Art Industry News: Historic Churches in Naples Are at Risk of Being Swallowed Up by Actual Sinkholes + Other Stories

Plus, folk star Joan Baez is a portrait painter now and White Cube is planning a show inspired by "Rear Window."

A view from the top of the chapel of Sansevero, with the sculpture of the veiled Christ lying in the middle. (Photo by Marco Cantile/LightRocket 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 6.


Inside the Art World’s Love Affair With the Occult – Ten years ago, art about spirituality and mysticism would get you “laughed out of the gallery,” said artist Harminder Judge. Today, however, the art world can’t get enough, with recent hit shows including the Camden Arts Centre’s “The Botanical Mind” and an exhibition about Tantra at the British Museum. Hettie Judah writes that this serious engagement with the occult could be a response to the fear and anxiety of the current moment. “Rather than the hipster witchery of a few years ago,” Judah writes, “this new spirituality is rooted in explorations of feminism, anti-colonialism, and alternative power structures.” (Guardian)

How Europe’s Culture Sector Is Coping With the New Lockdown – Culture workers across Europe are suffering amid a second wave of lockdowns that have been introduced in countries including England, Germany, France, and Italy. Many arts workers, including a group of 40 German museum directors, are frustrated and afraid of the financial ramifications of a second prolonged closure. The director of London’s Victoria & Albert Museum, Tristram Hunt, says he is feeling “intense frustration” at the loss of exhibitions that could have brightened up November—not to mention the financial pressure and the continual shifting of timetables. (New York Times)

Sinkholes Threaten Churches in Naples – In what may be the most 2020 discovery ever, preservation researchers have found that nine historic churches in Naples, as well as 57 other places of worship, are at risk of being swallowed by sinkholes because of the soft stone that enabled the excavation of the city’s network of subterranean spaces. The experts used map data and satellite imagery to identify the areas where there is a risk of a sudden collapse. A report published in the Journal of Cultural Heritage urges a “quick response” to monitor and check on the stability of the ground. (The Art Newspaper)

Joan Baez Is a Painter Now – The folk singer has thrown herself into visual art since retiring from music last year. Baez’s portraits are often of “nonviolent change and social change” activists, from Bob Dylan to Vice Presidential nominee Kamala Harris. Her portraits—as well as paintings designed to encourage voters to come out for the 2020 presidential elections—will be on view beginning December 30 in a solo exhibition, “Mischief Makers 2,” at Seager/Gray Gallery in Mill Valley, California. “My painting is the best I can do at the moment to try and encourage people towards a possibly better world,” she says. (Rolling Stone)


NADA Announces Participating Galleries – NADA has announced its lineup for the revised NADA Miami, taking place from December 1–5. Ninety-six galleries from 44 cities—including Fragment of Moscow, Bonamatic of Copenhagen, and Bradley Ertaskiran in Montreal—will participate in the program and online. Galleries in Tokyo, Warsaw, Riga, Los Angeles, and New York will all host presentations. (Press release)

FNB Art Joburg Opens – FNB Art Joburg has opened its online fair today, November 6. The South African contemporary art fair will run online through November 18. (Press release)


Virtual Online Museum of Art Opens Early – In light of the UK and other European countries heading into a second lockdown, the artist Stuart Semple has fast-tracked the opening of his Virtual Online Museum of Art. VOMA is now open for visitors to browse exhibitions, including the group show “As We Meet,” installed in 3D inside its fictional museum building, on desktop or mobile phone. (Press release)

Cologne Vies For Heritage Status For Its Jewish Quarter – The city of Cologne has submitted its medieval Jewish quarter for UNESCO World Heritage status. Archeologists have been excavating the site in the center of its old town, which includes ruins of a hospital, bakery, and synagogue, since 2007, and will soon build a museum there. (Monopol)


How Times Square Became a Hub for Resistance Art – Artists have been taking over billboards and spaces in Times Square during lockdown. Empty of tourists, the site has attracted a slew of protest artworks, artistic parades, and performances. From a painting in tribute to George Floyd to quotes from the Dalai Lama, civic engagement and artistic expression have filled the typically packed tourist center. (Guardian)

Alison Saar Prepares for Her Biggest Show Yet – The sculptor Alison Saar is channeling her outrage into art. She will open her biggest museum survey yet at the Armory Center for the Arts in Pasadena and the Benton Museum, filled with bronze sculptures of strong Black women from Harriet Tubman to the Yoruba goddess Yemoja. (NYT)

White Cube Plans Show Inspired by Hitchcock’s Rear Window – White Cube is organizing an online exhibition inspired by filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock’s 1954 thriller Rear Window, which feels particularly timely when many of us are stuck inside our own apartments. With works by artists including Gillian Carnegie, Julie Curtiss, and Carrie Mae Weems, the exhibition will invite visitors to “consider how artists construct scenes and suggest narratives, whilst exploring the idea of ‘the gaze.’” It runs from November 13 to January 19. (Press release)


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Coming Soon: #RearWindow at White Cube Online (13 November 2020 – 19 January 2021) White Cube is pleased to announce ‘Rear Window’, an online group exhibition inspired by #AlfredHitchcock’s 1954 film about the seductions and dangers of looking. Featuring paintings and photographs by #EllenAltfest, #JeffBurton, #GillianCarnegie, #JulieCurtiss, #JudithEisler, #CeliaHempton, #DanicaLundy, #PaulMpagiSepuya, #LaurieSimmons, #JeffWall and #CarrieMaeWeems, this exhibition invites us to consider how artists construct scenes and suggest narratives, whilst exploring the idea of ‘the gaze’ which Hitchcock’s film was instrumental in formulating. ? Click the link in our bio to find out more about ‘Rear Window’. Image: Julie Curtiss, ‘The whisperers’, 2020 © the artist. Photo © Prudence Cuming Associates Ltd Courtesy White Cube

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