Art Industry News: LACMA Director Michael Govan Just Organized a Show for Hauser & Wirth. Is That a Problem? + Other Stories

Plus, Chelsea stalwart Robert Mann Gallery moves to appointment-only and the Centre Pompidou-Metz appoints a new director.

LACMA CEO and director Michael Govan. Photo by Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for LACMA.

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 13.


Ulster Museum Moves Ahead With BP Portrait Award – While the Scottish National Portrait Gallery made waves by announcing it would no longer host the annual portrait exhibition sponsored by BP after this year, another museum—the Ulster Museum in Belfast—is keeping its ties to the oil giant. The exhibition, which has been sponsored by BP for 30 years, opens in London before traveling to Scotland and Northern Ireland in April. The Scottish Portrait Gallery said that “the climate emergency has escalated and we acknowledge our role as a national museum in helping to address it.” (BBC)

Michael Govan Organized a Show for Hauser & Wirth. Is That a Problem? – LACMA director Michael Govan has made the unusual move to commission 19 photographs of the California coast from the artist Thomas Joshua Cooper, which will go on sale at an exhibition at the mega-gallery Hauser & Wirth at the same time that the museum hosts an exhibition of the artist’s work. Los Angeles Times critic Christopher Knight deems the nonprofit museum director’s interjection into the commercial world an “ethical swamp of considerable depth,” adding that “neither LACMA’s board of trustees nor the LA County Board of Supervisors should stand for it.” (Los Angeles Times)

An Insurance Company Launches With Maurizio Cattelan as Its Mascot – The Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan has been cast as the unlikely face of an Italian insurance company, Arte Generali. The company, which is trying to jockey for a share of the art insurance business alongside competitor AXA, featured the prankster artist on promotional material in the nude, covered only by a version of his famous $5 million golden toilet, which was recently stolen from an English castle. If you also have a $5 million golden toilet that could get stolen, you should probably get art insurance, too. (AP)

Park Avenue Armory Unveils 2020 Season – The 2020 program at New York’s Park Avenue Armory will be heavy on theater and dance. Among the projects announced for next year is a contemporary staging of Monteverdi’s Maria Vespers, complete with an immersive set featuring Berlinde De Bruyckere’s haunting wax sculpture Cripplewood, and a large-scale premiere by the choreographer Bill T. Jones. Art-focused offerings include a new video installation, Enclosure, by the artist Rachel Rose. (New York Times)


Other AI-Generated Portraits Head to Auction – An AI-generated portrait by the French collective Obvious heads to auction at Sotheby’s tomorrow. The portrait, La Baronne De Belamy, is from the same series that caused a market sensation last year, when it sold for $432,500 at Christie’s. This version has a far more conservative upper estimate of $30,000. Pierre Fautrel, one of the three members of Obvious, told AFP: “We do not expect as big a result as last year.” (Art Daily)

Robert Mann Gallery Heads to the Upper East Side – Robert Mann—the first photography gallery to move to Chelsea—is leaving the neighborhood after two decades to return to Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Its new space at 14 East 80th Street will be open by appointment only. (Press release)


Chiara Parisi Named Director of Centre Pompidou Outpost – The Centre Pompidou-Metz in Lorraine, France has named the curator Chiara Parisi as its new director. She will succeed Emma Lavigne, who recently took the top job at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, at the end of this month. (The Art Newspaper)

The Met Gets a New Trustee – New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art has elected the businesswoman, educator, and philanthropist Nita Ambani to its board of trustees. Ambani—who also happens to be India’s richest woman—was lauded for her commitment to “preserving and promoting India’s art and culture” by museum chairman Daniel Brodsky in a release announcing the appointment. (Press release)


Artist Cecilia Vicuña on Chile’s Protests – Vicuña, who was born in Santiago and is now based in New York, says the ongoing protests in Chile “may be a preview of what awaits people around the world.” The artist, who currently has work on view at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, says that Chile’s fate awaits many more of us “unless we wake up fast to defend our democratic rights!” (ARTnews)

A New Gallery Opens Above Ground Zero – The cubicle-sized gallery Melanie has just wrapped up its third show on the 16th floor of an office building in downtown New York that overlooks Ground Zero. It is the office workspace of artist Joe Graham-Felsen, who creates exhibitions at his desk when he has finished up with his day job at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum. (ARTnews)

Elmgreen & Dragset’s Bent Pool Heads to Miami Beach – The final permanent public artwork in a six-piece series will be unveiled at the the Miami Beach Convention Center during Art Basel Miami Beach this December. The 20-foot-tall folded swimming pool by artist duo Elmgreen & Dragset comments on the contradictions of holiday vacationing in the sunshine state in the face of climate change. (Press release)

Elmgreen & Dragset. Bent Pool (2019). Courtesy: Elmgreen & Dragset and City of Miami Beach

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