Art Industry News: The Battle Over Zaha Hadid’s $85 Million Estate Has Gotten Ugly + Other Stories

Plus, the Getty Villa escapes the Malibu wildfire and a 1,5000-year-old portrait of Jesus revealed in Israel.

Zaha Hadid and Patrik Schumacher in front of the Lilas Pavilion. Photo by Luke Hayes, courtesy of Zaha Hadid Architects.

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 this Thursday, November 15.


Christie’s to Auction Off Robert Indiana’s Kelly and Ruscha Paintings – Two works that belonged to Robert Indiana will be auctioned at Christie’s in New York on Friday (November 16). The controversial sale of pieces by Ellsworth Kelly and Ed Ruscha, which is expected to generate up to $4.2 million, will help fund the growing legal fees related to his estate. Some will go towards the restoration of Indiana’s historic home, Star of Hope, in Vinalhaven, Maine, which may need millions in repairs to become the study center that Indiana planned. (Guardian)

Determined Japanese Museum Cats Go Viral – A pair of cats who have tried to visit a museum in Japan for the past two years—either out of laudable curiosity or, perhaps, an interest in some museological mice—have become an internet sensation. Instagrams and videos show the guards of the Hiroshima Onomichi City Museum denying the determined felines access. (Evening Standard)

Battle Over Zaha Hadid’s Estate Will Go to Court – Executors of Zaha Hadid’s $85 million estate are at loggerheads. The architect Patrik Schumacher has been accused by other stewards of trying to gain financially by going to court to oust them. They include the late architect’s niece, Rana Hadid, who says her aunt would be devastated by the court battle. Schumacher says that he has been left with no other choice. (Times)

How US Sanctions on Iran Are Affecting the Country’s Art Market – The founder of Tehran’s contemporary art gallery Dastan’s Basement, Hormoz Hematian, explains that rising inflation and U.S. sanctions on the country’s crude oil exports are making it harder for the country’s collectors, as well as gallerists like himself, who are hoping to travel abroad to international art fairs. What was recently a thriving art market is now wavering amid the economic and political changes. (Bloomberg)


Will Blockchain Actually Create a Art Market Transparency? – This week, Christie’s tracked $317.8 million worth of sales via blockchain. The Barney A. Ebsworth Collection auction marks the first time blockchain was used in a sale, but skeptics wonder whether the technology can help with misrepresentations of provenance in existing records. Another major concern is that blockchain will just pull in more investor-focused collectors who aim to store their wealth in physical assets beyond the usual stock market. (Hyperallergic)

British Art Fair Moves to Frieze Week – The British Art Fair is moving from its usual slot at the end of September to align with Frieze at the beginning of October. Next year, it will be held at the new location of Saatchi Gallery from October 3-5; Some 50 galleries are expected to exhibit. (Antiques Trade Gazette)

Artemus’s Case Against Paul Kasmin Moves Forward – A judge has ruled in Asher Edelman’s favor in the lawsuit against Paul Kasmin Gallery for fake invoices, artnet News has learned. Artemus, the art leasing company founded by investor and collector Asher Edelman, is suing the New York gallery for allegedly creating false documents in connection to a sale of work by Frank Stella.


MoMA Curator to Lead Paris Photography Center – Quentin Bajac is heading back to France to direct the Jeu de Paume in Paris. The chief curator of the photography department of the MoMA New York for the past five years, Bajac has been a curator at the Centre Pompidou and Musée d’Orsay in Paris.  (ARTnews)

Kapwani Kiwanga Wins the 2018 Sobey Award – The Paris-based artist has won the Sobey Art Award for a Canadian artist under 40, which comes with around $75,500 in prize money. Kiwanga, who won the inaugural Frieze Art Award earlier this year, will have a solo show at MIT List Visual Arts Center in February. She received the Sobey Award at a gala at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa. (ARTNews)

The Cartoonist Who Put Pop Art Into Pizza Restaurants Has Died – The Italian designer and cartoonist Enzio Apicella, who has died aged 96, revolutionized the look of Italian restaurants in Britain during the 1960s. A prolific cartoonist as well, he designed more than 80 branches of the Pizza Express chain in bright, geometric designs, even including Paolozzi mural in London’s Fulham branch. (Guardian)

Tang and Fougeirol Join Lyles & King – The artist Thomas Fougeirol and curator Jo-ey Tang, whose ongoing collaborative project invites artists to create photograms, have joined the New York gallery Lyles & King. They will have the first show there in the fall of 2019. (ARTnews)


Getty Villa Is Unscathed by California Wildfires – The Getty Villa will remain closed to the public as the recovery effort continues in and around Los Angeles, while the Getty Center is still open as usual. The museum confirms that neither site was under threat due to the fire. (The Getty Museum Blog)

Experts Back Michelangelo Bronzes Attribution – Cambridge’s Fitzwilliam Museum claims to own the only surviving bronze sculptures cast by Michelangelo has been boosted. After four years of technical research, experts at the University of Cambridge have backed the attribution of the three-foot-high muscular figures known as the Rothschild bronzes. (BBC)

A New Cellphone Provider Is Creating a Viral Installation – Invisible, a cellphone service provider that is entirely app-based, has installed a five piece art installation in New York, featuring several upside down settings (like Broadway station). The pop-up installation is also hosting performances through November 20. (Thrillist)


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