Art Industry News: Justin Bieber Returned to the Art Studio to ‘Paint’ a Portrait of Migos’s Offset + Other Stories
Plus, American museums reconsider how they tell the story of slavery and the Paris auction house Artcurial expands to Morocco.
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 24.
How Art Museums Are Addressing Slavery, at Last – American art museums have long whitewashed the history of slavery—but, with the help of new scholarship, that is beginning to change. An exhibition about Thomas Jefferson as an architect at the Chrysler Museum of Art, for example, acknowledges the role of enslaved craftsmen in realizing his designs. Most of them are anonymous, but new research has identified a door that was made by John Hemmings, who worked at Monticello and was a relative of Sally Hemmings, who possibly gave birth to six of Jefferson’s children. Latanya S. Autry, an academic and fellow of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Cleveland, says: “The knowledge has been out there, but there’s been more resistance to incorporating it into the museum field.” (New York Times)
Natural History Museums’ Hidden Sexist Bias – There is a significant gender bias in the collections and dioramas of leading natural history museums, a new study has confirmed. Research led by Natalie Cooper of London’s Natural History Museum found that female specimens are in the minority: at her institution, as well as four other museums, only 25 percent of birds were females and 39 percent of mammals. She says the imbalance would be easy to fix. But the writer Caroline Criado-Perez notes that they endure because the scientific world and wider society still sees male as the default setting. (Guardian)
The Biebessance Continues – While we still don’t know for sure if Justin Bieber was the buyer of KAWS’s $14.8 million KAWS Album at Sotheby’s Hong Kong, we do know that his own art-making pastime is continuing apace. Yesterday, the newlywed pop star—who has previously collaborated on an artwork with KAWS, and made a painting to benefit the victims of the 2017 California wildfires—posted a new smeary painting/collage-y thing that he made on top of photo of Migos’s Offset at the rapper’s request. Note in the photo below that the art studio in use is splattered with paint, suggesting additional production. Keep up the good work, Bieber! (Billboard)
Charging Bull Is on the Mend – In a scene that was stranger than fiction, a Texas truck driver attacked Wall Street’s famous Charging Bull sculpture last month with a spiked metal banjo, leaving it with a six-inch gash and assorted dents. Now, the sculpture has undergone restoration at Polich Tallix, a foundry in update New York, under the watchful eye of Arturo Di Modica, the Italian artist behind the 7,000-pound bronze who traveled from Sicily to oversee the project. The repairs cost around $15,000. (Gothamist)
Is This Newly Auctioned Work a Raphael? – The recent attribution of a painting to “Raphael and associate” by an Italian art historian gave a boost to the sale price of a Madonna and Child, which sold for €1.27 million ($1.4 million), three times its estimate, at Vienna’s Dorotheum on October 22. Shortly before the auction, a former director of the Roman Museums, Claudio Strinati, publicly claimed that Raphael started the work, which was later completed by Ridolfo del Ghirlandaio. Dorotheum’s head of Old Masters, Mark MacDonnell, says: “It is a painting that will be debated for a long time.” (The Art Newspaper)
Artcurial Expands to Morocco – Paris-based Artcurial has become the first international auction house to establish permanent premises in Morocco. Its Marrakesh office will focus on Orientalist paintings and African contemporary art. (Press release)
COMINGS & GOINGS
Leslie-Lohman Museum Gets a New Name – SoHo’s Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art is rebranding, dropping the “Gay and Lesbian” from its name to express a more inclusive identity. “Make no mistake,” the museum’s director Gonzalo Casals assured attendees at its fall gala, “now more than ever the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art will continue to celebrate the arts and culture of our various communities under the LGBTQ+ umbrella.” (Artforum)
Beijing’s Arrow Factory Closes – An artist-led project space in Beijing, the Arrow Factory, has closed after a decade of showcasing experimental art projects—and surviving gentrification and government scrutiny. The space’s founders explain in a letter that the space’s cause of death was “a layering of top-down policies disguised as ‘neighborhood improvements’ that would slowly asphyxiate our hutong, making our work untenable.” (Artforum)
Miami’s Ellies Winners Receive $500,000 – A Miami Beach arts organization, Oolite Arts, has awarded its annual visual arts awards, the Ellies. It will distribute $500,000 among 45 local artists including Liene Bosquê, Neil Brideau, and Ernesto Oroza so they can stage exhibitions, public installations, and other artistic pursuits. (Artforum)
FOR ART’S SAKE
General Franco’s Body Will Be Removed from the Valley of the Fallen – The remains of the Spanish dictator Francisco Franco will be moved from the Valley of the Fallen mausoleum some 44 years after he died, as the ruling socialist party fulfills one of its campaign promises. At a cost of around $70,000, Franco’s remains will be reburied in a more low-profile state cemetery that was partly built through forced labor under the fascist dictator. (BBC)
Hans Haacke Turns Trump’s Tweets Into Art – As part of the German artist’s first US museum survey at the New Museum, which opened this week, Hans Haacke has created an installation displaying the latest tweets from President Trump on a screen behind a barricade. Titled Make Mar-a-Lago Great Again, the piece will be on view—along with the rest of the show—through January 26. (ARTnews)
A British Historian Drops a Bayeux Tapestry Bombshell – A British art historian believes that he has found the spot in the nave of Bayeux Cathedral in Northern France where the famous embroidery was designed to hang. His research supports the French claim that the masterpiece was made locally. Professor Christopher Norton’s opinion is a blow to the long-held British theory that the story of the Norman conquest was stitched in England. He hopes the British Museum will embrace his research for its planned display of the 68-meter-long embroidery, possibly in 2023. (Times)
Attorney General Says DC’s Mayor Overstepped in Art Case – DC’s attorney general has determined that the city’s mayor, Muriel Bowser, violated District law earlier this summer when she established a new office to manage the city’s art collection and took control of its public art vault, the Art Bank. In doing so, the AG stated, she usurped the powers of the existing Commission on Arts and Humanities. The mayor is now no longer in control of the city’s art. (WAMU)
And… here it is, your Bieber art fix:
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