Art Industry News: The Museum of London Wants to Collect Your Covid-19 Dreams (Yes, You Read That Right) + Other Stories

Plus, the Museum of the Bible restitutes a precious, looted artifact and Art Basel's miniature fair opens in Hong Kong.

Sleep (sleeping woman and child) (1872) by Lecadre Alphonse. Photo: Christophel Fine Art/Universal Images Group via Getty Images.
Sleep (sleeping woman and child) (1872) by Lecadre Alphonse. Photo: Christophel Fine Art/Universal Images Group 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 Friday, November 27.


How New Regulations Will Impact the Art Market – New regulations on the art market and money laundering controls in the US, the UK, and the European Union will likely have little impact on the art market as a whole. It will pose the biggest challenge to smaller dealers as big galleries and auction houses will have infrastructures ready to conform to the updated rules. (TAN)

It’s Confirmed—German Museums Will Stay Closed – Cultural venues must remain closed until at least December 20, as German states voted this week to extend and tighten the current lockdown. That means that museums, theaters, and cinemas will remain closed. Commercial art galleries, deemed retail spaces, have been exempt from the lockdown, which began on November 1. Some museums have come up with novel ideas, including offering up their empty galleries to cramped schools that are battling rising infections. (Monopol)

The Museum of London Is Collecting People’s Covid Dreams – For an upcoming project, called “Guardians of Sleep,” curators are asking for volunteers to share their dreams, stretching the museum’s notion of what constitutes an item in the collection. Research shows that people are having more vivid dreams during the pandemic. “Life is a little bit more dull in the lockdown and there is this juxtaposition with dream life where we create something more exciting,” curator Foteini Aravani says. (Evening Standard)

How East Germany Seized Cultural Property – Nazi- and Colonial-era loot is not the only stolen property in German museums, as it has been uncovered that the former East German state also confiscated cultural assets from private citizens in 1962 in order to accrue foreign currency for the German Democratic Republic. New provenance research is now being conducted into the Stasi’s “Aktion Licht” mission, during which it raided storage lockers, safes, as well as private homes, museums, and churches, and raised tax on artwork so much that it forced owners to relinquish their property to the state. (DW)


Hong Kong Spotlight Opens – Art Basel’s 22-booth art fair spotlighting Hong Kong opened this week, featuring galleries Lehmann Maupin and Axel Vervoordt, among others. The in-person event was well-attended and dealers reported “healthy interest” from collectors. (South China Morning Post)

Tamara de Lempicka Work Will Hit the Block in Poland  Warsaw auction house DESA Unicum will feature what may be a cryptic self-portrait by the celebrated Polish painter Tamara de Lempicka in a sale on December 10. The work is estimated at over $1.5 million. (Press release)


Dutch Restitution Committee Chair Resigns – Alfred Hammerstein is stepping down as chairman of the Dutch Restitutions Committee ahead of the publishing of a government report evaluating the committee’s policy on the restitution of Nazi-looted art. Hammerstein has not stated the reason for his departure, but it comes amid international criticism of the committee’s recent recommendations, which included considering how important a stolen painting was to a museum when decided whether to return it to its rightful owners. (NRC)

Museum of the Bible Returns Looted Gospels – The Museum of the Bible will return a rare hand-written gospel dating from the 10th to 11th century to Greece. The museum offered to return the Eikosiphoinissa Manuscript 220 after it found out it was looted from a monastery during World War I during a wider investigation into the provenance of the objects its collection. (TAN)


Louvre Fundraiser Offers Some Irresistible Perks – The Louvre is holding an online charity auction in collaboration with Christie’s and Drouot’s from December 1 through 15 to raise money for its education and social outreach programs. Up for bid will be a Pierre Soulages work, as well as unique experiences such as getting up close and personal with the Mona Lisa as conservators conduct the annual examination of the work, or visiting the museum at night. (TAN)

Henry Moore’s Large Two Forms Returns to Yorkshire – Henry Moore’s monumental bronze Two Large Forms has been installed at Yorkshire Sculpture Park. The work is on view as part of the park’s open air display of large-scale sculptures by the artist. (Press release)

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