Art Industry News: Lin-Manuel Miranda Is Digitizing Art From Puerto Rico Museums in Anticipation of Future Hurricanes + Other Stories

Plus, the fate of Damien Hirst's Vegas sculptures remains unknown and Wall Street's charging bull is being moved.

Lin-Manuel Miranda. Photo by Kevin Winter/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 8.


The Met Costume Institute Announces 2020 Theme – The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute has announced the next theme for its 150th anniversary: “About Time: Fashion and Duration.” The show will be a “reimagining of fashion history that’s fragmented, discontinuous, and heterogenous,” according to curator Andrew Bolton. Speaking to Vogue, Bolton explained that he was inspired by the film Orlando, based on Virginia Woolf’s novel of the same name and featuring Tilda Swinton, who travels through a maze with her couture changing through time as she wanders. Woolf will also serve as a “ghost narrator” in much the same way that Susan Sontag’s quotes from Notes on Camp led viewers through the 2019 exhibition. (Vogue

Damien Hirst’s Sculptures Left High and Dry in Vegas – Hirst’s sculptures in a Las Vegas poolside club have been left stranded. The Vegas casino moguls Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta have pulled the plug on the KAOS club, where the works were unveiled in April, as their Palms hotel patrons were not gambling enough. While Hirst’s monumental Demon With a Bowl is staying put, the fate of specially made works is unclear. (ARTnews)

Lin-Manuel Miranda Works to Digitize Puerto Rican Art – The Hamilton creator and star has been an advocate for his native Puerto Rico for years, and now he’s taking another step to bring art to a wider public. Now, Google Arts & Culture, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and Luis Miranda Jr. are partnering with four Puerto Rican art institutions to digitize artwork never before seen online. The impetus was in part the tragedy of Hurricane Maria, as it “reminded us of the urgency of preservation,” according to Carlos R. Ruiz Corteìs, executive director of the Instituto de Cultura PuertorriquenÞa, one of the participating organizations. He added that the technology, which includes the “Art Camera, is more than a piece of technology—it’s a symbol of universal access.” (Press release)

The Sex Toy in Watchmen Is Based on Jeff Koons’s Balloon Sculptures – The creator of Watchmen, Damon Lindelof, has revealed that the giant blue balloon-like dildo that appeared in an episode of the hit new HBO show was inspired by Jeff Koons’s works. The sex toy, which Lindelof calls the “Jeff Koons limited dildo,” is meant to be reminiscent of the hulking blue graphic novel character Doctor Manhattan. (ARTnews)


Sotheby’s New York to Offer a Pair of Vincent van Goghs – The Dutch artist’s Paysan brûlant de mauvaises herbes (1883) and People Strolling in a Park in Paris (1886) are coming to auction November 12 and 13. The former, estimated at $600,000–800,000, was seized by Nazis in 1940 and only was restituted to the heir of Jewish art dealer Jacques Goudstikker this year. People Strolling could fetch up to $7 million. It has been in the collection of the Hahnloser family since 1920, and was recently on view at the Tate Britain, its first public display since 1947. (The Art Newspaper)

Peter Blum to Represent Nicholas Galanin – The Alaska-based artist Nicholas Galanin, whose work often explores his indigenous ancestry, is now represented by Peter Blum. The New York gallery is organizing a solo show of the artist’s work in January 2020. (Press release)

Dealer Says Claims of Aboriginal Artist Exploitation Are False – Responding to allegations made by the APY artist collective that he was exploiting the labor of elder indigenous artists, the Australian dealer John Ioannou has denied the claims and confirmed that police had visited his residence to speak to the artists. (Guardian)

Early Audubon Volume Could Sell for $8 Million An early subscriber’s edition of John James Audubon’s celebrated volume, The Birds of America, goes on sale at Sotheby’s New York on December 18. The “Double Elephant Folio” has an upper estimate of $8 million. (Press release)


Smithsonian African Museum Director Will Lead V&A East The British curator Gus Casely-Hayford is heading back to the UK to become the founding director of the Victoria and Albert Museum’s new outpost in East London. He leaves after two years at the helm of the National Museum of African Art in Washington, DC. (Press release)

Pioneering Curator Sally Dixon Has Died – The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis has announced the death of the pioneering curator Sally Dixon. The 87-year-old curator, who was known as an early champion of avant-garde films and video art in American institutions, died on November 5. (ARTnews)

Eisa Jocson Wins 2019 Hugo Boss Asia Prize – The artist Eisa Jocson has won the $42,800 Hugo Boss Asia Art Award. The Manila-born performance and film artist will have work on view in the finalists exhibition at the Rockbund Art Museum in Shanghai until January 5. (Art Asia Pacific)

Connie Butler Receives Award for Curatorial Excellence – CCS Bard is awarding its Audrey Irmas Award for Curatorial Excellent to the Hammer Museum’s chief curator, Connie Butler. The curator will be given the $25,000 honor by artist Andrea Fraser at a ceremony in April 2020. (Artforum)


Solange Plans a Two-Day Extravaganza at the Getty – The musician and artist Solange Knowles is helping the Getty diversify its public program and reach a younger demographic. She is curating a series of performances, films, and talks next week at the center in Los Angeles. Called “Bridge-s,” the two-day event will explore the theme of “transitions through time.” The program includes a site-specific performance choreographed by Gerard & Kelly, a talk by the philosopher Kodwo Eshun, and screenings of films by various artists. Knowles’s art chops include performances at the Guggenheim in New and Chinati Foundation in Marfa, Texas. Her video installations have been shown at London’s Tate Modern, and she brought her video and dance performance piece, Metatronia, to the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles last year. (TAN

Wall Street’s Charging Bull Is Moving After three decades standing its ground in Lower Manhattan near Wall Street, Arturo Di Modica’s famous statue of an angry bull is moving. The artist is upset at the decision by city officials to relocate the bronze sculpture away from Bowling Green to a new site that has not been announced. NBC reported that it could be near the Stock Exchange. A spokeswoman for the mayor’s office said Charging Bull had to move “for the safety of New Yorkers.” (CNN)

A New Museum Is Coming to Washington – The long-awaited Planet Word Museum will open on May 31, 2020, in the historic 13th Street Franklin School in Washington, DC, a site where Alexander Graham Bell tested his “photophone” in 1880. Described as a “language arts museum,” the institution will incorporate voice-activated technology that its founder Ann Friedman describes as intended to celebrate language, which she describes as a “human superpower.” (Washingtonian)

People Are Confusing Keanu Reeves’s Artist Girlfriend With Helen Mirren – When Keanu Reeves stepped onto the red carpet hand-in-hand with a statuesque, silver-haired woman at the LACMA Art + Film Gala, apparently some viewers thought at first glance it was Dame Helen Mirren. In fact, as the more eagle-eyed sleuths among us noted, it was Alexandra Grant, the LA-based artist who Reeves has worked with for more than a decade, and who has her own impressive list of arty credentials. When asked about the mistaken identity claims at a premiere for her film The Good Liar, Mirren graciously responded that it “was very flattering on me, you know, because she’s obviously lovely,” but alas, Mirren is happily married. (Vulture)

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