Art Industry News: Russian Billionaire Roman Abramovich Makes a Major Donation to Holocaust Galleries + Other Stories

Plus, British doctors are now prescribing art and Jenny Holzer's "So Vote" bus tours around Los Angeles.

Businessman and Chelsea Football Club owner Roman Abramovich in 2011. Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/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 this Tuesday, November 6.


Art Will Be Prescribed by British Doctors – Art, music, dance, and singing lessons will now be prescribed by doctors in the UK to address various ailments, Minister of Health Matt Hancock has pledged. Hancock is also due to announce today a National Academy for Social Prescribing to help train general practitioners and other health professionals in the preventative and therapeutic benefits of cultural activities. (Canadians, meanwhile, have already figured that one out.) (Times)

Tate Britain Announces Star Loans for Van Gogh Show – The National Gallery in London is lending the Tate Britain its prized still life Sunflowers, one of only four versions the artist painted, for the blockbuster show next spring. Other high-profile loans include the artist’s 1889 self-portrait in the collection of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. Tate is anticipating a major hit: When it held a Van Gogh show in the freezing winter of 1947, it was so popular the gallery’s floor had to be repaired. (Guardian)

Roman Abramovich Makes a Big Gift to Holocaust Galleries – The Russian billionaire art collector has made a “generous” donation to London’s Imperial War Museum. The gift of an undisclosed sum will support the museum’s new Holocaust Galleries, a nearly $40 million project scheduled for completion in 2021. Abramovich recently obtained an Israeli passport after problems with his British visa. (The Art Newspaper)

Qing Dynasty “Chicken Cup” Found in an Attic Goes on Sale – An 18th-century Qing Dynasty Imperial Cup, which was forgotten for 30 years packed away in an attic, will be offered at Chiswick Auctions in London on November 12 with an estimate of £5,000–8,000 ($6,538–10,462). Its design is based on the 15th-century “chicken cup,” which Chinese billionaire collector Liu Yiqian bought for $36 million at auction in 2014. (Press release)


1-54 Marrakech Releases Exhibitor List – The contemporary African art fair has announced the 18 galleries that will take part in the second edition of 1:54 in Marrakech in February 2019. Newcomers include Galerie Jérôme Poggi (Paris), Goodman Gallery (Johannesburg and Cape Town), and In Situ – fabienne leclerc (Paris). There will also be a special display focused on the African American painter, jazz musician, and poet Ted Joans. (ARTnews)

Neil Armstrong’s Air and Space Collection Sells for $7.5 Million – The astronaut’s spacecraft ID plate from Apollo 11’s Eagle lunar lander module sold for $468,500 in an auction of his collection, which raised a total of $7.5 million at Heritage Auctions. A fragment from the propeller and a section of the wing from the Wright brothers’ Flyer, the first successful heavier-than-air powered aircraft, each sold for $275,000. (Daily Mail)

Sotheby’s Ink Art Expert Joins Beijing Gallery – After four decades at the auction house, Mee-Seen Loong has joined the Chinese ink art gallery INK Studio, which is based in Beijing. Loong founded Sotheby’s contemporary Chinese ink art department. (Press release)


Shortlist for Deutsche Börse Prize Named – The four nominees for the £30,000 photography prize are Susan Meiselas for her retrospective “Meditations”; Laia Abril for her photo book On Abortion; Arwed Messmer for the exhibition “RAF: No Evidence”; and Mark Ruwedel for “The Artist and Society.” The prizewinner will be announced on May 16 at the Photographers’ Gallery in London. (Guardian)

Meet France’s New Minister of Culture – Franck Riester, the career politician appointed to replace Françoise Nyssen as culture minister, is receiving a frosty reception from some disgruntled French cultural figures. He has been criticized for his interest in “entertainment and mass culture” over the more traditional arts. Only time will tell how he will manage the ministerial role, through which he is inheriting ambitious projects such as the Culture Pass. (Hyperallergic)

A Former Employee of Detroit’s Wright Museum Is Suing for Discrimination – Edward Canaday is suing the African American history museum, alleging he was fired because of his race. Canaday, who says he was the only white man employed by the museum, worked there for eight-and-a-half years before he was unexpectedly terminated on July 13 in what he was told was a “restructuring” of staff. (Detroit News)


Catherine Opie on Her New (and First) Film – The artist’s first film, The Modernist, follows a character who sets Los Angeles’s modernist architectural landmarks on fire to make a statement about sending the 20th century’s utopian ideas up in smoke. The 22-minute work—a slideshow of still photographs accompanied only by the sound of a match being struck—is on view at Lehmann Maupin gallery in New York. (New York Magazine)

The Broad Wants to Train the Next Generation of Art Handlers – The Los Angeles museum is looking to develop the next generation of art handlers and conservators with its new Diversity Apprenticeship Program. The effort aims to bring some much-needed diversity to the field, which is currently 85 percent white and 75 percent male. Nonwhite and female candidates are being recruited for the nine-month apprenticeship, which pays $16 an hour, above California minimum wage. (Wall Street Journal)

Critics Upset by Installation at Historic House – Artists Lucy Stobbard and Harriet Sutcliffe covered up the paintings and sculptures of men at the UK historic house Cragside as part of a project celebrating the women instrumental to its history called “The Great Cragside Cover-Up.” The National Trust, the charity that runs the 19th-century house, is now under fire for the three-week installation, with visitors sending in complaints on social media and leaving negative reviews on TripAdvisor. (Times)

Jenny Holzer’s Vote Bus Arrives at MOCA – Reinterpreting her Anti-Gun Truckthe artist worked with the gun control advocacy organization March For Our Lives to bring her So Vote bus to Los Angeles last week. Messages written by the organization, which was founded after the mass shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, flash on the side of the bus, followed by a message encouraging people to vote. MOCA’s new director Klaus Biesenbach is among those who posted a snap of it to Instagram. (Surface Mag)

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