Art Industry News: Native American Activists Accuse the Met of Mixing Up Funeral Objects and Art + Other Stories

Plus, the Centre Pompidou is accused of showing stolen art and Egypt is calling for the return of the Rosetta Stone from the British Museum.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Photo courtesy of the Met.

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 Wednesday, November 7.


Centre Pompidou Accused of Showing Stolen Malevich – The Kremlin Museum in the Russian city of Rostov is launching a criminal investigation into the theft of artist Kazimir Malevich’s 1913 painting Samovar. The work is currently on display at the Pompidou Center in Paris as part of the exhibition “Cubism,” which opened on October 17. (Journal des Arts)

Egypt Calls for Return of the Rosetta Stone – The director of Egypt’s national museum, Dr. Tarek Tawfik, says that the Rosetta Stone should be repatriated to Egypt from the British Museum and replaced there with a VR replica. The prized object from 196 BC was the key to decoding hieroglyphics and has been on display in London for two centuries, since it was discovered by Napoleon’s army in the 18th century. The British Museum has not, however, received an official request for its repatriation. (Evening Standard)

The Met Upsets Native American Groups – A Native American activist group has called out the museum for exhibiting tribal objects as art in the exhibition “Art of Native America.” Advocates from the Association on American Indian Affairs say the museum did not consult the affected tribes to understand the context of the indigenous objects, many of which are ceremonial or funerary in nature. They say they “belong with their original communities and could only have ended up in a private collection through trafficking and looting,” adding that the museum’s “first mistake was to call these objects art.” The Met counters that it worked with a panel of tribal advisors on the project. (The Art Newspaper)

Manhattan Art Consultant Avoids Prison – A Manhattan judge sentenced former art consultant Lacy Doyle to four years’ probation with eight months of house arrest. Doyle concealed more than $3.7 million from her late father’s estate in Swiss bank accounts, but has avoided prison time for tax evasion. (Bloomberg)


Tobias Meyer Sells Andy Warhol at Phillips – The art adviser, former Sotheby’s rainmaker, and Warhol expert has been identified as the anonymous seller of the Pop artist’s 6-foot-by-7.5-foot painting, Gun, at Phillips on November 15. Dating from the early 1980s, the work carries an estimate of between $7 million and $10 million, making it the priciest Warhol to hit the block this season in New York. (Bloomberg)

Artists to Watch in the Fall Sales – Key markets to watch include those of Edward Hopper, David Hockney, and Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, whose Artillery Men (1915) could enjoy a boost after being restituted to its Jewish heirs from the Guggenheim Museum. The results for Jacob Lawrence, Alberto Burri, and KAWS will also provide a good litmus test for the selling environment in the year to come. For more on next week’s sales, see our own preview. (Wall Street Journal, artnet News)

Regen Projects to Represent Kader Attia – The French-Algerian artist has joined the roster of Los Angeles’s Regen Projects. The Berlin-based artist has a solo exhibition opening in February at London’s Hayward Gallery and will have his first solo show at the LA gallery in 2020. (ARTnews)


J. Tomilson Hill Prepares to Open His Museum – Tom and his wife Janine Hill are preparing to open their 6,400-square-foot space, the Hill Foundation, in Chelsea in early 2019. Overlooking the High Line, the private gallery will debut with 21 paintings by Christopher Wool culled from the collectors’ trove of more than 400 artworks valued at over $800 million. (ARTnews)

Winner of $50,000 Burke Prize Announced – Ceramic artist Cannupa Hanska Luger has won the Museum of Art and Design’s inaugural prize for an emerging artist charting new territory in contemporary craft. The New Mexico-born artist will receive an award of $50,000. (NYT)

Winnipeg Art Gallery Seeks Inuit Curators – The Canadian gallery is seeking a manager of Indigenous initiatives and an assistant curator of Inuit art ahead of the opening of its Inuit Art Centre in 2020. (Art Daily)


Vatican Mulls Capping Museum Visitors – The museum’s tour guides say that around 10 visitors faint every day, while others suffer panic attacks, in the mile-long hall as they wait to enter the Sistine Chapel. The Vatican Museums’ director says the institution is working to restrict the number of tours, which can swell to around 30,000 people per day, as well as to install air conditioning.  (Guardian)

Mark Bradford and Princess Eugenie Hang Out on Hirshhorn Red Carpet – The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden had some well-heeled celebrities step across its red carpet in New York for its annual fundraising gala on Monday, which celebrated creative couples. Swiss gallerists Iwan and Manuela Wirth, artists John Currin and Rachel Feinstein, and Princess Eugenie of York were among the evening’s guests. (Vogue)

Sophie Calle Creates a Postage Stamp – The French artist has created a postage stamp, released in circulation on October 17, that references her work for the French Pavilion at the 2007 Venice Biennale. From the project, titled “Take Care of Yourself,” Calle has selected a photograph of a woman reading a break-up letter from an ex-lover. (Journal des Arts)

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