Art Industry News: A Mere Gust of Wind Could Make Notre Dame Collapse, Report Says + Other Stories

Plus, Tesla poaches its new social media manager from a UK museum and the Louvre struggles to secure major loans for its Leonardo show.

Inspectors on the roof of the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris. Photo: Lionel Bonaventure/AFP/Getty Images.
Inspectors on the roof of the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris. Photo: Lionel Bonaventure/AFP/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 this Wednesday, May 22.

NEED-TO-READ

Elon Musk Poaches the Social Media Manager From a UK Museum – Tesla looked to the art world to find its latest social media manager. Adam Koszary was about to take on the same position at London’s Royal Academy and had formerly been a game-changing digital lead at the Museum of English Rural Life, where he took its Twitter from relative obscurity to a 133,000 follower base. He is best known for sharing a photograph of a ram in the museum’s collection with the caption, “look at this absolute unit,” giving birth to a meme that caught the eye of Tesla’s founder. (Yahoo)

Why Jason Farago Didn’t Love the Venice Biennale – The artist Lara Favaretto’s cloud of artificial fog shrouding the main Giardini exhibition hall at the Venice Biennale sums up Ralph Rugoff’s exhibition for the New York Times‘s critic. While the exhibition brings together many of the biggest names in art today, Farago says it is “safe and detached” and fails to cohere. He also criticizes the lack of discoveries among the artists Rugoff selected. The show, he writes, comes across as “the artistic equivalent of ‘Top of the Pops’: a passive rundown of received tastes, dominated by the United States and Britain.” (New York Times)

Notre Dame Is at Risk of Falling Down – The fire-damaged cathedral has been left in a weakened state and its walls could be blown down by a strong wind, according to a new independent report. The collapse of part of the vaults during the recent fire and water damage sustained by the stone walls has left the cathedral in urgent need of reinforcement, according to Paolo Vannucci, a mechanical engineer at the University of Versailles. Experts fear that the way the roof, vaults, and spire contributed to the strength of the overall structure will be compromised if restoration work is rushed and any new designs are not properly coordinated. (The Art Newspaper)

How Sackler Became a Dirty Word – In a cringe-worthy profile, two different generations of Sackler women open up to Town and Country magazine about how the fallout from the OxyContin scandal has affected them. Joss Sackler—the wife of David Sackler, who is named in a March 2019 lawsuit brought by New York State—is determined to find an upside in the demonization of the “Sackler” name. Upset at a recent New York Times article in which her fashion brand and private members’ club was overshadowed by the opioid crisis, she says: “At least now, when people use my last name, they will sure as hell use my first name as well. And that’s a win.” Jillian Sackler, whose late husband died before the opioid was developed by Purdue Pharma, says that museum directors began to express their concern to her in private around two years ago. Now, when she is out, “I barely dare mention my last name.” (Town and Country)

ART MARKET

Michael Findlay Is the ADAA’s New President – Michael Findlay, a director of Acquavella Galleries and the author of the book Seeing Slowly: Looking at Modern Art (2017), is the new president of Art Dealers Association of America Foundation. He succeeds Dorsey Waxter of Van Doren Waxter. (ARTnews)

François Ghebaly Gallery Now Represents Christine Sun Kim – The artist Christine Sun Kim, whose work is included in the 2019 Whitney Biennial, has joined the LA gallery François Ghebaly. The artist, who is pre-lingually deaf, makes work that often deals with “sound etiquette,” such as her series “Degrees of Deaf Rage.” (ARTnews)

COMINGS & GOINGS

Harvard’s Peabody Museum Names New Director – Jane Pickering has been named the new director of Harvard’s Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology. She says she plans to focus on indigenous collections, online forms of learning, and developing new ways to connect with students and visitors. Pickering begins her new role on July 1 with over three decades of institutional experience. (Harvard Gazette)

Barbara Hepworth Gets Musée Rodin Show – The British Modernist sculptor will have her first monographic exhibition in Paris at the Musée Rodin. The show will be on view from November 4, 2019 through March 22, 2020. (Press release)

Herzog & de Meuron Will Design Memphis Museum – The Pritzker Prize-winning duo behind the Pérez Art Museum Miami will work with the Memphis-based company archimania to build the expanded Memphis Brooks Museum of Art in Tennessee. The institution is planning a $105 million building overlooking the Mississippi River that includes a sculpture garden. (ARTnews)

FOR ART’S SAKE

Louvre Struggles to Secure Leonardo Loans – The Louvre’s eagerly anticipated Leonardo exhibition is due to open this fall—but many important loans have yet to be confirmed. There is no sign of Salvator Mundi; meanwhile, diplomatic relations between France and Italy, home to many important Leonardos, have been shaky. In Florence, the Uffizi’s director Eike Schmidt has threatened to resign if the loans from his institution are granted. The gallery’s collection includes Landscape of Valdarno, the first known drawing signed and dated by Leonardo, and his famous painting the Annunciation. (TAN)

Taiwan Museum Displays Tiananmen Tank Man Inflatable – An blow-up sculpture of the so-called “Tank Man”—the man who defiantly stood in front of a line of tanks in Tiananmen Square during the 1989 military crackdown—has been erected in front of Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall in Taipei. The inflatable was made by Taiwanese artist Shake who was inspired by a sketch of the event by dissident Chinese political cartoonist Badiucao. (HK Free Press)

Brazil’s Fire-Ravaged National Museum Fundraises in Europe – Brazil’s National Museum director Alexander Kellner is heading on a two-week fundraising campaign across Europe after failing to secure adequate funding in Brazil. The National Museum suffered severe damage last year after a fire gutted the building and destroyed around 90 percent of its collection. The museum’s restoration is projected to cost around 100 million reais ($28 million). (Art Daily)

Jeff Koons and Duchamp Go Mano a Mano – Two of the world’s best-known artists are being paired up at the Museo Jumex in Mexico City. “Appearance Stripped Bare” overlays major works by Duchamp and Koons to address their shared concerns around objects, commodities, and desire. (Museo Jumex)


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