Art Industry News: The Whitney Museum Has Delayed Its Ever-Controversial Biennial to 2022 Due to the Lockdown Era + Other Stories

Plus, the "Artists for Biden" fundraiser generates more than $2 million on day one and Jerry Saltz is OK with the delay of the Guston show.

The Whitney Museum of American Art. Photo courtesy the museum.

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 Friday, October 2.


“Artists for Biden” Sale Raises More Than $2 Million on Its First Day – This is probably not the US presidential election-related news that is consuming you today, but we are an art site, so this is what we have to offer. The online art sale hosted by David Zwirner to benefit the Biden Victory Fund has seen swift demand in its first 24 hours. Most works under $10,000 have sold out, including examples by Tara Donovan and Christine Sun Kim. Larger and more expensive works, like Cecily Brown’s Woman on a Swing (priced at $350,000), are still available. (Press release)

Jerry Saltz on the Guston Fiasco – The art critic calls the reasoning behind the postponement of a major Philip Guston show a “cloudy bureaucratic obfuscation,” but goes on to ultimately support the choice. He says he declined to sign a letter circulating among the art-world elite expressing “shock” at and condemning the move. He concludes that the museums behind the show—and, in particular, the National Gallery of Art—do not have a strong enough record on showing or engaging artists of color (or a diverse enough staff) to mount the show without potentially stepping on landmines. “I can certainly wait four years to see a group of these paintings,” he writes. “These museums had better have healed themselves by then.” (Vulture)

The Whitney Biennial Is Pushed to 2022 – The Whitney Biennial, the often-controversial, always-closely watched exhibition of contemporary art, will be postponed from next spring to April 2022 as the museum reshuffles its exhibition schedule. Shows by Salman Toor and Julie Mehretu, both of which were delayed due to six months of lockdown, will go ahead first. The postponement will also provide the biennial’s curatorial team with additional time to conduct research and studio visits. For their part, artists welcomed the reprieve; they told the curators that the pandemic had limited their time in the studio and constrained their ability to make new work. (New York Times)

Fashion Museums Are Even Whiter Than Art Museums – “Startling imbalances” pervade important fashion collections around the world, a new analysis from the New York Times notes. The Paris museum Palais Galliera, which reopened yesterday after a $10 million renovation, has 200,000 objects—but only 77 pieces of clothing in its collection were created by Black designers. At the Metropolitan Museum of Art, of the 54 designers who are credited for the highlights of the Costume Institute’s collection, zero are Black. (NYT)


Victoria Miro Adds Paula Rego to Roster – Victoria Miro has taken on representation of the Portuguese-born figurative painter, who was formerly represented by the embattled Marlborough Gallery. Rego will have an exhibition at the London-based dealership in late 2021. (Press release)

Georgina Adam Looks Back at 30 Years of the Art Market – The art-market journalist recalls the bubble in the art market that inflated in the 1990s and that never really got “pricked.” Over the past 30 years, she has witnessed auction houses transform into fortresses and the Middle Eastern art market emerge as Sheikhs moved in on the business. (The Art Newspaper)

BRAFA Fair Postponed to 2022 – Fair cancellations are moving headlong into 2021. The Brussels antique fair has postponed its 66th edition from January of next year to January 2022, citing the uncertainty caused by the ongoing health crisis. (Press release)


Judge Orders Restitution of Derain Paintings – A French court has ruled that two French institutions must restitute three paintings to the heirs of the Jewish art dealer René Gimpel, who sold the works under duress before he was killed in the Holocaust. The works, by the Fauvist painter André Derain, are held by the Modern Art Museum in Troyes and the Cantini Museum in Marseille. (ARTnews)

Helen Frankenthaler Foundation Awards $1.5 Million – The Helen Frankenthaler Foundation is giving out $1.5 million in grants to initiatives that promote equity within and access to the arts. The two-year grants will support the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, the Digital Curation Initiative, ArtsConnection, and ArtTable, among other institutions. (TAN)


Museums Jointly Purchase 21 Works by Laura Aguilar – The Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Vincent Price Art Museum in Los Angeles have jointly acquired 21 works by the late Chicana photographer Laura Aguilar. The two institutions organized Aguilar’s popular retrospective in 2017; the acquisition has been in the works since then. (ARTnews)

Misan Harriman’s BLM Photograph Will Be Sold for Charity at Sotheby’s – The Nigerian-born British photographer’s famous image of Black Lives Matter demonstrator Darcy Bourne will be offered at Sotheby’s photographs auction, which runs online from October 7 through 14. The proceeds will go toward the blood cancer charity Anthony Nolan, to fund efforts to diversify the stem cell register. Why is Ending Racism a Debate? is estimated at £3,000 to £5,000 ($3,800–6,500) and marks the auction debut for Harriman, who was the first Black man to shoot the cover of British Vogue in the magazine’s 104-year history. (Press release)

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