Art Industry News: Watch Out! Art Basel Parent Company MCH Cancels Baselworld Again as Top Exec Leaves the Luxury Expo + Other Stories

Plus, Jerry Saltz is 'actually afraid' to post pictures of John Currin's work on Instagram, and the MFA Boston staff is going on strike.

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 Monday, November 15.

NEED TO READ

Jerry Saltz Likens John Currin to Caligula – The art critic defends the work of controversial artist John Currin, who is the subject of an much-discussed exhibition at Gagosian in New York. He describes him as the “Caligula of painting”—someone who is “so specifically perverse, shocking, visually insolent, menacing, and mesmerizing that as it puts us off, it also pulls us in.” The cultural climate, however, has changed Currin’s prospects. Whereas some years ago, people might simply have disliked the artist’s work, now they find it morally reprehensible. “I was actually afraid to post pictures of his show on Instagram,” Saltz said. “When I did, most of the 700 comments I got were negative to scathing—many against me.” (Vulture)

Everyone Adores the New Courtauld Rehang – The Courtauld Gallery’s £57 million ($76.5 million) makeover is finally complete after three years and most critics have given it a rave. The Guardian‘s Rowan More describes it as it has been described as “a master class in tasteful updating,” with subtle yet thoughtful architecture that makes room for the art and the building’s history to shine. But there is always room for improvement: “There are… questionable decisions, including about the distribution of space,” Moore noted. (Guardian)

MCH Calls Off This Year’s Baselworld (Again) – The hits keep coming for Art Basel’s parent company MCH. After it announced it had suffered a data breach last month, the organization has revealed it will cancel the 2022 edition of the flagship Baselworld luxury watch trade show, which was due to run from March 31 to April 4. The group said it needed more time to relaunch the event successfully for the first time since 2019. As a result of the cancellation, Baselworld’s managing director Michel Loris-Melikoff is leaving the company. (Bloomberg)

MFA Boston Workers Vote for One-Day Strike – Members of a union that represents around 200 employees at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, have voted to hold a one-day strike on Wednesday to protest stalled contract negotiations. Workers are concerned about pay, safety, and workplace diversity, according to the union’s bargaining team. “We remain committed to staying at the bargaining table to create an equitable and sustainable outcome,” a representative for the museum said in a statement. (AP)

MOVERS & SHAKERS

Christopher Lew Is Leaving the Whitney – The keen-eyed curator is leaving New York’s Whitney Museum of American Art after seven years to join a yet-to-be-revealed new nonprofit and start-up. Lew was previously an assistant curator at MoMA PS1; he also organized the 2017 Whitney Biennial with Mia Locks. (ARTnews)

Vito Schnabel Opens an L.A. Pop-Up – The New York-based art dealer is taking over the old Santa Monica Post Office for the next few months. His first show in the space, on view now through January 16, presents 20 years of work by the Italian painter Francesco Clemente. (Hollywood Reporter)

Artist Crowdfunds His Venice Biennale Pavilion – Billy Gerard Frank, a Grenadian filmmaker and multimedia artist who is among those representing the Caribbean island in next year’s Venice Biennale, is working to crowdfund $250,000 to realize his presentation. (He found success with GoFundMe in 2018.) Smaller islands “don’t have that kind of funding to commit to a nine-month pavilion, and pay artists to go to the Biennale,” Frank explained. (Hyperallergic)

FOR ART’S SAKE

Boijmans Depot Was Inspired By a Salad Bowl – Inspiration really can come from anywhere. The design for the €94 million ($107.5 million) Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam, a novel building that showcases the museum’s entire 151,000-piece collection in open storage, was inspired by an Ikea salad bowl. “I was looking for something round,” said Winy Maas, cofounder of the Dutch architecture firm MVRDV. “So I grabbed the stainless steel bowl, with its nice mirroring aspect. That was it.” Simple as that! (Guardian)

Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen. Photo Ossip van Duivenbode

Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen. Photo Ossip van Duivenbode

 

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