Art Industry News: Tania Bruguera Has Agreed to Leave Cuba in Exchange for the Release of 25 Political Prisoners + Other Stories

Plus, the conceptual artist Billy Apple has died and König Gallery has opened a new branch in Vienna.

Tania Bruguera, courtesy of the Manchester International Festival 19.

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, October 11.


City of London Won’t Remove Slaver Statues After All – The City of London has decided to “retain and explain” several statues of historical figures with links to the slave trade, in particular the monuments to William Beckford and Sir John Cass. It is a reversal from an earlier statement made in January after the city voted to remove the statues. The vote back then clashed with the U.K.’s own decision to protect controversial monuments. (Observer)

Tania Bruguera to Leave Cuba in Exchange for Prisoners’ Freedom – The artist and activist has agreed to leave Cuba, and in return has asked for the release of 25 political prisoners, including artists Hamlet Lavastida and Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara. Bruguera said that it “may be one of the first times in the history of Cuba that an activist negotiates the release of another activist.” (Hyperallergic)

Danish Politicians Demand Minister Bring Back Endangered Pillar of Shame Several Danish political parties have demanded that Jeppe Kofod, Denmark’s minister of foreign affairs, summon China’s ambassador to retrieve the artwork by Jens Galschiøt, which is currently at the University of Hong Kong. The work commemorates the June 4 massacre at Tiananmen in 1984, and the Hong Kong authorities are threatening to destroy the piece if someone does not remove it by October 13. (Politiken) 

Artist Billy Apple Dies – Artist Billy Apple has died in his home in Auckland, New Zealand, at age 85. The groundbreaking Pop art pioneer was known for registering his name as a trademark, and he branded products with it. The conceptual artist even had his genome sequenced so that his extracted cells might have a chance to survive forever. Born Barrie Bates, he came up in New York city in the late 1960s, showing alongside Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns, and Roy Lichtenstein. (New York Times)


NADA Miami Releases Exhibitor List – The fair alliance has named 139 exhibitors that will participate in the 2021 edition of the NADA Miami art fair, which runs from December 1 through 4. Participants include New York’s Calderón Ruiz and Dubai’s Carbon 12. (ARTnews)

Paris Art Fairs Face Major Restructure – Following the merger of RX France and Reed Midem, parent company RX France is merging the teams behind Parisian art fairs Paris Photo and FIAC. The fairs will still keep their distinct identities and timings but they will be overseen by a scaled down team as RX France plans to cut 235 out of 600 jobs in the restructure. (Le Monde)

König Opening in Vienna – After London and Seoul, Berlin’s König Galerie has opened another branch in Vienna. Katharina Abpurg will head up the project—she is a Vienna art market veteran who previously worked for Christine König and Sotheby’s. The first show looks at three decades of female sculpture. (Press release)


Designer Sells a Banksy at Christie’s – Christie’s New York will sell Banksy’s 2005 Sunflowers from Petrol Station from the collection of Sir Paul Smith for an estimated $12,000,000 to $18,000,000. It will highlight Christie’s 21st century art evening sale on Tuesday, 9 November 2021. It is currently on view at Christie’s Hong Kong through October 12. (Evening Standard)

Banksy <i>Sunflowers from Petrol Station</i>. Courtesy Christie's

Banksy Sunflowers from Petrol Station. Courtesy Christie’s

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