Art Industry News: #MeToo Protests Erupt at India’s Kochi-Muziris Biennale + Other Stories

Plus, Manifesta names the curators of its 2020 edition and the Hammer Museum appoints several Hollywood veterans to its board.

Guerilla Girls, Installation view at Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2018, Courtesy of Kochi Biennale Foundation.

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 for Monday, December 17.


Amy Sillman Is Conflicted About Delacroix – Can one love an artist’s work but dislike the person who made it? Painter Amy Sillman offers a master class in this exercise in dissonance in her review of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Delacroix exhibition. The artist was “a snob, a petty aristocrat, a sexist, and a colonialist,” she writes. “I don’t admire Delacroix’s vainglorious longing to seize women and territory, but I do love how he seized the surface of painting itself, and then twisted it into something alienated.” (4Columns)

Is Caravaggio’s Stolen ‘Nativity’ Still in Sicily? – The artist’s great Nativity painting, which has been missing since 1969, could still be in Sicily, according to a British art detective. Charles Hill tells the Guardian’s Jonathan Jones that he thinks the painting could surface when the last Cosa Nostra boss—Matteo Messina Denaro aka “Diabolik”—is finally caught. But not everyone is so optimistic. (Guardian)

#MeToo Protest Hit the Kochi-Muziris Biennale – A group of artists, curators, writers, and culture workers stood up during the Q&A portion of a lecture by the Guerrilla Girls at the Kochi-Muziris Biennale to read a statement outlining their frustration with the event’s organizers. The event, which opened last week, has been rocked by anonymous allegations of sexual harassment against some of the most prominent members of India’s art world, including the biennale’s co-organizer Riyas Komu and artist Subodh Gupta. The biennale’s organizers have said they are setting up an “internal complaints committee,” but activists warned that the group had not been formally initiated by the biennial’s opening day. (Hyperallergic)

Princeton Sued Over Stolen Manuscripts – The Eastern Orthodox Church is demanding Princeton University return Byzantine-era religious manuscripts and Gospels stolen during World War I from a monastery in northern Greece. The donor to the university purchased them in 1921 in Germany. The Church is also talking to Duke University and the Morgan Library & Museum in New York about the return of additional manuscripts said to have been stolen during the 1917 raid. The university stands by its provenance research. (New York Times)


Chinese Firm That Bought a Michelangelo Crashes Out of the Stock Market – Here’s the latest development in one of the most befuddling art-market stories this season: The Chinese construction firm that bought Michelangelo’s Crucifixion for $75 million has been delisted from the NASDAQ. Shares in Yulong Eco-Materials Limited soared by 260 percent after it acquired the painting, as well as a $50 million gem called the Millennium Sapphire. The company plans to offer shares in them to Chinese investors. (Bloomberg)

Yours, Mine, & Ours Gallery in New York to Close – The Lower East Side gallery Yours Mine & Ours has announced that it will close before Christmas. After two-and-a-half years in business, the four co-founders of the small gallery said that they all felt like we were being pulled in different directions and needed “all hands on deck” in the current financial landscape. (ARTnews)

Bernard Arnault Will Own Venice’s Famous Hotel Cipriani – The French billionaire’s LVMH luxury group is buying the hotel group Belmond, which owns Venice’s famous Hotel Cipriani, in a $3.2 billion takeover. The acquisition comes as companies seek to capitalize on the growing trend of “experiential” luxury, with wealthy consumers willing to pay more for experiences than collectible products. (Financial Times)


San Francisco’s Asian Art Museum Names Contemporary Art Head – The curator Abby Chen has been named the first head of contemporary art at the California museum. She takes up her post in January. Since 2006, Chen has served as the artistic director of the Chinese Culture Center of San Francisco. (Press release)

Hammer Museum Names New Board Members – The Los Angeles museum has named several entertainment-industry heavyweights to its board. Jay Brown, the co-founder and CEO of Roc Nation, and Cindy Miscikowski, a former member of LA city council, have joined the board of directors, while Darren Star, creator of the series “Sex and the City,” and Bill Block, the CEO of Miramax, joined the board of overseers. (Press release)

Manifesta Announces 2020 Curators – The roving European biennial will continue the interdisciplinary approach it took in Palermo this year. Held in Marseille in 2020, Manifesta 13 will be organized another team of four: Alya Sebti (director of Berlin’s ifa Gallery), Spanish architect Marina Otero Verzier, Moscow-based Katerina Chuchalina (chief curator at the V-A-C Foundation), and Stefan Kalmár, a German curator who is currently the director of the ICA in London. (Press release)

Lithographer Irwin Hollander Dies – The celebrated printer, who convinced Robert Motherwell, Willem de Kooning, and other Abstract Expressionist stars to take a stab at lithography at his East Village workshop, died on November 16 in Brooklyn at the age of 90. The de Kooning lithographs published by Hollander in 1971 earned their own show at MoMA that same year. (New York Times)


World Trade Center Performance Arts Hub Gets $89 Million – The Ronald O. Perelman Center for the Performing Arts has received an $89 million grant from the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation and the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. The space is expected to open in downtown New York in 2020. (ARTnews)

Miro’s Studios Reopen to the Public – Joan Miró’s two studios in Mallorca, Spain, have been renovated and restored to look and feel just how the artist left them when he died in 1983. Everything—down to the paint stains and drips on the floor—has been carefully reconstructed. (El Pais)

Berlin’s Chipperfield-Designed Grand Entrance Is Finally Ready – The James Simon Gallery building is now complete ahead of its highly anticipated public opening next summer. The massive new entrance to Berlin’s Museum Island has been nearly 20 years in the making. The 117,000-square-foot entranceway comes with a 300-seat auditorium and a temporary exhibition space. See the long-awaited designs below. (Press release)

© BBR / SPK / Björn Schumann

© BBR / SPK / Björn Schumann

© BBR / SPK / Björn Schumann

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