Art Industry News: Harry Styles Is So Hot Right Now His Cardigan Is Entering the V&A Museum’s Collection + Other Stories

Plus, Milwaukee Art Museum employees become the latest to unionize and Manchester prepares to demolish a work by Tadao Ando.

Harry Styles wearing the JW Anderson patchwork sweater. Courtesy of JW Anderson Instagram.

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 Tuesday, November 17.


Manchester Will Demolish Tadao Ando’s Public Art – A concrete wall designed by Japanese architect Tadao Ando in Picadilly Gardens will be demolished to make way for a pricey redevelopment. The 20-foot wall, sometimes referred to as the Mancunian Berlin Wall, has divided opinion in Manchester. Some see it as a classic example of Japanese minimalism that is of historical importance and ought to be put in a museum; others deem it an eyesore. Preliminary work on its demolition began Monday. (Guardian)

Ming Smith Finally Gets Her Due – The American photographer is known for her blurred, almost impressionistic portraits of Black life. Although her work has been a touchstone for generations of Black photographers, it is gaining even wider recognition now with a new Aperture book and inclusion in a Whitney Museum exhibition about the Kamoinge Workshop photography collective. “A jazz musician has certain notes—and then they improvise. I basically improvise with what I have,” Smith says of her approach. “If there’s low light, I deal with it.” (ARTnews)

Harry Styles’s Cardigan Joins the V&A – The former One Direction member made headlines this week for becoming the first man ever to grace the cover of American Vogue solo—and, to the consternation of some, while wearing a dress. Meanwhile, across the pond, his fashion is entering the archives of London’s Victoria & Albert Museum. The patchwork knit cardigan Styles wore for a performance on the Today show sold out soon after Styles’s appearance, and the hashtag #harrystylescardigan was used more than 1,000 times on social media. The designer JW Anderson himself even publicized the sewing pattern and shared a tutorial for Styles stans to recreate their own version of the designer dud. Now, it will be preserved for future sartorial historians as well. (GQ)

Milwaukee Art Museum Workers Vote to Unionize – More than 140 employees from the Milwaukee Art Museum have voted to unionize, joining the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers. Seventy-two percent of the staff across departments including visitor services, food and beverage, and education and programs voted in favor of unionization. The museum says the move is “not in its best interest” but that it respects the decision. Milwaukee is the latest in a wave of museums forming unions. (Milwaukee Business Journal)


Rudolph and Santa Figures Exceed Auction Expectations  Adorable figurines used in the original Christmas special Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer fetched $368,000, smashing the presale estimate of $150,000 to $200,000. The dolls were sold as part of the Icons & Legends of Hollywood sale held by the Los Angeles-based Profiles in History auction house. (AP)

The KGB Espionage Museum Is Selling Off Its Collection – The now-shuttered KGB Museum in New York is selling off its entire collection on February 13 at Julien’s Auctions in Beverly Hills. Items include a gun that resembles a lipstick case, a deadly umbrella-syringe, and a heart-rate detector. So, you know, if you’re in the market for one of those things, you know where to go. (Archeology)

Art Dealer Loses in Trial Over Günther Uecker Fake – An art dealer has had to refund a buyer €7,500 ($8,912) after a judge ruled that the work he bought, Sandbild 1986 auf Büttenpapier, was not actually by the German artist Günther Uecker. The 90-year-old artist himself testified on the stand that it was not by his hand. (FAZ)


Art Night Announces Decentralized Format – London’s annual Art Night is changing the format for its fifth edition next summer. Instead of an all-night contemporary art fest in London, Art Night 2021 will hold a full month of nighttime events in locations across the UK. The June-July program includes large-scale projects and new commissions from artists including the Guerrilla Girls, Imran Perretta & Paul Purgas, and Isabel Lewis. (Press release)

Sewage Workers Stumble Upon Ancient Bust in Athens – Sewage workers in Athens accidentally discovered a 2,300-year-old bust depicting the Greek god Hermes beneath the city’s streets. The well-preserved head is in the style of the renowned Greek sculptor Alcamenes and unusually depicts the messenger god at an advanced age. Experts say the head, which was buried in a drainage duct, was a street marker in Ancient Greece. (Daily Mail)


Bigfoot (Sculpture) Is Found in California – Police in Scotts Valley, California have recovered a missing sculpture of the mythical creature Bigfoot that was stolen from the Bigfoot Discovery Museum last week. The museum is “delighted” to have the four-foot-tall, 200-pound replica back home. The hunt for the real-life Bigfoot continues. (New York Post)

Tokyo Is Trying to Find a Balance Between Street Art and Graffiti – The Japanese capital is struggling to highlight its diverse street art scene without violating the law, which classifies graffiti as illegal if it has lettering. Local artists think the city should create a “hall of fame” wall to let people paint freely. The hip area of Shibuya has adopted another creative solution, inviting 11 artists to create murals featuring arrows to help guide tourists and locals out of the area in the event of a natural disaster. (Japan Times)

Yet Another Van Gogh Light Show Will Open in Chicago – The company Immersive Art Space LP is bringing spectacular light projections of Van Gogh’s works to Chicago. Called “Immersive Van Gogh,” the exhibition will open at Lighthouse Artspace Chicago on February 11. The experience is coming to the US following a successful debut in Canada. (Press release)

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