Art Industry News: Brilliant Activist Sculptor Simone Leigh Wins the Guggenheim’s $100,000 Hugo Boss Prize + Other Stories

Plus, Sex Pistols artist Jamie Reed calls out Banksy and Jerry Saltz was sickened by the new documentary "The Price of Everything."

Hugo Boss CEO Mark Langer, artist Simone Leigh, and former Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum director Richard Armstrong onstage at the Hugo Boss Prize 2018 Artists Dinner at the Guggenheim Museum. Photo by Andrew Toth/Getty Images for Hugo Boss Prize 2018.

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 Friday, October 19. 


Sex Pistols’s Jamie Reed Calls Out Hirst and Emin – The legendary punk band’s graphic designer Jamie Reid (the one who put a safety pin through an image of the Queen) says Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin are “Thatcher’s children, because they were put into power by Saatchi & Saatchi.” He also snubs Banksy’s “cheap trick” at Sotheby’s last week. (Guardian)

Jenny Holzer on Power – The conceptual artist recalls her first encounters with making art, when she was encouraged to make paintings and sculptures as opposed to embroidering tea towels. Her rise to fame was also marked with pushback from professors who didn’t believe in her, and Holzer was almost kicked out of Rhode Island School of Design before being accepted into the Whitney Independent Study Program, where she was inspired to create her most famous series, “Truisms.” (The Cut)

Simone Leigh Wins Hugo Boss Prize – The Chicago-born, Brooklyn-based artist—whose sculpture arises from an abiding interest in post-colonial history, ethnography, and the position of black women in society—was chosen for her “groundbreaking work as an artist and educator” by an international jury on Thursday evening. Leigh may be best known for her acclaimed Free People’s Medical Clinic, a 2014 piece she did with Creative Time that was inspired by the horrific experience of a 49-year-old woman who died after being ignored in a hospital where she was forcibly admitted for showing erratic behavior. The prestigious art prize comes with $100,000 and a solo exhibition at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in April 2019. Other finalists included Emeka Ogboh, Frances Stark, and Wu Tsang. (Press release)

Jerry Saltz on Art-World Corruption – In his review of the new art world documentary The Price of Everything, Saltz bemoans the film’s cynicism, even though he appears in it. The New York magazine art critic says he “left the premiere feeling sick to my stomach and ashamed.” Saltz also reveals what he thinks is the private motive of the director, Nathaniel Kahn: a loss of faith in the art world that had earlier let down his own father, the late architect Louis Kahn. Despite his greatness, brilliant man died forgotten and in poverty. (Vulture)


Christie’s Nabs Major Impressionist Trove for November – Christie’s will host American entrepreneurs Herbert and Adele Klapper’s $50 million collection for their Impressionist and Modern Evening sale in New York on November 11. Claude Monet’s L’escalier à Vétheuil will lead the 16-lot sale and is estimated to sell for $12 million to $18 million. (Art Market Monitor)

Paris Auction House Longs for Banksy Stunt – Artcurial auction house in Paris is selling three prints by the street artist next week and, though they are not expecting it, they are “perhaps hoping” that one will self-destruct like the last print did thanks to Banksy’s Sotheby’s shredding stunt last week. (Reuters)


MFA Boston Gets Gift From Rockefeller Estate – The museum is getting 52 works of Native American art from the Collection of David and Peggy Rockefeller. Mostly acquired by John and Abby Rockefeller in the 1920s and ‘30s, the gift includes Navajo weavings, Plains beadwork, and one Taos School painting. The Estate is also giving some Native American art to Colorado’s Mesa Verde National Park Museum. (Press release)

De Appel Director Steps Down – Niels Van Tomme is leaving the Amsterdam museum on November 30 after just over two years at the helm in order to lead the Argos Center for Art and Media in Brussels. De Appel’s head of internal affairs, Maaike Lauwaert, will serve as acting director until the museum organizes an official replacement. (ARTnews)

Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara Names Director – Independent curator Abaseh Mirvali has been named the museum’s new executive director. Mirvali is filling the position that has been empty since Miki Garcia left to direct the Arizona State University Art Museum in Tempe last December. (ARTnews)


Meth Disguised as Aztec Relics Is Discovered in California – Nine people were arrested after authorities intercepted 25 pounds of meth that drug dealers had hidden in a package of Mexican souvenirs. The chunks of meth were molded and painted to look like Aztec objects, including masks and statues. (Hyperallergic)

Controversial “Bodies” Show Is Banned in Switzerland – The city of Lausanne has decided not to authorize an exhibition of preserved human corpses and skeletons meant to open at the Palais de Beaulieu today, after a complaint raised questions about the provenance of the remains. Rather than the bodies of American donors, the cadavers previously shown at museums in the Netherlands, Belgium, and Bern might be executed Chinese convicts and dissidents, and there is no evidence of their consent to be exhibited. (20 Minutes)

Doctors in Canada Can Now Prescribe a Museum Visit – In Quebec, doctors can now give “museum prescriptions” to patients to improve emotional wellbeing. Montreal Museum of Fine Arts director Nathalie Bondil describes the innovative protocol as a “dream” for boosting museum attendance. (Le Monde)

Pokémon Makes The Scream-Themed Cards – In collaboration with the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum ahead of its Edvard Munch retrospective, the Pokémon Center is launching a line of trading cards inspired by The Scream. The cards and other merch featuring Pikachu, Psyduck, and other characters mimicking the expression of Munch’s eerie protagonist will be sold in the museum’s gift shop from October 27. (Polygon)

Follow Artnet News on Facebook:

Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.