Art Industry News: After Helping Cause Venice’s Historic Floods, Unstoppable Tourists Are Now Visiting the Floodwater + Other Stories

Plus, David Zwirner plans the first major posthumous survey of Noah Davis and Pussy Riot is back on Instagram.

Fun in a flooded Venetian arcade on November 24, 2019. (Photo by Miguel MEDINA / AFP) (Photo by MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP 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 Tuesday, November 26.


Right-Wing Italian Politician Blasts Satirical Sculpture – The anti-immigrant Italian politician Matteo Salvini is furious about a new sculpture that depicts him shooting two refugees. The Italian artist Salvatore Scuotto has defended his work, which is titled La pacchia è finita! (The Free Ride Is Over). The sculpture shows the politician firing a gun draped with a sign that says, “Game Over.” The artist explains that his satirical work is inspired by video games. “[Salvini’s]  political message is childish, [it is] like a constant Playstation in which we must identify the enemy and bring them down,” Scuotto told Italian media. The politician says the work is “an instigation to hatred and violence, not art.” (The Art Newspaper)

Is Anselm Kiefer Boycotting Art Fairs? – Speaking at the opening of his solo show at White Cube in London, the German artist took aim at the art market, and art fairs in particular. Kiefer told the Guardian’s Sean O’Hagen that global art fairs “destroy” art. The artist has instructed his galleries not to show his work in global art fairs such as Frieze, O’Hagen reports. Kiefer also revealed that he is creating canvases that are even bigger than the 27-foot-tall ones on show (and sale) in London as a form of protest. “Nobody can show them,” he said with a laugh. “I have placed myself outside of the art market because it is all about speculation now.” He rues the loss of collectors who would tell an artist “if they thought a painting was shit.” (Guardian) 

Ick, Venice’s Flooding Is Now a Tourist Attraction – The Italian photojournalist Marco Panzetti, who has been documenting the effects of mass tourism on Venice, knows what it is like to have to wade through smelly flood water. But for may tourists, the calamity is just another attraction,” he says. “[They] don’t realize what a disaster it can be for local people.” Panzetti’s images show what it is like for residents and shop owners when the water is rising and drains back up. “When your house is about to be flooded and you find a tourist taking pictures, it’s very annoying,” he says, so he makes sure his journalist’s badge is always visible. (Slate)

Mexico City Museum Drops Breastfeeding Ban – Women gathered at Mexico City’s Museo de Arte Moderno to breastfeed their babies on Sunday. They were marking the museum’s U-turn and apology after a woman who was breastfeeding was asked to leave by a guard. Following the activist group Normalizing Breastfeeding’s announcement of the planned action, MAM issued a public apology and its director, Natalia Pollak, announced that women could breastfeed anywhere in the museum. (ARTnews


David Zwirner Plans a Noah Davis Show – The Los Angeles artist’s first major posthumous survey will be organized by former MOCA chief curator Helen MolesworthThe show at David Zwirner in New York runs January 16 through February 22. Davis, who died in 2015 at age 32, co-founded the Underground Museum in LA with his wife Karon Davis. The show will also present works by Davis’s family members, including BLKNWS, a video installation by his brother Kahlil Joseph that made waves at this year’s Venice Biennale. (ARTnews)

A Businessman Buys Hitler’s Top Hat for Israel – A Geneva-based, Lebanon-born businessman bought Hitler’s top hat and other Nazi memorabilia at an auction in Munich with the intent to destroy them. Having paid around $660,000 for the items, Abdallah Chatila has now decided to donate them to a Jewish charity based in Israel. The European Jewish Association, which had led the campaign against the auction, applauded Chatila’s actions. (Courthouse News


UK Politicians Promise Arts Funding Bonanza – The UK’s prime minister Boris Johnson launched the Conservative Party’s election manifesto over the weekend, and it includes a plan to invest £250 million ($322 million) in local libraries and museums. Despite the Tory Party’s claim that it will be the “largest” cultural capital program in a century, however, the Labour Party’s manifesto promises four times the amount for culture. (The Art Newspaper)

Public Art Fund Names Four New Board Members – The New York-based nonprofit Public Art Fund has added four new members to its board of directors, including the Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei. Also joining the board: jewelry designer Ellen Celli; art collector Andrea Krantz; and financier Ruthard Murphy. “As we think about the future of art in public space, it is essential that our board leadership reflect all the aspects of our mission,” Public Art Fund’s director Nicholas Baume said in a statement. (TAN)

Influential Arts Editor Dorothy Seiberling Has Died – The longtime arts editor of Life magazine has died at age 97. Seiberling was an art collector and played a significant role in shaping public opinion about the avant-garde artists of the 20th century, including Jackson Pollock and Georgia O’Keeffe, through her work for the magazine. (Art Daily)


Guggenheim Reveals Performing Arts Program – The New York museum has revealed the lineup for the next season of its performing arts series, Works & Process, which begins January 6. It includes a debut cabaret show by singer Anthony Roth Costanzo as well as conversations with the Belgian director Ivo van Hove and the choreographer Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, among other highlights. (New York Times)

Instagram Lifts Shadow Ban on Pussy Riot – Pussy Riot’s Instagram account has been restored to full operational status after a period of confusion during which it is suspected that the punk protest art group was “shadow banned” by the application. A “shadow ban” is the app’s allegedly secret way of blocking content from showing up on people’s feeds unless they already follow you as a way to crack down on users who are not complying with its guidelines. Pussy Riot deleted earlier posts about not being searchable and wrote in a post: “thank you, dear, for all you support and rage; @instagram has contacted us and @wearepussyriot are here with you again, nice and healthy.”

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