Art Industry News: Is Banksy’s New Website a Ploy to Take His Own Skyrocketing Secondary Market In-House? + Other Stories

Plus, more details emerge on the ownership of the mysterious younger Mona Lisa + "scandalous" art dealer Patrick Painter rides again.

A screengrab of Banksy's new ecommerce store.

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 17. 


New York Politicians Spar Over Sculpture – New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio are coming to blows (again) over the proposed funding of a statue depicting Mother Cabrini, the first naturalized American citizen to be canonized and a patron saint of immigrants. Cuomo’s announcement to move forward with the project came on Columbus Day, elating the crowd of Italian-Americans, and arousing the ire of de Blasio, who had previously opted to exclude Cabrini from a round of female statues proposed for the city. Cuomo plans to work with the Brooklyn diocese for funding. (CBS News) (Hyperallergic)

All-Female Jihadist Group Sentenced for Failed Notre Dame Attack – A gang of female jihadists have been convicted of a November 2016 plan to detonate a car bomb outside of the Notre Dame in Paris. Four of the defendants received between 20 and 30 years for various degrees of involvement, including dousing a car with diesel in the middle of the night and trying to set it alight with a cigarette. A fifth member of the cell was sentenced to five years for attempting to hide one of the main defendants. (The Local)

Could Banksy’s New E-Comm Biz Also Become an Art Dealership? – The world-famous street artist left a hint on his new website, Gross Domestic Product, that suggests he could soon be getting into the secondary market, further expanding his satirical art-market empire. A tab at the bottom of his new site leads to an image of a guy standing in the midst of used second-hand Banksy wares. Underneath the image, it states: “Your first choice destination to trade in second-hand work by a third-rate artist.” (TAN)

The Curious Story of the ‘Earlier Mona Lisa’ Becomes Even Curiouser – The so-called “Isleworth Mona Lisa” has been at the heart of a legal dispute over ownership, which runs in parallel to an ongoing debate about whether it was really painted by Leonardo da Vinci or not. While the jury is still out regarding its authenticity, a court hearing this week—in which an opaque Swiss consortium called the Mona Lisa Foundation is being sued by a family that claims it owns 25 percent of the painting—moved the narrative of its mysterious ownership forward. At the highly anticipated hearing on Tuesday, claimant Karen Gilbert said that the foundation “declared in front of the judge that Mona Lisa Inc. in Anguilla was the owner of the painting.” The plot thickens. The Caribbean island is well-known as a tax haven, and the Mona Lisa Foundation neither confirmed or denied Gilbert’s claim. (BBC)


Patrick Painter Rides Again, Opening a New LA Gallery – The journalist Michael Slenske talked to the “notoriously scandalous” LA art dealer who “went from selling acid for the Brotherhood of Eternal Love as a teenager to… representing pioneering L.A. artists including Mike Kelley, Paul McCarthy, and Kenny Scharf,” and who “once drove around town in a Versace Lamborghini dressed like a fourth Beastie Boy with briefcases full of contraband, then went radio silent for years after a spinal surgery, addiction issues, and a mass exodus of his blue chip roster.” Now he’s back, with a new gallery in LA’s Arts District, debuting with a show of work by the painter Jérôme Lagarrigue. (Los Angeles Magazine)

Rudolf Zwirner Helped Invent Art Fairs. Now He Dislikes Them – Artnews’s Sarah Douglas spoke to the 86-year-old dealer, a legendary Cologne gallerist in his time whose now best known as David Zwirner’s dad, about his new autobiography and his role in setting in motion the total art-fair-ication of the art market. (Hans Neuendorf, artnet’s founder, had a hand in that too.) “Art fairs are extremely dangerous and expensive for younger galleries,” he says. “I invented the art fair but now I have to tell galleries: Find another way. Find something to do in your gallery.” His advice for dealers? Go “back to the analogue. Small events. Tell people why you are showing this art, why it’s so important.” (Artnews)

Officials Threaten Funding for UOVO  The Queens-based art storage facility UOVO is in trouble with New York officials for a “campaign of intimidation and misinformation” against employees seeking to unionize. The letter penned by senator Julia Salazar, and signed by a slew of city council members threatens to revoke public funding from UOVO for what the letter says amounts to “aggressive and coercive tactics.” (The Art Newspaper)


Filipino Artist and Activist Carlos Celdran Has Died – Celdran, a performance artist and political activist who famously protested the Filipino Roman Catholic Church’s opposition to a bill seeking to make contraceptives more accessible to the poor, died at age 46 from natural causes. (Artforum)

Arthur Jafa Wins a Major Award  The Monaco-based Prince Pierre Foundation awarded the acclaimed video artist and sculptor the 2019 Prix International d’Art Contemporain (PIAC) honor, which comes with $83,000 to go towards funding for a new work. Jafa earned the award for his poignant 2016 work Love Is the Message, The Message Is Death, a searing depiction of blackness in America.  (Artforum)


Düsseldorf Is Getting a Hilarious Photo-Ready Museum  Instagram-trap fever has come to Germany via the Golden State with the new Cali Dreams Museum, a sprawling spectacle featuring 25 sets designed to look like California landmarks that will change seasonally. Inspired by a trip the founders took to California, the pop-up will cost about $31 for entry, and visitors will be provided with selfie-sticks and battery charging banks. (The Local)

Julian Mayor Lands in Los Angeles  Finally, for your viewing pleasure, THE NEW gallery in Los Angeles, an exhibition space by the contemporary design gallery Twentieth, is presenting an exhibition of works by the London-based designer Julian Mayor. The show, titled “Distortional Rhythm,” presents standing and hanging light sculptures and other works, all made in a variety of finishes. Mayor is known for designing works digitally and then executing them through traditional welding techniques. “The inspiration for this exhibition is all about colors, lines, and reflection,” the artist said in a statement. The show is up through the end of the year. See works from it below. (Press Release)  

Works by London-based artist Julian Mayor. Courtesy of Twentieth.

Works by London-based artist Julian Mayor. Courtesy of Twentieth.

Works by London-based artist Julian Mayor. Courtesy of Twentieth.

Works by London-based artist Julian Mayor. Courtesy of Twentieth.

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