Art Industry News: Lloyd Blankfein Compares His Highly Personal Attack on Elizabeth Warren to ‘Impressionist Art’ + Other Stories

Plus, the latest on the quest to recover Cattelan's stolen gold toilet and the Met hires rising star curator Denise Murrell.

Lloyd Blankfein in Sagaponack, New York. (Photo by Sean Zanni/Patrick McMullan via 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 Wednesday, November 20.


Tempers Flare Over Notre-Dame Reconstruction – Things are getting heated in the debate over how to restore the Paris cathedral after last year’s devastating fire. During a recent meeting of France’s National Assembly, General Jean-Louis Georgelin, the army chief in charge of the project, told the top architect of Notre Dame to “shut his mouth.” The rebuke of architect Philippe Villeneuve revealed the growing tension over whether to restore the cathedral’s Gothic spire or build a contemporary version. Georgelin, who was appointed by French President Macron, backs his desire for a new structure. But Villeneuve disagrees, telling the French media: “Either I restore it identically, it will be me, or they make a contemporary spire and it will be someone else.” (AFP)

The Met Hires Rising Star Curator – As the Met’s director Max Hollein completes his first year on the job, he has made a high-profile new hire: Denise Murrell, the curator behind the celebrated exhibition “Posing Modernity: The Black Model From Manet and Matisse to Today.” (Ironically, when Murrell approached the Met about working with her on the show a few years ago, she never heard back.) In January, she will take on the newly created role of associate curator for 19th and 20th century art. “Max and his team want to proactively move toward a more inclusive presentation of art history across all periods,” Dr. Murrell said. “This is a moment of inflection at the Met.” (New York Times)

Lloyd Blankfein Likens His Comments on Elizabeth Warren to “Impressionist Art” – The billionaire banker and Goldman Sachs CEO has doubled down on his racially loaded attack against the Democratic politician with a bizarrely artistic defense. Blankfein, who has taken exception to the US presidential candidate’s proposed wealth tax, raised eyebrows when he described her as having “maybe tribalism in her DNA.” He dodged a question about whether he was referring to Warren’s Native American ancestry by saying: “It’s like looking at a piece of Impressionist art. You ask yourself, ‘What is the artist thinking?’ It’s really for you to take away.” (Bloomberg)

What Happened to Maurizio Cattelan’s Toilet? – Police are still on the hunt for Maurizio Cattelan’s America, a fully functioning gold toilet stolen from Blenheim Palace in the pre-dawn hours around two months ago. Six people have been arrested in connection with the case, but were later released without being charged. In the town near the palace, everyone from a local gardener to a taxi driver has a theory about the john’s whereabouts. A local pub even installed a replica of the toilet as a joke to tease a regular who worked at the palace. That one, fittingly, has also been stolen. (NYT)


Kamair Maleki to Lead Volta and Pulse – The London-based collector and patron who directed the Contemporary Istanbul art fair from 2016 to 2018 has been named the new director of both Volta and Pulse, two fairs dedicated to emerging art that have recently come under the same ownership. (Volta was acquired last month by Ramsay Fairs.) Maleki says there is no current plan to merge the two fairs, although he wouldn’t rule out the possibility in the future. With its new owner, Volta also has a new location for 2020: Metropolitan West near the Piers on 46th Street. (The Art Newspaper, Press release)

Paddle8 Names New CEO – Valentine Uhovski, who joined the company this summer, is taking over as CEO from Izabela Depczyk, effective immediately. Depczyk is stepping aside after two years at the helm of the online auction site. Uhovski was most recently head of marketing and partnerships for Paddle8, and previously served as head of culture and fashion at Tumblr. (Art Daily)

Chinese Galleries Forced to Relocate Ahead of Demolitions – Officials in Guangzhou are evicting the galleries and nonprofits that had set up shop at the Redtory Art and Design District. The former canned-food factory is being demolished to make way for a planned financial hub. (Artforum)

Untitled San Francisco Releases 2020 Program – The fourth edition of Untitled, Art in San Francisco will host 60 exhibitors at Pier 35 in January 2020, including New York’s Michael Rosenfeld Gallery and LA’s Night Gallery. eBay is joining the fair as a sponsor, introducing a $10,000 booth prize, and Artnet News contributor Brian Boucher will be the inaugural writer-in-residence, publishing daily updates from the fair. (Press release)


Museum of Ice Cream Wants to Expand Even More – The Instagram-ready museum is preparing to open a permanent location in New York City on December 14. But that isn’t even the half of it. Next year, the company says it intends to open a new venue every quarter in the US and abroad. Specific locations have yet to be revealed, but it sounds like you might spot one around the corner in no time. (BizJournals)

MCA Detroit Names New Curator – Interdisciplinary artist and curator Jova Lynne has been named curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Detroit. Lynne, who has been a Ford Curatorial Fellow at the non-collecting museum for the past two years, begins her new post on February 1. (Artforum)


Collector Asks $19 Million for Art-Filled Loft – Philanthropist Henry Buhl’s Manhattan loft is packed with sculptures by Rodin, Botero, Picasso, and other famous artists, but there is one thing that connects them all: every work depicts hands. There is an Alfred Stieglitz photograph of the hands of Georgia O’Keeffe, a sculpture of hands by Man Ray, and 10-foot-long copper finger by Chinese artist Zhang Huan, to name a few. Now, Buhl is selling his $19 million apartment. If the new buyer wants some of his artworks, too, Buhl says he’d be willing to let him or her take them off his… hands. (Sorry.) (Wall Street Journal)

Starry Hong Kong Design Conference Is Cancelled – As anti-government protests continue to dominate Hong Kong, the Business of Design Week, a week-long event held at the same convention center that hosts Art Basel Hong Kong, has been cancelled. The significant event was scheduled to take place from December 2 to 7 and host a large delegation of UK designers, including Tom Dixon and Thomas Heatherwick. The Fashion Asia Hong Kong and DFA Awards presentation ceremony has also been called off due to the protests. (SCMP)

Protesters use bricks to barricade near Hong Kong Polytechnic University in the Tsim Sha Tsui district on November 18, 2019 in Hong Kong, China. Photo: Billy H.C. Kwok/Getty Images.

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