Art Industry News: The Louvre Backpedals on Making Pre-Booking Mandatory for All Ticket Buyers + Other Stories

Plus, Hong Kong's protest art goes viral and US tariffs could hurt print and photography collectors.

Tourists look at the Venus of Milo sculpture at the Louvre museum. Photo: AFP/Loic Venance//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 Monday, October 14.


Protest Art Is Going Viral in Hong Kong – The graphic art inspired by the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong is growing increasingly powerful. It is also being spread with unprecedented speed as protesters circulate images of works of political street art and graphic design online. The most popular artwork channels the aesthetics of popular culture, as well as art history, and much of it features the movement’s heroes—such as the young woman who was shot in the eye by police, and a demonstrator who fell to his death from a building while being arrested. (New York Times)

UK Museums Are Getting a £250 Million Government Boost – After years of funding cuts by the Conservative government, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has promised to inject £250 million ($314 million) over five years into cultural institutions. It is one of many spending pledges made ahead of an expected general election. Critics point out that nearly 1,000 libraries were forced to close between 2010 and 2018, and many regional museums have made staff redundant due to budget cuts. The department for digital, culture, media, and sport, is setting aside £125 million ($157 million) for libraries and museums. (BBC)

The Louvre Makes a U-Turn Over Pre-Booked Tickets – This summer, the Paris museum announced it would make pre-booking obligatory, but it has now rethought that decision. According to a recent statement, pre-booking will be implemented only when it is deemed “necessary,” citing the Paris Olympic Games in 2024 as a potential situation when visitors will need to reserve tickets online. The special measure to control crowds will remain in place for its Leonardo da Vinci blockbuster, which opens on October 24. Last year, the Louvre attracted a record 10.2 million visitors, confirming its status as the most-visited art museum in the world. (Le Figaro)

Jeffrey Epstein Figures In a Legal Battle Over a $200 Million Brancusi – In a new twist to an ongoing $200 million lawsuitJohn H. McFadden is countersuing the New York art collector Stuart Pivar for libel and defamation. McFadden has cited Pivar’s ties to the disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein in his lawsuit. Pivar initially launched the suit against McFadden, accusing him of “stealing” a $100 million Brancusi bust after he reneged on a deal. But McFadden alleges that Pivar sold the sculpture, a cast of Brancusi’s Mademoiselle Pogany II, for well under market value ($100,000) because he was in dire need of cash, and his name was too tarnished by his connections to the late Epstein to attract any buyers. (Philadelphia Inquirer)


US Tariffs Could Hurt Print and Photo Markets in Europe – US collectors of photographs and prints could be hit by new tariffs imposed by the US on a variety of European products. From October 18, the US is imposing a 25 percent import duty on items, including books, photographs, and art lithographs printed within the past 20 years in the UK or Germany. (ARTnews)

New York’s Mid-Season Auctions Rose 12 Percent This Year – New York’s mid-season contemporary art sales at three major auction houses totaled $64 million, almost 12 percent more than last year. Nearly a quarter of the sales volume came from the top ten lots sold, signaling a shift away from the middle market. (Art Market Monitor)

John Richardson’s Manhattan Home Is for Sale – The primary home of the late art historian and Picasso biographer, John Richardson, is going up for sale. The collector’s formerly art-filled seventh-story apartment at 73 Fifth Avenue is on the market for $7.2 million. (NYT)


Italian Painter Ettore Spalletti Has Died – The Italian artist, who is best known for his cool monochrome paintings, has died at 79. Close in spirit to US Minimalist artists, Spalletti was better known in Europe than America. (ARTnews)

Shortlist Announced for Max Mara Art Prize for Women – London’s Whitechapel Gallery, Collezione Maramotti, and Max Mara have announced the five shortlisted artists of the Max Mara Art Prize for Women. They are: Allison Katz, Katie Schwab, Tai Shani, Emma Talbot and Hannah Tuulikki. The winner of the 8th edition will be announced in early 2020. (Art Daily)


A Brooklyn Museum Visitor Dies After a Fall – A New York-based attorney fell to his death after trying to slide down a banister. The accident happened during the monthly “First Saturdays” program at the museum on the weekend. He died of his injuries the next day. (Hyperallergic)

MoMA Rehangs Starry Night Post-Hairgate – MoMA has been proudly sharing behind-the-scenes videos, including conservators at work, ahead of its reopening to the public on Sunday, October 21. Everything is in order for the highly anticipated event. Well, just about everything. Our eagle-eyed, senior business reporter Nate Freeman did find one thing out of place: A white hair, stuck to the surface of Van Gogh’s Starry Night. (Instagram) (artnet News)

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