Art Industry News: Christie’s Fast-Rising NFT Whisperer Tells the Guardian He Views Beeple as ‘Kind of My Jesus’ + Other Stories

Plus, Credit Suisse changes its tune on why it deactivated Ai Weiwei's bank account, and Tate curator Achim Borchardt-Hume has died.

It's Beeple! He's also known as Mike Winkelmann. Photo: Katya Kazakina.

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 Monday, November 8.


Tate Curator Achim Borchardt-Hume Has Died – The inventive and rigorous curator served as director of exhibitions at Tate Modern since 2012, where he organized shows of work by artists including Robert Rauschenberg, Mark Rothko, Auguste Rodin, and Doris Salcedo. He also organized the museum’s current (and critically acclaimed) Turbine Hall installation by Anicka Yi. No cause of death was shared by the institution.  (Artforum)

Humboldt Forum to Remove Medallion Honoring Far-Right Donor – The Humboldt Forum will “immediately” remove a medallion honoring the late donor Ehrhardt Bödecker at the request of Bödecker’s family after his “militaristic, anti-democratic and in some respects, radically right-wing and antisemitic” views came to light. The medallions hanging in the splashy new museum complex honors donors who contributed more than €1 million to the construction. (The Art Newspaper)

How NFTs Have Changed Lives – In a wild romp of an article, the Guardian explores how NFTs have transformed the lives of everyone from newly rich teens to Paris Hilton. (“It’s actually a lot simpler than you think,” said Hilton, who has delved headfirst into the new space.) But few figures have seen their lives change as dramatically as Noah Davis, the Christie’s executive who organized the $69 million sale of Beeple’s Everydays. “I look at life as pre-Beeple and post-Beeple—like the world thinks about before Jesus Christ and after,” Davis said. “Beeple is kind of my Jesus.” (Guardian)

Credit Suisse Responds to Ai Weiwei – Credit Suisse has revised its explanation for why it terminated Ai Weiwei’s bank account this spring, an experience the artist chronicled in an op-ed for Artnet News. While the bank told Ai at the time that it was because he had been convicted of crimes (an explanation the artist interpreted as a pretense for its broader strategy to win business in China), it says now that it eliminated the account because Ai did not provide the proper paperwork “despite repeated requests from the bank.” (Reuters)


Former K-Pop Star Unveils His Art – Henry Lau, who left the boy band Super Junior M for a solo career as a singer and actor, is now working to make his name as a fine artist. His colorful pendulum paintings are on view at Arx gallery in Knightsbridge—though he only got to see the show via video chat since he is unable to travel. (BBC)

Experts Urge G20 to Tackle Illicit Antiquities Trade – An international coalition of experts has released a new report detailing nine steps the G20 should take in order to crack down on the trade of illicit antiquities. The recommendations for strengthening global policy include creating a roadmap to tackle the problem on a national and international level and identifying and strengthening weak links. (Press release)

LACMA Holds Art + Film Gala – Celebrities flocked to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s 10th Art + Film Gala, which honored artists Amy Sherald and Kehinde Wiley, whose presidential portraits are on view at the museum. Hosted by Leonardo DiCaprio, guests included Miley Cyrus, Lil Nas X, Paris Hilton, and Phoebe Bridgers. (Variety)

Rashid Johnson Donates Work for ClientEarth – The artist’s Bruise Painting “Or Down You Fall” (2021) will be sold at Christie’s New York on November 9 to benefit the charity ClientEarth. The donation is part of a broader initiative to raise funds to fight climate change organized by the Gallery Climate Coalition. (Press release)


U.K. Places Export Bar on Sargent Painting – The U.K. department for digital, culture, media, and sport has placed a temporary export bar on a John Singer Sargent portrait in order to buy time for a U.K. public gallery or institution to acquire the work. The Earl of Dalhousie (1900) is estimated to be worth more than £7.5 million; its export license has now been deferred until March 3, 2022. (Press release)

U.K. Museums Go Green for Climate Fight – A group of cultural institutions across the U.K. turned their lights green on November 5 to make a statement about climate change as the United Nations met for the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow. Institutions going green included London’s Royal Society of Sculptors and the Natural History Museum. (Press release)

HMS Belfast, London ©Imperial War Museums.

HMS Belfast, London ©Imperial War Museums.

Natural History Museum London. ©Trustees of the Natural History Museum. Photo by Aimee McArdle.

Natural History Museum London. ©Trustees of the Natural History Museum. Photo by Aimee McArdle.

Royal Society of Sculptors, London.

Follow Artnet News on Facebook:

Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.