Art Industry News: Kevin Spacey Mural to Be Painted Over After Allegations + More Must-Read Stories

Plus, a photograph found at a flea market turns out to be worth millions and the fashion world says goodbye to Azzedine Alaïa.

Street artist Akse P19 with his mural, created in Manchester for Nurbhai & Co. Accountants, in 2015. Photo: Nurbhai & Co. Accountants via Facebook.

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 Monday, November 20.


Frick Reveals “Lost” Murillo Found in Welsh Castle Bartolomé Esteban Murillo’s portrait of a writer—long thought to be a copy—has been reattributed to the Spanish master and is now on show at the Frick Collection. After its stint in New York, the painting heads to London’s National Gallery before returning home to Penrhyn Castle in Wales. (Guardian)  

Museum Leaders Voice Support for Olga Viso Top US museum directors—including Glenn Lowry, Michael Govan, and Lisa Phillips—have praised the outgoing director of the Walker Art Center, Olga Viso, for her achievements in Minneapolis and, in particular, her handling of the controversy over Durant’s sculpture Scaffold, which was removed from view following a protest by Dakota elders. (ARTnews)

Kevin Spacey Mural Will Be Painted Over – A mural on the side of a Manchester office building, which was commissioned in 2015 by an avid “House of Cards” fan, will soon be painted over. It was one of 15 works created by the street artist Akse around Manchester, including images of actress Carrie Fisher and Gandhi. The property owner and the artist now agree that the mural should be removed following sexual harassment allegations made against Spacey. (BBC)

Curator Resigns After Allegations of Inappropriate Behavior – Gavin Delahunty has stepped down from his role at the Dallas Museum of Art, effective immediately. “I am aware of allegations regarding my inappropriate behavior, and I do not want them to be a distraction to the museum or to my colleagues,” he wrote in a statement. The Irish-born curator joined the museum in 2014 as senior curator of contemporary art; he previously worked at Tate Liverpool. (ARTnews)


Sculptor Albert Paley Sells Metalwork – Having abandoned the idea of setting up a nonprofit for the preservation of his work, the Rochester, New York-based artist will sell metal sculptures and drawings from that span five decades of his career at Rago Auctions next January. (NYT)

Struggling Library to Sell Its Art Collection – The Berkshire Museum isn’t the only institution selling its art. This week, the James Prendergast Library in Jamestown, New York, plans to sell dozens of works from its collection at Sotheby’s for as much as $1.2 million. But residents are angry that the board rejected local patrons’ offer to pay the same amount for some 40 works in the collection, which would have kept them in the city. (NYT)

Flea Market Photo May Be Worth Millions – A North Carolina attorney who picked up a tintype photograph at a flea market for $10 a few years ago was thrilled to find out that the image is, in fact, the only existing picture of outlaw Billy the Kid and the man who shot him, Sheriff Pat Garrett. The flea-market find could now be worth millions of dollars. (CBS)​


Paris to Open LGBT Archive – Paris’s city council plans to launch a center in 2020 dedicated to France’s LGBT history. The idea had first been introduced two decades ago, but was neglected due to disagreements with LGBT community groups. The award-winning film, 120 Beats per Minute, about the AIDS activist collective Act Up, put the plans back on the mayor’s agenda. (The Art Newspaper)

Memphis College of Art to Shutter – Unless a $30 million endowment suddenly presents itself, the 81-year-old school will close its doors in 2020. Plagued by declining applications and mounting debt, the college will not receive any new students and plans to put some of its real estate holdings on the market. (Hyperallergic)

New Shanghai Biennial Curator Appointed – Cuauhtémoc Medina, the chief curator of Museo Universitario de Arte Contemporanea in Mexico City, was named curator of the biennial’s 12th edition, which is slated to take place next November at the Power Station of Art. (Artforum)

NSW Art Gallery Plans Controversial Expansion – The Australian art gallery plans to move further north towards Sydney Harbor in a bid to attract more visitors. But its $224 million expansion proposal has been met with fury by citizens concerned about the loss of open space in the city. (Guardian)


Carrie Mae Weems to Organize Event on History of Violence – The multimedia artist will stage a day-long gathering to discuss the history of violence and its effect on contemporary American society. The event at New York’s Park Avenue Armory on December 17 will include talks, poetry readings, and installations by Arthur Jafa, Theaster Gates, and Hank Willis Thomas, among others. (ARTnews)

Suit Over Removal of 9/11 Art Dismissed – A US District Court judge has dismissed artist Steve Tobin’s lawsuit against Trinity Church in Lower Manhattan over the removal of his 9/11 memorial sculpture Trinity Root. The bronze cast of the sycamore tree that sheltered the church during the tragedy, which Tobin intended to be permanent, was removed by the church in 2015. (New York Law Journal)

US Decides Guantanamo Prisoners Don’t Own Their Own Art – The Pentagon has “ruled” that any art made by the prisoners in the detention center in Cuba is US government property. Allegedly, the Department of Defense wasn’t happy that paintings by captives had been offered for sale at a show in New York. Moving forward, the art will no longer be allowed outside of the prison, even if the captive is released. (Miami Herald)

The Fashion World Says Goodbye to Azzedine Alaïa – Tributes poured in for the fashion pioneer who died at age 82 on Saturday. As a designer, he became known for his identifiable body-con looks that made use of cling and structure to emphasize the natural contours of the female form. (Vogue)

Tunisian-born, Paris-based couturier Azzedine Alaia poses at the exhibition “Azzedine Alaia’s soft sculpture” at the Galleria Borghese in Rome in 2015. Photo: Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images.

A creation by Tunisian-born, Paris-based couturier Azzedine Alaia at the exhibition “Azzedine Alaia’s soft sculpture” at the Galleria Borghese in Rome in 2015. Photo: Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images.

The exhibition “Azzedine Alaia’s soft sculpture” at the Galleria Borghese in Rome in 2015. Photo: Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images.

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