Art Industry News: Pace Promises to Never, Ever Sell a Jeff Koons Sculpture Before It’s Actually Done + Other Stories

Plus, a top New York architect says the Hermitage ghosted him, and yet another art fair gets cancelled.

Jeff Koons poses during the press preview of his exhibition “Lost in America” on November 20, 2021, at Qatar Museums. Photo: Cindy Ord/Getty Images for Qatar Museums.

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 30.


Critics Blast New Notre Dame Plans as “Politically Correct Disneyland” – On December 9, church authorities will unveil new plans for the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, which was badly burnt in a fire in 2019. Updates include projections of Biblical quotes in multiple languages and art installations in place of its former 19th-century confessionals. Softer lighting and more comfortable chairs are also included in the revamp. Britain’s right-leaning Spectator called it a “politically correct Disneyland,” but the church says the aim is to welcome those who “who are not always from a Christian culture.” (France24)

Barcelona Locals Are Annoyed About Sagrada Família Plans – A gigantic 12-pointed star that was installed this week atop one of the main towers of the basilica of Antoni Gaudí’s masterpiece, the Sagrada Família in Barcelona, has locals steamed. Residents have been complaining for years about over-tourism to the area, which saw 60,000 visitors a day in pre-pandemic times. They are even more worried about another plan to build a huge stairway leading to the basilica’s unfinished main entrance (the building has been under construction for 139 years). If realized, it would require relocating about 1,000 families and businesses and demolishing several city blocks. (Guardian

Can Koons Stage a Market Komeback? – Outside of a few headline prices at auction, Jeff Koons’s market has flatlined in recent years amid concerns about oversupply and delays in production. Now, his new gallery, Pace, says it will no longer sell sculptures by the artist that have not yet been completed—a policy that led to a bevy of lawsuits against Koons and his previous galleries. Intrigued? There’s never been a better time to get the full story: subscribe to Artnet News Pro this week for a 20 percent discount. (Artnet News Pro)

Hermitage “Ghosts” Top New York Architect – Hani Rashid says he was “unceremoniously” dropped from designing a contemporary outpost of the State Hermitage Museum in Moscow. “We received all of the necessary approvals for this project but we stopped hearing news from Moscow about a year ago, just when we were ready to pour the concrete,” he said. He says he was shocked when, on October 6, he learned that a local builder, Moscow-based Speech architects, had been selected for the project instead. Mikhail Piotrovsky, the museum’s director, said the Hermitage did not sign off on a change in architect, but that Rashid’s contract had expired. He added that the architect’s plan was “too expensive” and “too difficult to execute” for the investor, LSR, a St Petersburg real estate developer. (The Art Newspaper)


BRAFA Cancels Its 2022 Edition – BRAFA has called off its upcoming edition, which was scheduled to take place January 23 to 30, 2022, at Tour & Taxis in Brussels due to restrictions and border closings stemming from Covid-19. (BX1)

An Artist Allegedly Faked Being Native American to Hock Artworks – Washington-based artist Lewis Anthony Rath allegedly pretended to be a member of the San Carlos Apache Tribe when selling totem poles and other crafts, according to federal investigators. An extensive inquiry has uncovered that Rath is in violation of four counts of misrepresentation of Indian produced goods and products, one count of unlawful possession of golden eagle parts, and one count of unlawful possession of migratory bird arts. The artist has admitted to the wrongdoing. (ARTnews)

Kapwani Kiwanga Wins Zurich Art Prize – French-Canadian artist Kapwani Kiwanga has won the 2022 Zurich Art Prize, which comes with a purse of 100,000 Swiss francs ($108,919), including 80,000 francs ($87,128) for a solo exhibition. The Canadian artist will have a show at the awarding institution, Museum Haus Konstruktiv, in October 2022. (Monopol)

The Uffizi Is Sending Works to China’s Bund One Museum – Florence’s Uffizi Gallery has struck an agreement with the Bund One Art Museum that will see ten exhibitions in Shanghai over the next five years featuring works from the Italian museum. The Italy-China Year of Culture and Tourism begins in 2022 with “Botticelli and the Renaissance.” (Press release)


Vibrant Murals Transform Empty Walls in Tbilisi – The Tbilisi Mural Fest is now on view, taking over blank facades on buildings throughout the Georgian capital. The festival includes nine works, including a black-and-white stencil by MonkeyBird and a trompe-l’œil by 1010. (Colossal)

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