Art Industry News: Damien Hirst—Net Worth, Nearly $400 Million—Blasts the Teen Who Stole His Phone + Other Stories

Plus, a $26.6 million purple-pink diamond sets a new record at Sotheby's and you can preview David Adjaye's highly anticipated Benin City museum.

Damien Hirst. Photo by Oli Scarff/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 Friday, November 13.


Reflecting on the Baltimore Controversy – In her latest column, writer Carolina Miranda unpacks the recent deaccessioning controversy at the Baltimore Museum of Art. While the mission behind the aborted sell-off—to, in part, raise wages for low-paid support staff and guards at the museum—is noble, Miranda suggests deaccessioning was the path of least resistance. “The solution is simply raising more endowment money,” said former board chair Stiles Tuttle Colwill, “and to do that you have to ask.” (Los Angeles Times)

MoMA Rehangs Its Collection – When the Museum of Modern Art opened its expansion last year, it promised it would regularly rehang its galleries to offer a glimpse of lesser-known art. While the lockdown threw a wrench into those plans, curators are finally preparing to unveil their first reshuffle, called the Fall Reveal, on Saturday, which affects 20 of MoMA’s 60 galleries. The adjustments get a rave from Roberta Smith, who says, “The result bodes extraordinarily well.” (New York Times)

Damien Hirst Calls Out a Kid Who Stole His Phone The UK’s richest artist took to Instagram after a teenager lifted his cell phone while Hirst was dining at Mayfair’s swanky Scott’s restaurant. According to the artist, he was distracted by the youngster, who pretended to be begging and then showed him a piece of paper. The well-connected artist was able to obtain CCTV footage of the boy at an ATM machine, which he promptly shared with his 720,000 followers. The footage now appears to have been deleted. (Observer)

A Peek at David Adjaye’s Museum in Benin City – The highly anticipated Edo Museum of West African Art in Benin City, Nigeria, plans to house “the most comprehensive display in the world of Benin Bronzes.” Designed by Ghanaian-born, London-based architect David Adjaye and developed by Nigerian organizations in partnership with the British Museum, it stands next to the former royal palace, which was looted and burned to the ground by British forces in the late 19th century. So far, $4 million has been raised for the project, mainly from an anonymous donor. (The Art Newspaper)


Purple Diamond Sets a Record at Sotheby’s – A 14.83-carat purple-pink fancy vivid diamond fetched $26.6 million with fees at Sotheby’s in Geneva, setting an auction record for a stone of its color. Named after a Russian ballet from 1911, the Spirit of the Rose hammered $100,000 below its low estimate of $23 million. The gem was cut from a stone unearthed in Russia in 2017. (ARTnews)

Sean Connery’s James Bond Gun Hits the Block – The gun that the late Sean Connery used while playing James Bond in the 1962 flick Dr. No is going up for sale at Julien’s Auctions on December 3. Connery, who died on October 31, was the first actor to play the debonair British secret agent. Julien’s is offering the Walther PP pistol as part of the “Icons & Idols Trilogy: Hollywood” sale. It carries an estimate of $150,000 to $200,000. (CNN)


Experimental Filmmaker Aldo Tambellini Dies – The Italian-American filmmaker, whose works explored the many meanings of blackness, died at the age of 90. His avant-garde technique involved degrading celluloid and creating abstract patterns, pushing the confines of cinema into new realms. In 2019, the Albright-Knox museum in Buffalo became the first US institution to acquire his work. (ARTnews)

Victoria Siddall Changes Jobs at Frieze – Victoria Siddall, who succeeded Matthew Slotover and Amanda Sharp at the helm of the Frieze fairs, will move into a newly created role of board director, where she will have “more of an external, strategic focus.” Frieze publisher Rebecca Ann Siegel will oversee Frieze’s US fairs in New York and Los Angeles. (Financial Times)


A Berlin Gallery Owner on His COVID Diagnosis – The managing director of Berlin’s Galerie Crone, Markus Peichl, says he thought the COVID-19 precautions were exaggerated before he got sick with the disease. In the end, he says, the lockdown saved his life; he ended up in to the intensive care unit in Berlin, where he occupied one of the last of the 17 beds. “I am infinitely grateful to [German Chancellor] Angela Merkel, [Bavarian Minister] Markus Söder, and [Finance Minister] Olaf Scholz for taking the measures they did,” he says. (Monopol)

More Funding Is Released for Lost Art – The German Lost Art Foundation has approved a grant of €1.97 million ($2.3 million) to fund 25 projects that will investigate the whereabouts of cultural assets stolen during the Nazi era. (Monopol)

Tate Presents Its 2020 Winter Commission – The British artist Chila Kumari Singh Burman has lit up London’s Tate Britain with her outdoor installation Remembering a Brave New World. While the museum itself may be closed, you can still take in the luminous installation from the street. It will be on view during Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights. (Instagram)

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