Art Industry News: President-Elect Joe Biden Thanks America With a Stirring Video Inspired by Artist Lorraine O’Grady + Other Stories

Plus, Dutch museums team up to launch a Van Gogh database and Germany's answer to John Oliver targets one of the country's top collectors.

Screen shot from Joe Biden's victory video via Instagram.

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 9.


Robert Indiana Estate Dispute Heads Toward Settlement – The estate of Robert Indiana and the late artist’s longtime representative may be on the road to settling their years-long legal dispute. Judges were asked to pause proceedings so that the two parties can work out a settlement over Indiana’s art and legacy. The case has cost over $8 million in legal fees and has been ongoing since the artist’s death in 2018. James Brannan, the attorney representing the estate, said it could be “a great ending to this whole mess.” (Portland Press Herald)

Germany’s John Oliver Calls Out Julia Stoschek – The satirical news anchor Jan Böhmermann, Germany’s most notorious comedian in the genre, highlighted the dubious origins of art collector Julia Stoschek’s wealth in a recent episode. The collector’s great-grandfather, Max Brose, was a Nazi Party member who made money as a manufacturer during the war and is alleged to have employed forced labor. Böhmermann then needled Stoschek, the billionaire new-media art collector, for her recent complaints about a rent increase at her private museum in Berlin. (BR24)

Uffizi Director Tests Positive for COVID-19 – The head of Italy’s famous museum announced at a virtual staff meeting that he has tested positive for COVID-19, though he is not showing symptoms. He will continue to work from home as the museum remains closed due to the latest nationwide lockdown. (Press statement)

Dutch Museums Launch Van Gogh Database – As the Netherlands begins its second lockdown, the Van Gogh Museum, the Kröller-Müller Museum, the RKD—Netherlands Institute for Art History, and the Cultural Heritage Laboratory of the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands have banded together to create a database dedicated to the work of Vincent van Gogh. Van Gogh Worldwide contains details about provenance, archival materials, and other historical records on some 1,000 paintings and works on paper by the artist. (ARTnews)


South Korea Opens IRL Fair – Fairs are getting cancelled across the globe, but at least one in-person event is moving ahead: Art Busan & Design opened its doors over the weekend at the Busan Exhibition and Convention Center with temperature checks and timed entry. The rare IRL event was attended by 60 exhibitors including Lehmann Maupin, Gladstone, and Thaddaeus Ropac. (ARTnews)

Zien Drops Prints by Eva Beresin on WhatsApp – The art-collecting platform Zien, which sells work over WhatsApp, has announced its third drop, which includes a series of digital paintings curated by Artnet News’s own Kenny Schachter and Vienna-based artist Eva Beresin. It releases on November 12. (Press release)


Curator Joseph Rishel Dies at 88 – The longtime curator of European art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Joseph J. Rishel, has died at 80 from complications from Parkinson’s disease. Rishel had been a curator at the museum since 1971, working alongside his wife, Anne d’Harnoncourt, who was curator of 20th century art and then director of the museum until her death in 2008. (Philadelphia Inquirer)

Mississippi Voters Ditch Confederate Flag Design – Voters in Mississippi have approved a new design for their state flag, voting in favor of getting rid of the Confederate battle flag in favor of a magnolia, the state flower, by 71 percent. The redesigned flag, called “The New Magnolia,” presents the flower surrounded by 20 stars with the phrase “In God We Trust.” (The Art Newspaper)


The Onion Pokes Fun at Ai Weiwei – The Onion has set its sights on the art world with its (surprisingly niche?) latest headline: “Ai Weiwei’s Niece Annoyed He Tried To Pass Off Another Used Bicycle Sculpture as Birthday Present.” Has nobody told her about how many functioning bicycles she could buy by selling an Ai Weiwei installation on the secondary market? (The Onion)

George Condo on His New Work – George Condo has been busy during lockdown. The artist’s new exhibition at Hauser & Wirth in New York, “Internal Riot,” includes 18 paintings he made in 2020. Condo describes the show as a window into “the divisive inequality” of America. “People are torn apart in and of themselves, barely human at times,” he said. “You can see a person trying to break free from a structure and become whole again.” (Guardian)

Biden Campaign Takes Inspiration from Lorraine O’Grady – A unifying message sent out by Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’s campaign takes inspiration from the artist Lorraine O’Grady’s series “Art Is…” (1983/2009). O’Grady first took to the streets of Harlem with an ornate gold frame in a 1983 performance for New York’s African American Day Parade, and the Biden campaign’s video reprises a similar frame to capture citizens across America. The campaign reached out to O’Grady’s gallery Alexander Gray Associates ahead of making the video to ask permission, and the artist says of the final product: “I gave to them and they gave to me.” (Press release)


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Lorraine O’Grady’s “Art Is … ” (1983/2009) serves as the inspiration for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’ unifying message after winning the United States presidential election. Deploying ornate gold frames that pay tribute to O’Grady’s joyful 1983 performance, which took place in Harlem during New York’s African American Day Parade, the Biden campaign’s video frames citizens and landscapes of the United States. Like the artist’s earlier performance, the video focuses on individual Americans, uniting their experiences through the shared device of the frame. O’Grady has written that “Art Is … ” was “undertaken in a spirit of elation which carried over on the day;” this elation is echoed in Biden’s video, which celebrates the indomitable freedom of expression. In an indication of their commitment to this principle, the Biden campaign reached out to the artist and the Gallery before creating the video. Watching the final piece, O’Grady concludes, “I gave to them and they gave to me.” Find a link to the Biden campaign video in our Instagram story. — Still from Biden campaign video and Lorraine O’Grady, “Art Is … ” , 1983/2009, c-print in 40 parts, 16 x 20 in (40.64 x 50.8 cm), edition of 8 plus 1 AP. Courtesy Alexander Gray Associates, New York, © Lorraine O’Grady/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York — #LorraineOGrady #Artist #PerformanceArt #AfricanAmericanDayParade #1980s #Harlem #NewYorkCity #Performance

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