Art Industry News: Art Basel’s Parent Company Just Canceled Baselworld’s 2021 Edition Amid Mass Exhibitor Defections + Other Stories

Plus, Christie's and China Guardian team up to boost operations in Shanghai and Allison Zuckerman designs album cover art for Charli XCX.

An interior view of Baselworld in better days. Courtesy of MCH Group.
An interior view of Baselworld in better days. Courtesy of MCH Group.

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 8.


England’s Museums Seek a £250 Million Bailout – Museums in the UK estimate it could cost them up to £250 million ($309 million) to reopen safely and enforce proper sanitation and social-distancing measures over the next few years. Arts Council England is currently taking the lead in negotiations with the government in an effort to increase public funding for institutions to soften the blow. In the meantime, London museums are bracing for a huge drop in international tourists; the director of the V&A, Tristram Hunt, estimated attendance could fall as much as 80 percent in the coming year. (The Art Newspaper)

Art Workers Band Together to Fight Racism Against Asian-Americans – A group of art workers have come together to launch StopDiscriminAsian, an online project that compiles stories of racism against Asian-Americans during the ongoing coronavirus crisis. The group is also working with the LA-based nonprofit GYOPO, a group of artists from the Korean diaspora who use contemporary art to call attention to social-justice issues. The project comes as the FBI has reported a surge in anti-Asian sentiment in the United States. (ARTnews)

Baselworld Cancels 2021 Edition – The next edition of the world’s oldest and largest trade fair for watches and jewelry has been axed following a series of postponements stemming from the pandemic. After the initial change from April to late January, angry exhibitors demanding refunds left en masse to strike out on their own with an alternative fair scheduled for April 2021 in Geneva, which likely prompted parent company MCH Group—the owner of Art Basel—to pull the plug entirely. (Forbes

Christie’s Plans Collaboration With China Guardian – The two auction houses are teaming up for 2020+, a series of exhibitions and sales slated to take place in September, amid an already crowded market calendar. Many of the events will be held at Christie’s outpost in Shanghai with Beijing-based China Guardian traveling for the occasion in an attempt to “broaden the market in the region.” According to Christie’s, the move is not intended to capitalize on the loosening of restrictions taking place in Shanghai, but that it is the result of like-minded entities hoping to encourage “cross-cultural dialogue.” (TAN)


Christie’s and the Warhol Foundation Team Up for Artist Relief – The auction house joined forces with the Pop artist’s foundation to hold an online-only sale of Warhol photographs. The sale’s $272,125 total will be used to support the foundation’s efforts to provide emergency relief to American artists. (Press release)

Artnet Auctions Launches Peter Beard Sale – The first sale of work by the late photographer Peter Beard since his death last month begins today on Artnet Auctions and runs through May 21. The auction offers 25 works by the adventurous, larger-than-life artist dating from the 1960s to the ‘80s, including his signature photo collages depicting endangered wildlife in Africa. Estimates range from $4,000 to $60,000. (Press release)


Hearst Foundation Offers Grants to California Arts Organizations – The William Randolph Hearst Foundation and the Hearst Foundation Inc. are joining forces to award $1.9 million in grants to 18 California organizations, including San Francisco’s Asian Art Museum, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Autry Museum of the American West. Rather than direct COVID-19 relief, the grants are targeted to fund education programs and community outreach. (San Francisco Chronicle)

Museum Leader Thomas Sokolowski Has Died – The forward-thinking former director of the Andy Warhol Museum and current director of the Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University has died at age 70. In 1988, Sokolowski became one of the four founders of Visual AIDS, a widely influential organization that worked to raise awareness for AIDS and support the legacies of HIV-positive artists. (ARTnews)

Royal Academy Elects New Keeper – Artist and sculpture professor Cathie Pilkington has been elected as the new Keeper of the Royal Academy, a charmingly British term for the overseer of the Royal Academy Schools. Pilkington became a Royal Academician in 2014 and served as professor of sculpture at the UK’s oldest postgraduate art school from 2015 to 2019. (Press release)

Artadia Announces 2020 Award Winners – This year’s winners, artists Alexandra Bell and Joiri Minaya, will receive $10,000 in unrestricted funds. Now in its fifth cycle, the Artadia awards are open to any visual artist who has worked in New York for more than two years. Winners were selected by Legacy Russell, curator at the Studio Museum in Harlem, and Kelly Taxter, curator of contemporary art at the Jewish Museum. (Press release)


Akron Museum Donor Calls for Director’s Ouster – A longtime patron of the Akron Art Museum, Richard Rogers, has issued a letter calling for the resignation of the museum’s director, Mark Masuoka, and the rest of the management team. The letter follows allegations from employees who said that the current managers had “created and promoted a pervasive culture of race and gender discrimination and bullying.” (Cleveland Plain Dealer

Construction Workers at the Smithsonian Have Contracted Coronavirus – Although museums around the world have closed indefinitely while the pandemic continues, construction projects at those sites remain open. At the Smithsonian’s Air and Space Museum, at least three construction workers have tested positive for COVID-19, though none have been on site since April 30, a spokesperson said. Some portions of the renovation have been put on hold to allow for deep-cleaning and workers who were in contact with those affected have been asked to self-quarantine. (Huffington Post)

Allison Zuckerman Designs Cover Art for Charli XCX – The young artist, who burst onto the scene with a solo show at the Rubell Collection in 2017, has designed the cover art for pop star Charli XCX’s new song, “I Finally Understand.” The cover, which shows the singer reclining on a checkered floor, fuses digital collage and painting. (Instagram)


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