Art Industry News: At Least 12 Museums in New York Are Discussing Mergers or Closures Amid Financial Pressure + Other Stories

Plus, the Knoedler forgery scandal will become a feature film and a David Hockney landscape could fetch $35 million at Phillips.

A recent survey found that one-third of American museums may not survive 2020. Photo: Creative Commons via Flickr.

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 Tuesday, October 27.


The Knoedler Documentary Will Become a Feature Film – The 2020 documentary “Made You Look: A True Story About Fake Art” will be adapted into a feature film that will begin production in 2022. The dramatic true story of Knoedler & Company, the august Upper East Side gallery that made millions of dollars selling fake works by Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, and Robert Motherwell created by a Chinese immigrant in Queens, has all the ingredients for silver-screen magic. “I can only dream that Meryl Streep will want to play [former Knoedler director] Ann Freedman,” said the documentary’s director Barry Avrich. (Yahoo!)

German Artist Confirms a Suspected Forgery – A collector is suing an art dealer for allegedly selling her a fake work by German artist Günther Uecker. She is now in court demanding her €7,500 deposit back. The 90-year-old artist attended a hearing on Monday to weigh in on the disputed painting. “That’s not mine,” he said. “This is the first time I see that. The signature is not mine either.” A verdict is expected on November 16. (Monopol)

New York Museums Suffer at Low Capacity – New York museums say they will be in dire straits if the requirement that they keep capacity at 25 percent continues. The Met saw 91,500 visitors in September, compared with last year’s 381,500. If the capacity restrictions continue into the spring, as suspected, the Met says it will need to consider making cuts again. The Museum Association of New York estimates that museums in the state lost $3.5 million a day in April, and have continued to lose money since reopening. The association’s executive director says she knows “of at least 12 museums that are discussing dissolution or mergers.” (New York Times)

Michael Govan and Critic Battle Over LACMA’s Redesign – A war of words between architecture critic Joseph Giovannini and Michael Govan, the director of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, is playing out in the New York Review of Books. Firing back at Giovannini’s recent article criticizing the museum’s renovation, Govan says his statements about the size of the museum’s galleries are “inaccurate.” “Giovannini refuses to acknowledge the essence of Zumthor’s scheme for the exhibition floor, in which none of the space is wasted in circulation,” Govan writes, pointing to natural-light galleries in the inner courtyard and terrace. But Giovanni disagrees: “The solution at LACMA could have been a course correction, not demolition—sensible, creative, even daring adjustments to the collections by addition, all within an expanded building whose adaptive re-use would have proved sustainably smart instead of profligate.” (New York Review of Books)


A $35 Million Hockney Is Coming to Phillips – Phillips will sell Nichols Canyon (1980) during its contemporary art evening sale on December 7 in New York. The painting, which is expected to make $35 million and has been in the same collection for four decades, will go on a tour of Phillips locations around the globe ahead of the auction. (Art Market Monitor)

Nicelle Beauchene to Rep the Gee’s Bend Quiltmakers – The gallery now represents the Gee’s Bend Quiltmakers in New York and is planning a group show of the famed collective in 2022. Beauchene will also represent Gee’s Bend’s most famed quilter, Mary Lee Bendolph, who will have a solo show at the gallery in fall 2021. (ARTnews)


MAD Names Interim Director – New York’s Museum of Arts and Design has named its deputy director for institutional advancement, Terry Skoda, as interim director following the departure of Christopher Scoates (its fourth director in 10 years). The collector and entrepreneur Lorin Gu and the philanthropist Alexander Mason Hankin have also joined the board of trustees. (Press release)

CIMA Names New Managing Director – New York’s Center for Italian Modern Art has promoted institutional relations specialist Genevieve Martin to managing director. The social justice advocate and expert in cross-disciplinary strategic partnerships promises to work to more equitably distribute creative resources and opportunities. (Press release)

Kochi-Muziris Biennale Postponed to 2022 – The Kochi-Muziris Biennale has been postponed until November 1, 2021 amid a resurgence of virus cases in Kerala and around the world. The four-month exhibition, titled “In our veins flow ink and fire,” was originally slated to open December 12. (Artforum)


El Museo del Barrio Gets a $4 Million Lifeline – The Ford Foundation is giving El Museo del Barrio $4 million as part of its $156 million America’s Cultural Treasures initiative, designed to boost organizations that have made a critical impact on the US cultural landscape despite limited resources. The gift makes up some 68 percent of the museum’s annual budget. Director Patrick Charpenel says the money will fund its “survival.” (Bloomberg)

Center for Political Beauty Mounts Weapons Drop Point – The artist-run Center for Political Beauty has set up a collection point for weapons in front of Berlin’s federal chancellery building. The installation, which looks like a clothing donation drop off, has been set up after more than 60 kilograms of explosives, 100 service weapons, and tens of thousands of rounds of ammunition went missing from the German military, which itself is reckoning with right-wing extremism among its ranks. Several of the missing weapons have been located in private hands. (Monopol)

Photo courtesy of Zentrum für Politische Schönheit, Center for Political Beauty.

Photo courtesy of Zentrum für Politische Schönheit, Center for Political Beauty.

Photo courtesy of Zentrum für Politische Schönheit, Center for Political Beauty.

Photo courtesy of Zentrum für Politische Schönheit, Center for Political Beauty.

Photo courtesy of Zentrum für Politische Schönheit, Center for Political Beauty.

Photo courtesy of Zentrum für Politische Schönheit, Center for Political Beauty.

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