Art Industry News: After Its Delay Sparked a Global Uproar, the Divisive Philip Guston Show Will Now Open Much Earlier + Other Stories

Plus, Christie's adds a new transcontinental auction in December and the US and Russia band together to restore Raphael frescoes.

Philip Guston, Painting, Smoking, Eating (1973). Courtesy of the Stedelijk Museum/©the estate of Philip Guston.

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 29.


Museum of the Bible Discovers Lost Greek Manuscript – A curator at the embattled museum discovered that a 10th or 11th century manuscript in the collection was actually one of the items looted from the Eikosiphoinissa monastery in northern Greece during World War I. After the Washington, DC, museum deaccessioned the item and returned it to the church, the Archbishop of Constantinople allowed it to remain on display until October 2021. The church will also loan three additional sacred items to the museum for an exhibition. This is not the first time the Museum of the Bible has realized a bit late in the game that some of its treasures were looted or stolen. (Press release)

US and Russia Come Together to Restore Raphael – Despite political tensions between the United States and Russia, the two countries are banding together to achieve the shared goal of restoring three frescoes by Renaissance master Raphael. Thanks to a $102,000 grant provided by the US Embassy in Moscow, the New York-based organization Hermitage Museum Foundation will restore the 16th-century works at the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg. Venus and Adonis, Pan and Syrinx, and Venus and Cupid were acquired by the Hermitage in the 19th century and sustained considerable damage over the decades—so much so that “their original Renaissance appearance was almost completely lost.” (The Art Newspaper

The Philip Guston Show Will Be in 2022 – The exhibition “Philip Guston Now,” whose postponement sparked an uproar in the art world, will now be “Philip Guston in Two Years.” The National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, confirmed the show would open in 2022, not 2024, as previously stated. The specifics of the tour have not yet been confirmed among the four participating museums, but the National Gallery’s director Kaywin Feldman noted previously that organizers had chosen the 2024 date in something of a rush, seeking to find a time squarely after lockdown. The tour will now be held in 2022 and 2023. (New York Times)

Souls Grown Deep Foundation Launches Royalty Scheme – The organization dedicated to promoting the work of African American artists in the South is launching a resale royalty program that will funnel money to living artists whose works have been sold through the foundation’s collection transfer program. The initiative, which has placed more than 400 works in museums around the world, will now offer artists a 5 percent payout both retroactively and going forward. (TAN)


Christie’s Adds New Hong Kong-New York Sale – In the latest example of auction houses’ willingness to do away with the traditional sales calendar, Christie’s has announced plans to hold a new transcontinental livestreamed auction on December 2. “20th Century: Hong Kong to New York” will span the two cities and feature works by Joan Mitchell, Pablo Picasso, Yoshitomo Nara, and others. (Art Market Monitor)

Galeria Nara Roesler Relocates to Chelsea The trend-setting Brazilian gallery is moving its New York outpost from the Upper East Side, where it opened in 2015, to Chelsea. The new space is slated to be four times as large as its current digs. One of its inaugural shows in 2021 will be a solo presentation of the Brazilian modernist Amelia Toledo, a contemporary of Lygia Clark. (ARTnews)

Hercules Bust Will Be Sold (With Help From VR) – An ancient Greek bust of Hercules dug up by an unsuspecting gardener in the 1980s will be sold at the TEFAF Online this week for a “seven-figure” price tag. The London gallery ArtAncient worked with design consultancy White Crow Projects to create a VR experience that would allow visitors to virtually visit the fair’s venue, New York’s Park Avenue Armory, to “see” the work in situ. (TAN)

Did Patrick Drahi Buy a Venue for Sotheby’s Paris? – Sotheby’s has been renting a space in the Charpentier Gallery, opposite the Élysée Palace, since 1998. But a spokesperson says that the auction house’s French-Israeli owner “wants to own his premises. He is looking for a building to buy.” Though nothing has been signed yet, another source suggests he bought a €68 million ($79.6 million) place this summer that he could rent out to Sotheby’s. (Les Journals des Arts)


Swann Appoints New Vice Presidents – Nigel Freeman, the longtime head of the auction house’s highly successful African American art department, and Rick Stattler, director of the books and manuscripts department, have been promoted to vice presidents at the New York-based house. (Art Market Monitor)

The High Museum Names African Art Curator – The Atlanta institution has hired Lauren Tate Baeza as its new curator of African art. Most recently, Baeza served as director of exhibitions at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights in the city. She begins her new role on November 9. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Bahamas Museum Director Is Leaving – The executive director of the National Art Gallery of the Bahamas, Amanda Coulson, will leave her position after 10 years with the institution. (Press release)


The KGB Museum Is Closing—and Selling Its Collection – After less than two years, the KGB Espionage Museum in New York, founded by Lithuanian Cold War memorabilia collector Julius Urbaitis, will close for good. The museum has been shuttered since March and even before that, failed to generate the level of turnout it had hoped for. Now, Urbaitis will be selling almost his entire collection—300-odd items—at Julien’s Auction in February. (NYT)

Desert X Announces Details for 2021 Edition – The third edition of the sprawling, open-air exhibition will take place from February 6 through April 11, 2021 across 40 miles in the Coachella Valley. (Social distancing made easy!) New Desert X board members include Apple researcher Alyse Archer-Coité, philanthropist Roswitha Smale, and design maven Kelly Wearstler.  (Press release)

Ai Weiwei’s Public Art in London Will Break a Record – Circa 20:20, a new work by Ai Weiwei on the monumental billboard in Piccadilly Circus, is set to break a new record on Saturday. The work, which has been on view since October 1, will become the single piece of content shown longest on Europe’s largest screen, the Piccadilly Lights. (Press release)

Courtesy Circa 20:20.

Courtesy Circa 20:20.

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