Art Industry News: Bill Gates Wants You to Read This Art Book + More Must-Read Stories

Plus, the MoMaCha green tea cafe argues MoMA is not "truly famous" and Jim Carrey responds to the Texas school shootings.

Bill Gates in his library with his friend the smartest dog in the world. Screen shot via Gates Notes.

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 23.


MoMA Is Not ‘Truly Famous,’ Cafe Claims – The trademark infringement battle between New York’s Museum of Modern Art and the MoMaCha green tea cafe wages on. On Monday, the cafe urged a judge to dismiss the museum’s case, arguing that MoMA has failed to demonstrate that its nickname and logo are “truly famous.” (Law360)

Beijing’s Ullens Center in Transition – The private Beijing art center is transitioning into a nonprofit, tax-exempt foundation. Using a Western model, its director Philip Tinari hopes to establish a board of trustees and gain approval for foundation status from the government this year. The parent company of the center, which does not have a collection, was sold last October to a group of investors. (The Art Newspaper)

Bill Gates Picks Hefty Art Book for Summer Reading List – Innovators love reading about innovators, and it seems that Bill Gates is no exception. The Microsoft co-founder chose to include Walter Isaacson’s lengthy biography Leonardo da Vinci as one of the five tomes on his annual summer reading list. “I think Leonardo was one of the most fascinating people ever,” Gates writes. (Gates Notes)

Urban Outfitters Removes Vases That Resemble an Artist’s – The 29-year-old Bristol-based artist Sarah Wilton felt “sick” when she saw the chain selling mass-produced vases that looked mysteriously like a line of ceramics she designed for the high-end store Liberty in London—and at a fraction of the price. Urban Outfitters swiftly removed the vases from stock “out of deference to the artist.” (BBC)


Monique Meloche Is Expanding in Chicago – The Chicago art dealer, who played an important role in the careers of artists including Amy Sherald and Rashid Johnson, will be moving into a new space in West Town, Chicago, this June after nine years at her Wicker Park location. Meloche will inaugurate the venue with an exhibition by painter Jeff Sonhouse on June 9. (Press release)

O’Keeffe’s Last Hawaiian Painting Resurfaces at Auction – An important work by the American artist has resurfaced at Christie’s, selling for $4.4 million with fees. The work—one of 20 paintings the artist created during her time in Hawaii—can now be joined with the other 19 in the traveling exhibition “Georgia O’Keeffe: Visions of Hawai’i” at the New York Botanical Garden and the Brooks Museum in Memphis. (Artsy)

Second Manuscript Liquidation Sale in Paris – Drouot will hold a second sale in June to liquidate more than 900 manuscripts and rare volumes from the collection of the bankrupted French company Aristophil. The company collapsed following the indictment of founder Gérard Lhéritier for money laundering and fraud. (TAN)

Coins and Medal Auction Totals $5 Million – Sotheby’s New York generated $5 million in its coin sale on Tuesday, with every item from the collection of Ralph and Lois Stone being sold. Of the 202 pieces on offer, 89 percent realized prices high above their estimates. Two Silver Dollars (an 1884-S and 1893-S) each sold for $735,000. (Press release)


Souls Grown Deep Supports Alabama Artists – The foundation championing African American artists from the Deep South is working to improve living conditions in Gee’s Bend, Alabama, home to a community of legendary quilters, and pay for artists to visit a show of their work gifted to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. (ARTnews)

The Clark Buys French-African Artist’s Masterwork – Guillaume Guillon Lethière’s early masterpiece, Brutus Condemning His Sons to Death (1788), has been bought at auction by the Clark Art Institute. The French Neoclassical artist of African descent’s second painting of the same event is in the collection of the Louvre in Paris. (Press release)

Getty Funds Curators of Drawings and Prints – The training and development of prints and drawings specialists in museums will be boosted by the Getty’s new initiative, called the Paper Project. The Getty is also supporting research fellowships at the Ashmolean, the British Museum, and Courtauld Institute in the UK as well as seminars, workshops and exhibitions. (Artforum)​

Whitney Gala Honors Lorna Simpson – Last night at its Audi-sponsored gala, the Whitney Museum of American Art honored three honorees: artist Lorna Simpson, philanthropist Joanne Leonhardt Cassullo, and collector Beth Rudin DeWoody. (Press release)


Unflattering Brandi Chastain Sculpture Unveiled – Soccer players seem to have particularly bad luck when it comes to sculptural portraits. After Cristiano Ronaldo’s deranged bust went viral last year, Chastain, one of America’s best soccer players, seems to be next. The plaque for her induction into the Bay Area Hall of Fame is, in the player’s own words, “not the most flattering.” (Guardian)

Suffragette Martyr Emily Davison to Get MemorialA memorial by UK sculptor Ray Lonsdale will be erected in Morpeth, in the North of England, this summer to honor Emily Wilding Davison. The suffragette, who died stopping the King’s horse at the Epsom Derby, is buried in the town. (Morpeth Herald)

Who Owns 3D Scans of Heritage Sites? – The collaborative platform created by Google Arts & Culture and nonprofit CyArk to present scanned 3D images of the world’s archeological wonders is raising eyebrows. Some are suspicious of the tech giant’s intentions and have described its involvement as “digital colonialism.” CyArk owns the copyright to the images, though the public has access to them. (NPR)

Jim Carrey Responds to School Shootings – The actor, who has been taking on Donald Trump and other hot-button issues in his paintings, is now tackling gun-makers. Following a deadly school shooting in Texas last week, Carrey revealed his latest work this Monday on social media with a simple message: “New Pledge for a Generation Betrayed.” It features an empty classroom with windows shattered by bullet holes. (The Wrap)

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