Art Industry News: It Turns Out There’s a Ferocious Family Feud Behind Stan, the $32 Million T-Rex Sold at Christie’s + Other Stories

Plus, NYU removes the Sackler name after the family's company pleads guilty and the Humboldt Forum's budget balloons (again) by almost $40 million.

Christie's sold a nearly complete skeleton of a T-Rex named Stan at its evening sale in November 2020 for $28 million ($31.8 million after fees). Courtesy of Christie'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 Friday, October 23.


NYU Removes the Sackler Name – New York University has decided to remove the Sackler family name from its Graduate Biomedical Institute following mounting pressure from artist-activists and in light of the family company’s recent plea deal. “Given the Sackler family’s association with Purdue Pharma and its role in encouraging opioid overuse, we view continuing to use the Sackler name as inconsistent with our institution’s values and incompatible with our mission, which is dedicated to patient care, education, and research to improve human health,” a spokesperson for the university said. (Hyperallergic)

Can Museums Really Change? – If you have found the many controversies, changes, and challenges faced by museums today a bit hard to follow, look no further than this wide-ranging account by Carolina Miranda. In examining the many schisms at art institutions over the summer of 2020, Miranda connects the interlocking challenges—fundraising, equity, staff treatment—in a way that fully acknowledges their interdependence. (Los Angeles Times)

There’s a Family Feud Behind Stan – Two paleontologist brothers, Peter and Neal Larson, found that 40-foot-long Tyrannosaurus rex that recently sold at Christie’s for a whopping $32 million. But only one of them gets to keep the money. Why? When the two parted ways in their longtime business, a court battle ensued, and Peter ended up keeping the South Dakota Black Hills Institute, worth $5 million, while Neal took home Stan. When the two brothers, who live near one another, crossed paths in town a few days after the sale, they didn’t speak. (WSJ)

The Humboldt Forum’s Budget Balloons… Again – The scandal-plagued museum project in Berlin reports that its budget has ballooned by an additional €33 million ($39 million) in light of the shutdown. The new cost stands at a whopping €677 million ($802 million). “In the areas of personnel, material, and logistics in particular, there were consequently capacity restrictions, process disruptions, and deadline delays with corresponding cost increases,” a spokeswoman for the project says. (FAZ)


Could Museums Flood the Art Market? – Some market observers fear that the temporarily relaxed rules on deaccessioning in American museums could result in a flooding of the market as museums get a taste for easy money. But because these objects have a shiny institutional provenance, they will likely find homes—as long as their estimates remain conservative. (The Art Newspaper)

Art Basel Announces Details of Its 20th Century Viewing Room – Art Basel’s next viewing room, OVR:20c, is going live next week, from October 28 to 31, with 100 Art Basel galleries in the fold. The “tightly curated” platform explores movements from the 20th century, including works by Diane Arbus, Lucio Fontana, and Alice Neel. (Press release)

Baltimore Museum Board Chair Defends Its Sell-Off – Clair Zamoiski Segal, the chair of the board of the Baltimore Museum of Art, defended the institution’s decision to sell $65 million worth of art through Sotheby’s to raise money for acquisitions and equity initiatives in light of rising opposition. In a statement, she asserted, there is nothing “short-sighted nor nefarious” about deaccessioning. “To suggest that the absence of these three works breaks the public trust omits the reality of the many individuals whose trust we have not yet won,” she wrote. (ARTnews)


BLKNWS Now Broadcasting in Los Angeles – The artist Kahlil Joseph’s ongoing BLKNWS channel project, which made waves at the 2019 Venice Biennale, is being broadcast publicly at nine locations across Los Angeles. The program is part of the Hammer’s “Made in L.A.” biennial, and can be caught at various sites including Bloom & Plume Coffee, Hank’s Mini Market, and Sole Folks sneaker boutique. (Press release)

French Photographer Frank Horvat Dies – The French photographer started out as a photojournalist capturing Paris’s seedy underbelly, but he made it big when he moved into fashion photography. His approach, incorporating bustling street life into fashion shoots, had a lasting effect on the genre. He was 92. (Guardian)

Loucia Carlier Wins Emerige Prize – The artist, whose multifaceted practice involves layering prints onto her sculptures, has won the €15,000 prize for emerging artists. She will receive a year of free studio space and an exhibition at Paris’s Art:Concept gallery in 2021. (Press release)


Congress Examines Arts Institutes’ Collapse – As part of an investigation into the sudden closure of the for-profit Art Institute school chain in 2019, House Democrats have subpoenaed three staff members at the US Department of Education to testify before Congress. The committee on the matter alleges that the department knew that students would lose their accreditation and assisted the school in covering it up. The department denies the accusation. (Philadelphia Post-Gazette

Official Says Banksy’s Painting Proved the Tube Isn’t Safe – The RMT union, whose members include London’s public transportation authority workers, has said that Banksy’s tube stunt in July illustrated that the London Underground is “not safe.” The union says the fact that the artist was able to walk onto the tube, in full disguise, and carry out the graffiti demonstrates that there is no meaningful security. Transport for London confirmed that it investigated the incident, but did not want to reveal details that might encourage copycat acts. (BBC)

Another German Museum Was Attacked During the Summer – In July, another museum was attacked with an oily liquid in an incident reminiscent of the one earlier this week at Berlin’s Museum Island, where 63 cultural objects and artworks were damaged by an unknown vandal. Some 50 objects at the Wewelsburg District Museum, including historical stones, mantelpieces, and painting reproductions, suffered damage, though they have since been restored. (Monopol)

Artists Reinvent ‘I Voted’ Stickers and Posters – Exercising your civic right to vote is always hot, but this year, a wave of artist-designed “I Voted” stickers and political posters—supported by the nonpartisan organization “I am a voter”—has made it even hotter. New York magazine is offering an array of stickers designed by 48 artists in its October 26 issue (particularly useful for those voting by mail), while W magazine has engaged 18 artists of color to reimagine the political poster. (New York, W)

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