Art Industry News: NFT Sales Have Reached a Whopping $3.5 Billion So Far This Year, Per a New Report + Other Stories

Plus, the Centre Pompidou postpones its renovation until after the Paris Olympics, and there's a Richard Hambleton Experience in the works.

Images of CryptoPunks displayed on a digital billboard in Times Square on May 12, 2021 in New York City. Photo by Alexi Rosenfeld/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, October 22.


The Story Behind the “Shadowmans” Popping Up Across New York – During the month of September, some 150 replicas of the late artist Richard Hambleton‘s famous “Shadowman” figures have popped up around Manhattan. They are the work of a 47-year-old Seattle artist who goes only by the name of Nullbureau. But the project was more than just an homage: Nullbureau worked with Andrew Valmorbida, an entrepreneur who bought Hambleton’s copyright at the end of the artist’s life and has big plans to create a “Hambleton Experience” in the vein of the successful Van Gogh attraction. (New York Times)

Centre Pompidou Renovation Postponed – The major renovation of Centre Pompidou in Paris will be postponed to 2024 so that the museum can remain open when the Olympic Games are held in Paris. Originally scheduled to start in 2023, the renovation of the famous building designed by Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers was supposed to be completed by early 2027, in time to mark the institution’s 50th anniversary. (France Bleu)

NFT Sales Hit $3.5 Billion This Year – Sales of NFTs have achieved around $3.5 billion in the first three quarters of the year, according to the Hiscox Online Art Trade Report 2021, produced in partnership with ArtTactic. “Art and NFTs are here to stay,” the report states. But the market remains extremely volatile. While August saw the value of NFT transactions reach $1.8 billion, surpassing their previous high in March, they tumbled by 69 percent in September. (The Art Newspaper)

Roberto Lugo’s Journey From Graffiti to the Met – The ceramicist Roberto Lugo gets the Times profile treatment ahead of the opening of the Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibition “Before Yesterday We Could Fly: An Afrofuturist Period Room,” which features a number of his inventive ceramics. Calling himself a “ghetto potter and activist,” the 40-year-old got his start making graffiti in his teenage years. “When I first started making ceramics, if anybody ever gave me a compliment, my joke was always, ‘Oh, you can go check out my work at the Met,’” he said. (NYT)


NYU Acquires 200 Works by Downtown New York Artists – The Grey Art Gallery at New York University has acquired 200 artworks by downtown New York artists including Jean-Michel Basquiat, Robert Mapplethorpe, Keith Haring, and Donald Baechler. The trove was donated by collecting couple James Cottrell and Joseph Lovett. (Hyperallergic)

Hawai’i Contemporary Names Triennial Artists – Forty-three artists and collectives will be featured in the forthcoming Hawai’i Contemporary triennial, which runs from February 8 to May 8, 2022. Titled Pacific Century – E Ho’omau no Moananuiākea, the show will focus on climate change, history, social activism, and indigenous knowledge about Hawaii in the context of Asia and Oceania. (Artforum)

Stephen Friedman Gallery Represents Hulda Guzmán – The London gallery has signed the Dominican artist, whose work draws on Surrealism, Mexican muralism, and Caribbean folk traditions. Her first show at the gallery will be held in 2022. (ARTnews)

Ford Launches Second Chapter of Global Fellowship Program – The Ford Foundation has announced its second cohort of global fellows, a $50 million program to invest in 240 leaders around the globe over 10 years. This year’s class includes Peruvian artist María Del Pilar Cáceres Cartagena and Brazilian curator Diane Sousa da Silva Lima. (Hyperallergic)


Seoul Museum of Art Announces Winners of Major Art Prize – The Beijing-based video artist Hao Jingban and the Manila-based choreographer Eisa Jocson have been named co-recipients of this year’s SeMA-HANA Media Art Award, presented in conjunction with the 11th Seoul Mediacity Biennale. A five-member international jury said both artists’ works offered valuable insight into the current state of the world. (Press release)

Still shot from Eisa Jocson's Superwoman. Courtesy of the artist and Seoul Museum of Art.

Still shot from Eisa Jocson’s Superwoman. Courtesy of the artist and Seoul Museum of Art.

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