Art Industry News: Did Banksy Pull Another Bait-and-Switch When It Comes to His Notorious Self-Shredding Artwork? + Other Stories

Plus, Germany takes another step to return Benin Bronzes to Nigeria, and why collectors buy two works in order to give one away.

Banksy's Love is in the Bin (2018) at Sotheby's London on September 3, 2021. (Photo by Tristan Fewings/Getty Images for Sotheby's)

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 Thursday, October 14.


More Than 1,000 Benin Bronzes May Be Returned to Nigeria –  German and Nigerian government officials signed a memorandum today, October 14, agreeing to consider returning more than 1,000 bronzes that were looted from the former kingdom of Benin in 1897. Should the proposal be ratified in December, the works would be returned to Nigeria in 2022. Meanwhile, Tina Brüderlin has been tapped to take over the Ethnological Museum Berlin, which holds the vast majority of the Benin Bronzes in Germany. (MonopolMonopol)

KAWS and Reese’s Puffs… Are Collaborating? – It seems the commercial darling KAWS is moving into a new medium: breakfast cereal. Some devoted fans have spotted a KAWS collaboration with Reese’s Puffs at their local grocery retailer (though it’s also possible this entire thing, which sprung up on Reddit, is a hoax). One unverified link suggests that the VR outlet Acute Art might be involved in the collaboration, which is reportedly dropping November 8. (Colossal)

Questions Arise About Banksy’s Shredded 2006 Painting – As Banky’s shredded art heads to Sotheby’s three years after selling there (and famously self-destructing), questions are arising over when the piece was actually made. According to the original catalogue listing, the painting was “executed in 2006,” but the latest catalogue says only that it was “completed in 2018.” “It is inconceivable to me that a work from 2006 could be adapted to suit the rigors of the shredding stunt of 2018,” says Banksy dealer Robin Barton. An anonymous German consignor, who bought the work for £1 million in 2018, is hoping to get between £4 million and £6 million for it now. (The Art Newspaper)

Why Collectors Buy Two to Give One Away – In times of particularly high demand for work by young artists, a trend tends to resurface: “buy one, gift one.” In other words, collectors have to buy not one but two works and donate the second to a museum (which might not even be of their choosing). The ultra-wealthy don’t seem to mind, according to one dealer: “I think a lot of people with money enjoy being kicked about—it’s like, ‘if you want in to this club, we’re telling you what to do.’” (TAN)


Joan Mitchell Foundation Names Inaugural Fellows – New York’s Joan Mitchell Foundation has announced the inaugural 15 recipients of the organization’s newly established Joan Mitchell Fellowship, an unrestricted grant of $60,000. They include: Salvadoran-born artist Guadalupe Maravilla, Colombian-born María Berrío, and New Mexico-based Rose B. Simpson. (ARTnews)

Swann Holds Record African American Art Sale – The New York City auction house held a record African American art sale last week, raking in $5.1 million across 201 lots, the highest total ever for the category. Top sellers included an abstract painting by Hale Woodruff that went for $665,000 and Elizabeth Catlett’s limestone sculpture Head, which fetched at $485,000, a new auction record for the artist. (Art Market Monitor)

A Major Public Artwork Comes to Barclays Center – Two neon signs by the artist Tavares Strachan are going up at one of Brooklyn’s busiest transit hubs outside Barclays Center, which served as a gathering place for Black Lives Matter demonstrators in 2020. They read: “We belong here” and “You belong here.” (Bloomberg)


Wickerham & Lomax Installation Lands at London’s Edition – Frieze week events are spilling out of Regent’s Park and into boutique hotels. CULTURE’S PANIC ROOM, an immersive, site-specific commission by American artist duo Wickerham & Lomax, is on view at the Soho Edition through October 28. The show, which is free to visit, is an elaborate installation drawing on pop culture, cinema, and queerness. (Press release)

London EDITION presents CULTURE'S PANIC ROOM, an immersive exhibition by the emerging American artist duo Wickerham & Lomax. Photo credit Guy Bell.

London Edition presents CULTURE’S PANIC ROOM, an immersive exhibition by the emerging American artist duo Wickerham & Lomax. Photo credit Guy Bell.

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