Art Industry News: Houston’s Rothko Chapel Is Vandalized in a Pro-White ‘Hate Incident’ + More Must-Read Stories

Plus, Prospect.5 names new artistic directors and two French dealers are charged in a fake furniture scandal.

Barnett Newman’s monumental sculpture Broken Obelisk (1963-1967), dedicated to Martin Luther King, Jr., in front of the Rothko Chapel (1971). Photo: Hickey-Robertson, courtesy Rothko Chapel Archives.

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 Tuesday, May 22.


Royal Academy Launches Pricey Postgrad Course – London’s Royal Academy of Arts is, for the first time, launching a postgraduate degree in partnership with Maastricht University. The course, an Executive Master in Cultural Leadership, kicks off in October and will cost a hefty £34,000 ($47,700). The fee is in line with those charged by other business-school programs, but likely out of reach for anyone working in the poorly paid cultural sector. (The Art Newspaper)

Dealers Charged in Fake Furniture Scandal – Laurent and Oliver Kraemer of Paris’s Kraemer Gallery have landed in a French court on suspicion of organized fraud and money laundering. Along with four other dealers, experts, and cabinet makers, the two stand accused of forging and selling Louis XIV furniture. (TAN)

Houston’s Rothko Chapel Is the Victim of a “Hate Incident” – The fabled chapel, a nondenominational venue that the Abstract Expressionist created for prayer and meditation, was vandalized on Friday. White paint was spilled at the entrance and in the pool around Barnett Newman’s sculpture dedicated to Martin Luther King, Jr., while flyers were strewn about that read, “It’s okay to be white.” (Houston Chronicle)

The Art Institute of Chicago Is Watching You – It’s not big brother—it’s your friendly neighborhood museum! Measuring WiFi usage inside different exhibitions in 2015 and 2016, the AIC found that visitors toured smaller shows more often and spent more time viewing them. In response, the museum is now opening smaller exhibitions more often (on average, every two weeks). (Chicago Business)


Sotheby’s Stuck in the Middle of Lawsuit Over Antique Jar – Iranian trader Ali Saatsaz Jeddi and collector Ali Pishvaie are locked in a dispute over the ownership of a 10th-century Islamic crystal jar estimated to be worth as much as $16 million. Sotheby’s is stuck holding the bag (or in this case, jar) because the dispute arose after Pishvaie delivered the work for auction in 2012. (Bloomberg)

ARCOlisboa Is Growing – For its third edition this year, ARCOlisboa was slightly bigger—but, according to Anna Sansom, could still use a larger international crop of galleries to bring it to the next level. While still mostly populated by Spanish and Portugese dealers, the fair welcomed Galerie Krinzinger from Vienna and Greengrassi from London this year. (TAN)

Guitar Used by Bob Dylan Soars at Auction – A 1965 Fender Telecaster that belonged to Robbie Robertson, Bob Dylan’s guitarist, and passed through the hands of Dylan, Eric Clapton, and George Harrison, sold at Julien’s Auctions on Saturday for a cool $495,000. (Press release)


Prospect.5 Gets Two Artistic Directors – The 2020 edition of the New Orleans triennial will be organized by Naima Keith, the deputy director of LA’s California African American Museum, and Diana Nawi, an independent curator who was formerly an associate curator at the Pérez Art Museum in Miami. (ARTnews)

Austrian Arts Festival Announces Program – The 51st edition of Graz’s yearly contemporary arts festival, Steirischer Herbst, will be organized around the theme of belonging to a nation. Organized by Russian art historian Ekaterina Degot and titled “Volksfronten” (Popular Fronts), the three-week festival will open on September 20. (Artforum)

France Debuts New Culture Pass – Culture minister Françoise Nyssen launched the test phase of a new €400 million ($473 million) app called the “Pass Culture,” designed to help young people see more exhibitions and invest in cultural heritage. The pilot version is currently being tested out by a group of 400 young people. It will be rolled out more widely in September. (Le Journal des Arts)

Robert Frost Museum Reopens in Vermont – The South Shaftsbury farmhouse where Frost lived for nine years after he left Amherst College has reopened as a museum under the auspices of Bennington College, which bought it from the non-profit Friends of Robert Frost last year. It is now called the Robert Frost Stone House Museum. (SFGate)


São Paulo Museum Wins Battle With Airport Over Cargo Fees – The Museu de Arte de São Paulo reversed a $66,000 per day airport tariff imposed on six works of art loaned by Tate Modern for an exhibition, arguing in court that the works fell under a lower—$35 per day—tariff because they were of a “civic-cultural nature.” (The Art Newspaper)

Hauser & Wirth Plans Jack Whitten Show – The gallery’s LA space is mounting Whitten’s first show in the city since 1990. Titled “Jack Whitten: Self Portrait With Satellites,” it runs June 23 through September 23 and will be accompanied by the launch of a new book of the artist’s writings and other texts edited by Katy Siegel. (ARTnews)

Where the Corcoran Collection Went – The 10,750-plus artworks from the now-defunct Corcoran Gallery of Art that weren’t absorbed by the National Gallery are going to be split across 22 museums and universities in the DC area. The City Paper has created a handy map so you can see where they all ended up. (Washington City Paper)

Virgil Abloh Takes Inspiration From Renoir – Off White’s pre-spring menswear line is called “Impressionism” and takes inspiration from Édouard Manet’s 1874 painting of Claude Monet in his studio boat. Creative director Abloh tells Vogue he was inspired to dig into art history because his new office in Paris looks out on the Seine. (Vogue)

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