Art Industry News: Klaus Biesenbach Shares His Vision for a ‘More Accessible’ MOCA Los Angeles + Other Stories

Klaus Biesenbach. Photo by Casey Kelbaugh

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 Friday, November 9.


Thieves Arrested in Venice Jewel Heist – Croatian police have arrested four suspects in the January theft of bejeweled earrings and a brooch from “Treasures of the Mughals and the Maharajahs,” a loan exhibition at the Doge’s Palace in Venice. The suspects are all Croatians from ages 43 to 60; one of them, according to police, is also sought by Switzerland in a 2011 jewelry heist. The Indian baubles, which may remain at large, were part of a show of Sheikh Hamad bin Abdullah Al Thani’s collection that has previously traveled heistlessly to the Met in New York, London’s V&A, and Grand Palais in Paris. (Courthouse News)

Jenny Holzer to Create a Traveling Show for World AIDS Day – The artist has created a mobile exhibition featuring the words of activists, poets, and artists living with HIV and AIDS. Trucks carrying the LED signs on their sides will travel throughout New York to mark World AIDS Day on December 1. Called “#LightTheFight,” it is the first event by the nonprofit New York City AIDS Memorial Arts and Education Initiative. (New York Times)

Klaus Biesenbach on His Vision for MOCA –  In his first lengthy interview since beginning his new role as MOCA’s director in Los Angeles, the former MoMA PS1 leader says he’s considering implementing free admission and envisions making the museum’s Geffen outpost “more accessible, more porous.” He is also clear on what he doesn’t plan on doing: organizing exhibitions, as his predecessor sometimes did. Biesenbach views his role as purely administrative, and has already taken control of the museum’s somewhat controversial gala. (Los Angeles Times) 

Holland Cotter Gives Warhol a Rave Review  The New York art critic loved Andy Warhol’s first US survey show in decades, which has now opened at the Whitney Museum. He says the show reveals “a figure we seem to have lost track of, and one who young artists today can identify with and treasure: the Warhol for whom art, whatever else it was, was an expression of personal hopes and fears.” (New York Times)


Stephen Hawking’s Wheelchair Sells for $393,000 at Auction – The Cambridge physicist’s motorized wheelchair sold at auction for almost $393,000 at Christie’s. A copy of Hawking’s doctoral thesis went for even more, a total of $767,000, in an online auction. Proceeds from the sale go to the Stephen Hawking Foundation and the Motor Neurone Disease Association. (AP)

Art Dubai Releases Exhibitor List – The fair, which is due to take place in March 2019, has announced a new section called Bawwaba, focused on solo projects presented by galleries from the “Global South,” including the Middle East, Central and South Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Meanwhile, leading international gallery Sprüth Magers is making its Art Dubai debut. (Press release)

Wilmer Wilson IV Gets Twin Representation – Philadelphia-based Wilmer Wilson IV, whose compositions combining prints and staples made him a breakout star of this year’s New Museum Triennial, will now be represented by Susan Inglett Gallery in New York and Connersmith Gallery in Washington, DC. (ARTnews)


Met Names New Deputy Director of Collections – Max Hollein, the new director of the Met, has selected Andrea Bayer as the New York museum’s new deputy director for collections and administration. She replaces Carrie Rebora Barratt, who left earlier this year to lead the New York Botanical Garden. Bayer previously served as interim deputy director; Hollein commended her as an “imaginative exhibition curator.” (Press release)

Shanghai Biennale Releases Artist List – This year’s edition will include 40 artists, slimmed down from the 90 name-strong list in 2016. Titled “​Proregress—Art in an Age of Historical Ambivalence” and organized by Mexican curator Cuauhtémoc Medina, the lineup includes Kader Attia, Michael Rakowitz, and Andrea Fraser, among others. (ARTnews)

Magazzino Establishes Research Center – To mark the opening of its new research center and fellowship program, the Magazzino Italian Art Foundation in upstate New York announced the appointment of its first scholar-in-residence, the Arte Povera expert Francesco Guzzetti. The new fellowship will finance one emerging scholar’s research project in the Italian postwar and contemporary art field each year. (Press release)

University of Texas to Build Barrett Museum – The University of Texas at Dallas will receive the Barrett Collection, a trove of more than 400 Swiss artworks dating from the 14th through the mid-20th centuries assembled over nearly 30 years by Dallas residents Nona and Richard Barrett. It marks the single largest gift of art ever to the school and will eventually be housed in a dedicated museum on campus. (Press release)


Leonardo Drew to Create New Work for Madison Square Park – The Madison Square Park Conservancy has commissioned New York-based artist Leonardo Drew for its next public project, which is slated to open in June 2019. The work, titled City in the Grass, will be a 100-foot-long aluminum structure that slopes up and down across the Park’s oval lawn. (Press release)

Peter Jackson’s WWI Film Is Classified as Unsuitable for Teenagers – Film censors in the UK and New Zealand have decided that Peter Jackson’s colorized version of the 1916 film Battle of the Somme is unsuitable for unaccompanied teenagers. The film, They Shall Not Grow Old, comes out this weekend to mark the centenary of the end of World War I. Jackson’s native New Zealand warns that the film’s “graphic content may disturb.” (Stuff)

Influencer Falls Foul of the Louvre’s Prim Dress Code – An Australian influencer named Newsha Syeh was turned away by security at the Louvre because her outfit was too revealing. She took to social media (via now-expired Instagram stories) to condemn the museum for its “archaic” dress codes. Swimsuits and nudity are not permitted at the Louvre, though Syeh maintains she was wearing a bodysuit. In any event, she ended up going to the Musée d’Orsay instead. (Cosmopolitan)

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