Art Industry News: A Devilish Scam Has Been Preying on Art-World Egos by Sending Fake Invitations to Participate in Documenta + Other Stories

Plus, the Met appoints its first ever chief diversity officer and the shark from "Jaws" heads to the Academy Museum in LA.

Photo by Patrick Lux/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 Tuesday, November 24.


Is the Gulf Museum Boom Over? – In an effort to reduce their reliance on oil and build more diversified economies, countries in the Arabian Gulf have built a slew of mega-museums over the past decade. Now, the region has realized that culture can’t simply be built from the top down. That’s why it has shifted its focus toward developing initiatives that focus on the production of art, such as Abu Dhabi’s transformation of its Al Mina port area into an arts district or Doha’s M7 arts incubator. Some are still wary, however, of the arts as a vehicle for Saudi Arabia, with its poor track record on human rights, to flex its soft power. (Financial Times)

The Met Names Its First Chief Diversity Officer – The Metropolitan Museum of Art has appointed Lavita McMath Turner to its newly created role of chief diversity officer. At a time when museums across the United States—including the Met—have been subject to criticism from staff about a lack of commitment to confronting injustice, Turner’s hiring is part of a 13-point diversity, equity, and inclusion plan released by the institution. She previously worked at the City University of New York in various roles addressing DEI; before that, she spent six years at the Brooklyn Museum as a government relations officer. (New York Times)

Documenta Hopefuls Receive Fake Invites – It sounds like an extremely niche catfishing scheme: more than two dozen art professionals have received fake emails inviting them to participate in the next documenta, the prestigious quinquennial contemporary art exhibition scheduled to be held in Kassel in 2022. The organization is not aware of who sent the invites, but has added a note on its website asking anyone who has received them to get in touch. “Some recipients have noticed that the invitations are not genuine, but others have not and of course it is a great disappointment to them when they find out,” a documenta spokesperson says. “We feel very sorry about this.” (The Art Newspaper)

See Tracey Emin’s Earliest Work for the First Time – Rarely seen early works by Tracey Emin, including woodcut prints from her days as a student at Maidstone College of Art, will be included in a new book about her career by Guardian critic Jonathan Jones. Before she became known for radical conceptual art like her famous My Bed, Emin was a painter and printmaker inspired by the likes of Käthe Kollwitz and Oskar Kokoschka. The artist has returned to painting in recent years, though she says that in truth, she never stopped—she even considers My Bed to be a kind of painting. “Emin’s real artistic evolution is not from readymades to painting, but from expressionism to abstract expressionism,” Jones concludes. (Guardian)


François Morellet Estate Heads to Hauser & Wirth – The mega-gallery will represent the estate of the postwar European artist, which was previously repped by Lévy Gorvy. The estate will continue to work with Kamel Mennour gallery in Paris. (ARTnews)

Christie’s Organizes Supreme Auction – Christie’s is holding an auction dedicated to the New York streetwear brand Supreme as part of its three-auction series “Latest x Greatest.” The series, which runs through December 15, also includes sales of postwar and contemporary art and editions and works on paper by Takashi Murakami and Yoshitomo Nara. (Press release)

Native-Owned and Focused Gallery Opens in Buffalo – A new gallery focused on Native contemporary art and run by Native owners, K Art, will open on December 11 in Buffalo, New York. Its inaugural exhibition, “More Than A Trace: Native American and First Nations Contemporary Art,” will present work by Native artists from Gina Adams to Marie Watt exploring the experience of being Native today. (ArtFixDaily)


Stedelijk Acquires Work by Russian Dissidents – As it seeks to expand its collection of socially critical art, Amsterdam’s Stedelijk Museum has acquired 15 works by Russian feminist activist Yulia Tsvetkova, who faces up to six years in prison for her body positive drawings, as well as sketches made at a police station by Anna Tereshkina, who was detained in St. Petersburg this June for protesting the imprisonment of two anti-government demonstrators. (The Art Newspaper)

New York Returns Ancient Stele to Egypt – A 2,600-year-old stele has been returned to Egypt by US authorities. The piece was discovered at JFK airport, en route to the city’s TEFAF fair from Paris. It was borne out of the same trafficking network that sold a golden sarcophagus to the Met—both objects are thought to have been looted during the Arab Spring in 2011. (TAN)


Meet the Illustrator From “The Great British Bake Off” – Artist Tom Hovey has made some 3,500 drawings for the beloved TV series—but that does not mean he likes baked goods. In fact, he says he’s more of a “savory kind of guy.” Illustrating all the treats from the shows—and its spin-offs—is a big task; thankfully, he now has some assistants to help him with the creative process. (Guardian)

The JAWS Shark Has Arrived at the Academy Museum – The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, which is due to open in April 2021 in Los Angeles, has acquired a 25-foot prop model of the silver screen shark for its permanent collection. The model for the creature in the 1975 Steven Spielberg film is affectionately nicknamed Bruce. (TAN)


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