Art Industry News: Leonardo da Vinci’s Mom Was a 15-Year-Old Orphan + More Must-Read Stories

Plus, Donald Trump tours Saudi Arabia's art scene and new paintings by Gerhard Richter go on view

Leonardo da Vinci, La Bella Principessa (1495). Courtesy of a private collection.

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 Monday, May 22.


Donald Trump Saw Lots of Art in Saudi Arabia  On his first state visit, the Saudi Arabian government organized two exhibitions of contemporary art especially for the US president and his wife Melania. The shows feature work by more than 20 (mostly male) artists, including Abdulnasser Gharem, Ahmed Mater, Ahmad Angawi, and Nouf Semari. (The Art Newspaper)

Artivists Propose Alternative New York City “People’s Cultural Plan” – A group of artists, activists, and cultural workers in New York City have created a radical alternative to the city’s upcoming CreateNYC cultural plan, which is designed to support the arts, but might have some blind spots. (Hyperallergic)

What It Costs to Make It in NYC  Five young (anonymous) New York art-world types—a painter, two gallery assistants, a cinematographer, and an editor—break down the specifics of how they “finance their lives and creative ambitions.” (i-D)

MoMA PS1 Warm Up Lineup Includes ASAP Ferg, Others A list of more than 50-plus ultra-hip musical artists has been announced for this summer’s courtyard party jam at PS1. First up on July 1 is a group including Jackmaster/Numbers, DJ EZ, Tiger & Woods, Shanti Celeste, and VHVL. (The Fader)

Scholar Offers New Insight Into Leonardo da Vinci’s Mom – In his upcoming book Mona Lisa: The People and the Painting, Oxford professor Martin Kemp looks at previously overlooked documents from the 15th century to paint a clearer picture of Leonardo’s mother, now thought to have been a poor orphan who gave birth to the legendary painter at age 15. (Guardian)


Is Increased Market Activity Threatening to Gentrify African Art? – On the heels of Sotheby’s first-ever auction of Modern and contemporary African art, artists from the continent face increased visibility in Western countries—but Africans do not have access to their own art, writes Princeton professor Chika Okeke-Agulu in an op-ed. (New York Times)

A Guide to Writing Your Art Collection Into Your Will – What happens to a collection when its owner dies? The Globe and Mail breaks down your options: sell, pass it on as inheritance, or donate. (Globe and Mail)

NASA Doesn’t Approve of Sotheby’s Sale of Lunar Dust – Nancy Lee Carlson unknowingly bought a bag of dust brought back from the moon by Neil Armstrong, and NASA lost a legal battle claiming ownership; now, it’s headed to the auction block in July with an out-of-this-world $2-4 million estimate. (Reuters)


Director of Smithsonian’s Asian Art Galleries Will Retire – Julian Raby, who has served for 15 years as boss of the Freer-Sackler, has announced that he will retire from his position at the beginning of next year. The Smithsonian is planning a search for Raby’s successor this summer. (Press release)

Jane South Named Chair of Visual Arts at Pratt – South comes to Pratt from RISD, where she taught in the film, animation, and video department, and will take over from Deborah Bright on July 1. (Artforum)

Conceptual Artist Stanley Brouwn Dies at 81 – The reclusive artist, a significant figure in 1960s conceptualism, died on May 18 in Amsterdam. (ARTnews)

Deutsche Börse Photography Prize Goes to Dana Lixenberg – The Dutch photographer is this year’s recipient of the $40,000 prize, for her portrait series focusing on residents of a social housing project in Los Angeles. (Artforum)


Crystal Bridges Museum Gets $15 Million Grant for Education – The Arkansas museum, founded by Walmart heiress Alice Walton and dedicated to American art, has received $15 million from the Windgate Charitable Foundation to enhance its education initiatives. (ARTnews)

Step Inside John Baldessari’s Los Angeles Studio – From a cluttered desk full of ideas to a new series in progress based on Emoji, the conceptual artist’s workspace is self-described as “just messy.” (Los Angeles Times)

New Oil Paintings by Gerhard Richter Unveiled in Dresden – 31 works, seven of which are new and have never been seen before, have just gone on view at the Albertinum. (Monopol)

Jack White Will Release Picture Book In November, the former White Stripes frontman will release a kids book named after, and based on, the lyrics to his song We’re Going to Be Friends, telling the story of “Suzy Lee” as she goes to school. Illustrations are by Elinor Blake, best known for her animation work on The Ren and Stimpy Show and Pee Wee’s Playhouse. (Consequence of Sound)

And now, see work by the late Stanley Brouwn:

Stanley Brouwn, a wooden cube: 1 x 1 x 1 foot ( old measure of length from heidelberg ) at a distance of 1 m from a wall in the konrad fischer gallery from 29-10-05 until 14-01-06
1 foot heidelberg = 27,9 cm

(2005). Photo courtesy Konrad Fischer Galerie.

Stanley Brouwn, in diesem moment gehen x personen auf dem alexanderplatz in berlin in richtung norden.
in diesem moment gehen x personen auf dem alexanderplatz in berlin in richtung süden.

(2012). Photo courtesy Konrad Fischer Galerie.

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