchcoin, which she created in February 2015, five months before Ethereum launched. Five bundles of 480 Bitchcoins will be offered online between May 25 and 28, each tied to a digital rose petal artwork from her 2017 exhibition “Cloud of Petals.” (Artfix Daily)

Independent Releases Exhibitor List – Some 40 galleries will take part in New York’s Independent art fair this year, which is setting up shop in a new home at Cipriani South Street from September 9 through 12. Slightly smaller than the fair’s usual lineup of 50 to 60 participants, exhibitors include Maureen Paley, Peres Projects, and Various Small Fires. (ARTnews)


Little Island Opens in New York – Mogul Barry Diller’s $260 million floating park on the Hudson, Little Island, has finally opened. First proposed in 2014, the extravagant Thomas Heatherwick-designed park includes beautiful planting, sculptural forms, and a large amphitheater overlooking the water. (NYT)

Victoria Pomery Joins the Box – The founding director of Turner Contemporary in Margate is leaving the institution to become the new chief executive officer at the Box, the $60 million museum that opened last year in Plymouth. She will step down from Turner Contemporary in the fall after 19 years in the post. (Press release)


Superblue Has Finally Arrived – After repeated delays, Miami’s 50,000-square-foot experience art mecca has finally opened its doors to the public. Standard tickets for the inaugural program, which includes an immersive environment by Es Devlin and a light sculpture by James Turrell, are on sale for $36. (The Art Newspaper)

The Perimeter in London Explores Black Nostalgia – Curator, art historian, and Artnet News contributor Aindrea Emelife has organized a new exhibition, “Citizens of Memory,” at the Perimeter in London. The show features seven Black contemporary artists, including Walter Price and Kudzanai-Violet Hwami, whose work reflects on how cultural and collective memory and nostalgia relate to the “Black experience.”  (Press release)

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