Art Industry News: Careful, Liberals—Donald Trump’s Bad Art Might Be a Trap + Other Stories

Plus, Mickalene Thomas shoots Carrie Mae Weems for T magazine and Clément Cogitore wins the Duchamp Prize.

US President Donald Trump smiles. Photo courtesy of Mandel Ngan/AFP/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 this Tuesday, October 16.


How One Friendship Changed the Baltimore Museum – Can one relationship change the course of an entire institution? In the case of the Baltimore Museum of Art and its director Chris Bedford’s friendship with artist Mark Bradford, the answer is yes. “People often ask me what models I’m using to create my vision for the BMA,” Bedford says. “I don’t look at what other institutions are doing. I look at what Mark has done in his social practice and try to scale it up to an institutional level.” (Baltimore Sun)

New Hope for Lost Caravaggio Painting – Some 50 years after Caravaggio’s Nativity With San Lorenzo and San Francesco (c.1609) was cut from its frame and stolen from a church in Palermo, Sicily, new information has surfaced that suggests the painting may be held in an unspecified Eastern European city. The work’s theft is number two on the FBI’s list of top 10 unsolved art crimes. This week, the Vatican held a meeting to put the search back in the public eye, stating that the painting has become “a symbol of the fight against the mafia.” (The Local)

Is Trump’s Bad Art a Trap for the Midterms? – Could Trump’s string of bizarre art-related scandals—including, most recently, the revelation that he has hung a print of a painting by a little-known artist depicting him sitting around a table with past Republican presidents—be an elaborate trap to out all the art-world snobs? Kenzie Bryant thinks so. She writes, “He’s doing a thing where he pretends to be gauche and self-obsessed to expose all the snobs right before the midterms, and laughs and laughs.” (Vanity Fair)

Battle Between Photographer and the Warhol Foundation Rages On – Celebrity and fine art photographer Lynn Goldsmith took the Warhol Foundation to court over the artist’s appropriation of her photo of Prince. The foundation has since licensed Warhol’s version, which Goldsmith says interferes with her exclusive copyright to her image. In court on Friday, Goldsmith warned that a decision in favor of Warhol would “give a free pass to appropriation artists,” while the foundation argued that Warhol’s images fall under fair use. This battle isn’t over: stay tuned. (The Art Newspaper)


Sotheby’s Brings Lost Islamic Treasure to Auction – The auction house is selling an important piece of İznik pottery, one of the few remaining in private hands, in London on October 24. The rare “Debbane Charger” dates from around 1480 and is one of a set of five large dishes. The rest are all in museums, including the Louvre. This one carries an estimate of £300,000 ($396,315) to £500,000 ($660,525). (Press release)

Perrotin Gets the Profile Treatment – The New York Times profiles the blue-chip gallery owner Emmanuel Perrotin, finding the highly-sociable gallerist to be “one of the savviest showmen on the global commercial art scene.” After dropping out of school at 16, Perrotin networked his way to the top, discovering a handful of emerging artists who would go on to become art-world superstars, including Maurizio Cattelan and Takashi Murakami. (New York Times)

Stolen Antiques Roadshow Painting in Limbo – The Pre-Raphaelite painter Emma Sandys’s Portrait of Mary Emma Jones (1874), which was stolen from its owner shortly after it was featured in the BBC program Antiques Roadshow in 1988, is now on lockdown at Christie’s. The auction house sold it for £62,500 ($82,575) in July, but the painting will only be released when a settlement between all relevant parties is reached. (TAN)


Paul Allen, Microsoft Cofounder and Art Collector, Has Died – The billionaire art collector and Microsoft cofounder has died from cancer at age 65. Allen was a dedicated collector of Old Masters and Impressionist paintings as well as the founder of the Seattle Art Fair and a major booster of his local art scene. His collection includes work by Renoir, Manet, Gauguin, as well as Mark Rothko, Edward Hopper, and Alexander Calder. (ARTnews)

Clément Cogitore Wins the Duchamp Prize – The Paris-based artist and filmmaker will take home the prestigious annual prize, which comes with €35,000 ($40,500). Cogitore’s work on view at the Pompidou’s Prix Marcel Duchamp exhibition features a fictional female character whose identity the artist assembled entirely from photo libraries and promotional images for films. (ARTnews)

Tavares Strachan Wins Frontier Prize – The New York-based, Bahamas-born artist is the recipient of the 2018 Frontier Art Prize, which aims to reward pioneering artists and comes with a $100,000 grant. Strachan has spent the past year working with the World Frontiers Forum’s Convergence Project to collaborate with medical and bio-tech professionals to create art with social impact in Sierra Leone. (ARTnews)

Roald Dahl Museum Reopens After Flood – The museum dedicated to the beloved children book’s author will reopen on October 20, several months after it was forced to close due to flash flooding in May. It is currently hosting life-size statues of his character Matilda Wormwood facing off with US President Donald Trump. (BBC)


A New Grant Program for Immigrant and Refugee Artists – Inaugural participants in Artadia’s new fellowship will receive $2,000 in unrestricted funds. The new program is targeted at immigrant and refugee artists based in Houston, Texas. (Artforum)

Museum Goes on the Hunt for Forgotten Artist – Waddesdon Manor in England is looking for lost works by the British painter Eliot Hodgkin ahead of an exhibition, “Brought to Life: Eliot Hodgkin Rediscovered,” which opens in May 2019. With a campaign called “Have you got a Hodgkin at home?” the manor and Hodgkin’s descendants are asking Brits to look under their beds for missing work by the prolific artist. Hodgkin was created, according to his own fastidious records, around 850 paintings, of which only 550 of which are accounted. (Press release)

Mickalene Thomas Shoots Carrie Mae Weems – The contemporary photographer looks stunning in a new photo shoot by Mickalene Thomas replete with elements of 1970s nostalgia for Weems’ feature in T magazine’s series “The Greats.” In an extensive profile, Weems explains how her path diverged from other female artists who used their bodies to challenge representations of women. Weems had to invent hers out of whole cloth: “The one thing that I did know was that the ways in which women had photographed themselves up until that moment for the most part really didn’t interest me.” (T Magazine)

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