Art Industry News: Carsten Höller’s Trippy New Art App Got Actually Booed at an NFT Conference + Other Stories

Plus, Inuit artist Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory wins Canada's prestigious Sobey Art Award, and a fire devastates Congo’s Gungu Museum.

The party at the Dreamverse NFT event in NYC. Courtesy of Dreamverse and Metapurse.

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 Tuesday, November 9.


People Say They’ve ‘Never Seen’ the Art Market Like This Before – The world’s wealthy emerged from the pandemic with their wallets largely unscathed. An additional 5.2 million people joined the ranks of the world’s 56.1 million millionaires in 2020. Many of them are looking to store cash somewhere—and art has emerged as an appealing option, especially in the U.S. where some are worried President Biden will issue higher taxes on people earning over $10 million a year. “Fear of tax changes is an accelerant, but that’s just one on top of accelerant after accelerant,” noted Josh Baer, the author of the Baer Faxt, an art-market industry newsletter. “I’ve never seen it like this before.” (Wall Street Journal)

A Fire Devastates Congo’s Gungu Museum – A fire destroyed a museum in the Congolese town of Gungu, resulting in the loss of at least 8,000 of artifacts that date back to the 18th century. The National Museum of Gungu, which was burnt to the ground, according to reports, housed one of the Congo’s most important collections. The cause of the blaze is still unclear. (BBC)

Carsten Höller’s NFT Art Got Booed – If there is any audience that would be unsympathetic to a glitchy app, it is likely the one at Dreamverse, an NFT event in New York last week. So when the debut of artist Carsten Höller’s 7.8 (Reduced Reality App) failed to go according to plan, guests were not pleased. While the app was intended to launch simultaneously on all attendees’ phones, many had trouble downloading it, while others failed to launch in unison. The room went quiet before the boos began. (ARTnews)

Sobey Art Award Winner Named – Inuit performance artist Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory has won Canada’s most prestigious art prize, the Sobey Art Award, which comes with a purse of 100,000 Canadian dollars ($80,000). The artist said in a statement that she is proud to be acknowledged at “a time when we recognize that this Canadian soil bears the small bodies of many thousands of Indigenous children.” (ARTnews)


Macron Hosts Ceremony for “New Worlds” Grant Winners – The French president was on hand to award a new French grant to 264 winners. Conceived during lockdown to aid struggling artists, the winners spanning the fields of art, design, and music received various sums from the total purse of €30 million ($34.7 million). (Le Quotidien de l’Art)

John Baldessari’s Former Home Is Up for Sale – If you have $3.9 million, a love of conceptual art, and a thing for built-in bookshelves, you could become the proud owner of the Santa Monica home of the late John Baldessari. The artist lived in the two-story, craftsman-style house for 10 years before moving to Los Angeles. (designboom)

David Prichard Wins Taylor Wessing Prize – The photographer has won this year’s Taylor Wessing Prize (and its £15,000 purse) for his poignant portraits of Australian Indigenous women. The series, called “Tribute to Indigenous Stock Women,” captures women working on cattle stations in northern Queensland. (BBC)

A Rockwell Sells for $4.3 Million – Norman Rockwell’s Home for Thanksgiving (1945) sold at Heritage Auctions to raise funds for the Massachusetts branch of the American Legion Post, a veterans service organization. A local priest had gifted the painting to the group back in 1959. (ARTnews)


Have You Ever Wanted to See the Back of the Night Watch?The famous painting is in the final stages of a thorough research and restoration process known as “Operation Night Watch.” It has now been removed from the wall while researchers do a shearography analysis, using light and sound waves to gather data about the piece. For the first time, visitors can also see the painting from the back. We have to admit we prefer it from the front. (ARTnews)

Rembrandt's <i>The Nightwatch</i> is off the wall undergoing shearography. Courtesy Rijksmuseum.

Rembrandt’s The Nightwatch is off the wall undergoing shearography. Courtesy Rijksmuseum.

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