Art Industry News: Facing Dark Times, the Met Has Named Two Powerful Patrons to Chair Its Board—a First + Other Stories

Plus, an artist sues Diesel for allegedly copying her work in an ad campaign and Manhattan's DA returns 45 antiquities to Pakistan.

People outside the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Photo by Noam Galai/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 on this Wednesday, November 11.


Artist Sues Diesel for Copying Her Art – Digital artist Haleigh Nickerson is suing the fashion brand Diesel and the disgraced photographer Terry Richardson for allegedly ripping off her work for a 2017 campaign. Nickerson says the brand used a photo very similar to her “Sista Soulja” image, which featured a woman wearing a green, red, and black costume in front of a red-and-white starred background. After she posted the work to Instagram, Diesel launched an ad campaign shot by Richardson featuring a woman in front of the same background in a similar pose, calling it “Sister Siren.” The artist deems the campaign a “blatant act of infringement.” (WWD)

Have UK Museums Gotten a New Lease on Life? – A petition is calling for redundant staff at the Southbank Centre in London to be put back on payroll after it was announced last week that the UK government’s furlough scheme will be extended until the end of March. This fall, 322 workers were made redundant amid the financial pressures of lockdown. The institution says that it is waiting for guidance from the government and to learn if it will be benefiting from the planned £1.57 billion Cultural Recovery Fund before restoring any staff. Other venues, like the Royal Academy and the Victoria & Albert Museum, are reviewing whether they can implement the furlough extension to save jobs. (The Art Newspaper)

The Met Names Two New Board Chairs – Financier Hamilton E. James and lawyer Candace K. Beinecke have been chosen to jointly lead the board of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. This marks the first time the museum has elected two trustees to lead the board, one of whom will be its first female chair. They will have their work cut out for them as the museum faces unprecedented challenges amid reduced attendance, plummeting revenue, and an ongoing reckoning with racial injustice. Exiting chair Daniel Brodsky said, “The opportunity to have two leaders with strong yet different experiences is a win-win for the museum.” (New York Times)

Simone Leigh’s Sculpture Lands at UPenn – A version of Simone Leigh’s monumental bronze sculpture Brick House has been installed at the University of Pennsylvania. The female bust, which previously towered above New York’s High Line, is a gift from collectors (and Penn alumni) Glenn and Amanda Fuhrman. It’s also a refreshing addition to the Ivy League campus, which includes many sculptures of the school’s founder Benjamin Franklin but few works that reflect the majority Black city. (Philadelphia Inquirer)


Christie’s to Sell the Collection of Morton and Barbara Mandel – The auction house has secured 80 works from the collection of the late Cleveland billionaire philanthropists Morton and Barbara Mandel, which will be offered in its contemporary art sales on December 2 and 3. The proceeds will benefit their family’s foundation and are expected to exceed $15.5 million. Works on offer include Pablo Picasso’s Femme debout (1927) and an untitled drip drawing by Jackson Pollock from 1953. (Art Market Monitor)

David Hockney and Cardi B Create Protest Signs for Charity Auction – Cardi B, David Hockney, and Rashid Johnson are among those making posters to directly support the families of Black women killed by the police. “Show Me the Signs” will take place as a live auction beginning in two rounds, from now until November 19 and from November 21 to November 30. (Press releaseArtnet News)


Movie Studio Buys Rights to Bill Traylor Doc – The film studio Kino Lorber has bought the North American rights to Jeffrey Wolf’s Bill Traylor documentary, Chasing Ghosts. It tells the story of how the artist, who was born into an enslaved family in 1853, began to produce an extraordinary body of work in his late 80s while living on the streets of Montgomery, Alabama. The studio is planning to release the film in spring 2021. (Deadline)

Manhattan DA Sends 45 Antiquities Back to Pakistan – New York has repatriated 45 antiquities valued at around $250,000 to the people of Pakistan. The artifacts, which include a Gandharan frieze and religious relics, were confiscated from a known antiquities trafficker in 2015. (Press release)


German Museum Association Calls for Lockdown to Lift – A museum association in the German region of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, home to around 300 museums, is calling on the government to lift the current lockdown measures on December 1. “The existence of some museums is threatened,” the organization wrote, adding that museums are “safe places for education and culture.” (Monopol)

Thomas Bayrle Creates a Church Window – The 83-year-old German artist has created a new stained glass window for a monastery in Germany. The work is a blue Pietà—but if you look closely, you can see that it is made up of tiny pictograms of smartphones. See it here. (Monopol)

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