Art Industry News: One Critic Says Visiting the Mona Lisa Is Less Satisfying Than Flying With a Budget Airline + Other Stories

Plus, German museum directors campaign to create a climate-change task force and how this 71-year-old video art pioneer became a TikTok star.

Crowds strain to catch a glimpse of Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa at the Louvre in Paris. Photo by Max Fercondini, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Crowds strain to catch a glimpse of Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa at the Louvre in Paris. Photo by Max Fercondini, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

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 Thursday, November 7.

NEED-TO-READ 

German Museum Directors Demand a Task Force to Fight Climate Change – Cultural leaders in Germany have teamed up to ask the country’s culture minister to create a central task force dedicated to the unique climate policy challenges facing museums. Signatories of the letter, including Yilmaz Dziewior, director of the Museum Ludwig in Cologne, and Susanne Pfeffer, director of the Museum of Modern Art MMK Frankfurt, want an administrative body to set concrete goals to address issues like air conditioning, lighting, and loan traffic, among other carbon-emitting activities. “Due to their constantly growing collections… museums have specific requirements for construction and operation,” the letter states. “However, most exhibition halls are subject to state administration and thus also depend on the government’s climate policy orientation.” (Monopol)

Bruegel Masterpiece Found Broken in Two – A badly damaged Flemish landscape, which had been overlooked for years in the collection of a UK museum, has now been attributed to the masterful Dutch and Flemish Renaissance painter Bruegel the Elder. It is the latest rediscovery by art historian and broadcaster Bendor Grosvenor and will be officially unveiled on the BBC TV series he hosts, Britain’s Lost Masterpieces. The work, which was broken in two, had languished a drawer for decades until Grosvenor looked closely at the cows in the rural scene. “If there is one artist in particular who loved the back end of a cow, it is Bruegel the Elder,” Grosvenor said. (Daily Telegraph

Should the Louvre Take Down the Mona Lisa? – This just in from the department of controversial opinions: New York Times critic Jason Farago writes that it is high time the Louvre take down its most famous painting. “The Louvre is being held hostage by the Kim Kardashian of 16th-century Italian portraiture,” Farago declares. In a last-ditch effort to manage the crowds (80 percent of the museum’s annual 10 million visitors make a beeline for the work), the Louvre has introduced a single-file line system and limited visitors to one-minute viewings of the painting. But Farago says it doesn’t help. This is a gallery that makes the Spirit Airlines boarding process look like a model of efficiency, and offers about as much visual delight,” he writes. The only solution, according to Farago, is to build a dedicated Mona Lisa Pavilion off-site, which would be better able to accommodate crowds and selfies—while enabling the Louvre to return to the business of being a museum. (New York Times)

Meet the Video Art Pioneer Who Became a TikTok Star – Video artist and retired professor Cecelia Condit has work in the collection of New York’s Museum of Modern Art. But at 71, she’s finding new audiences in an unlikely place: the social media app TikTok, a home for short videos that has around 100 million users worldwide under the age of 30. One of her best-known works, Possibly in Michigan, began getting passed around Reddit in 2015 and eventually made its way to TikTok, where it gained popularity among makeup and costume communities that have large followings on the app. “I get so many hits,” Condit said, mystified. (T Magazine)

ART MARKET

Murakami’s Monster Goes on the Block in Hong Kong – A sculpture by Takashi Murakami created in collaboration with Pharrell Williams will be sold at Christie’s Hong Kong this month. The monstrous work riffs on Murakami’s Mr. DOB character and features an open-mouthed, toothy creature who displays bedazzled items Pharrell holds dear, including a Heinz ketchup bottle, a can of Pepsi, and a bag of Doritos. The work was on view at Art Basel in Miami Beach back in 2009, where Emmanuel Perrotin scooped it up for a cool $2 million. Now, it’s estimated to fetch $3.8 million. (Highsnobiety)

Artory Teams Up With an Art Appraiser Artory, the blockchain-based art register, has joined forces with the art advisory and appraisal firm Winston Art Group. Collectors will now be able to upload new works to Artory’s registry anonymously and request certified registration from Winston free of charge, which will provide them with a digital certificate of ownership and the ability to communicate anonymously with the appraiser through an encrypted messaging system. (The Art Newspaper)

COMINGS & GOINGS

The Academy Museum Adds 7 Trustees – The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in Los Angeles has added seven board members to its ranks including Big Little Lies actress Laura Dern; David Rubin, the president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences; and media executive Katherine Oliver. The long-delayed institution is in the midst of a $388 million fundraising effort and now due to open in 2020. (Press release)

Wangechi Mutu’s Met Sculptures Get an Extension – The Kenya-born, New York-based artist will have a presence on the facade of the Metropolitan Museum of Art for longer than initially planned. Her sculptures, installed in the four niches of the Fifth Avenue building, will now remain on view until June 8. (They were initially scheduled to come down January 12.) “I’m someone who really loves to get things going and then react a little bit to the outcome, and the outcome was really extraordinary,” says the museum’s director Max Hollein. (New York Times)

Newark Museum Adds “Art” to Its Title – The Newark Museum has been rechristened the Newark Museum of Art in a bid to attract new visitors and refresh its identity. The name change at New Jersey’s largest and most historic museum was announced on Wednesday, effective immediately. (NYT)

FOR ART’S SAKE

Nicholas Party Is Painting the Walls of a Children’s Hospital – The New York-based nonprofit RxArt has commissioned king of pastels Nicholas Party to paint a 27-foot-long hallway at the Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles. Some 16,000 kids travel down the sparse hallway each year on their way into surgery, and the aim is for the artist’s fantastical landscapes and beautiful colors to brighten the mood. “The hope is to change this challenging walk into one that stimulates imagination in the most positive way,” RxArt founder Diane Brown says. (Observer)

A Closer Look at the Centre Pompidou in Shanghai – The French institution’s newest arm opens to the public in Shanghai tomorrow after a splashy inauguration by French President Emmanuel Macron. Some are expressing concern, however, over China’s ongoing issues with censorship and wondering how the displays will be affected. Take a virtual look around the David Chipperfield-designed institution below. (Press release)

Centre Pompidou x West Bund Museum © Aki / West Bund Museum.

Centre Pompidou x West Bund Museum © Aki / West Bund Museum.

Centre Pompidou x West Bund Museum © Aki / West Bund Museum.


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