Art Industry News: Louvre Yanks ‘Sexually Explicit’ Sculpture + More Must-Read Stories

Plus, thousands of objects are missing from UK museums and Art Basel Miami Beach commits to five more years.

Atelier Van Lieshout, Domestikator (2015). Image: Atelier Van Lieshout.

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 this Tuesday, October 3.


Louvre Pulls “Sexually Explicit” Sculpture – The Louvre has cancelled the installation of a large sculpture, Domestikator, by Dutch collective Atelier Van Lieshout, from its Tuileries Gardens, where it was set to go on view later this month as part of FIAC’s public art program, Hors les Murs. The museum cited the “sexually explicit” nature of the 40–foot-high sculpture, which depicts two people having sex, albeit abstractly. For their part, the collective has condemned the decision, saying “a museum should be an open place for communication.” (New York Times)

Inside the Prison Guard Heist of a Dalí Painting – In 1965, Salvador Dalí was meant to visit the inmates at Rikers Island in New York, but he fell ill and sent them a surrealist crucifixion scene for their dining room instead. The painting was later appraised at $250,000 and, in 2003, four guards conspired to pull the fire alarm and swap the painting out for a shoddy forgery. The real painting, feared destroyed, hasn’t been seen since. (Daily Beast)

Art Basel Miami Beach Commits to Five More Years – Although a 10-year agreement had been expected, a new five-year lease between Art Basel and the City of Miami Beach will keep the Swiss art fair coming back to the convention center until at least 2023. (Miami New Times)

Thousands of Objects Missing from UK Museums – Reportedly, museums around the UK, including the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum, and the Imperial War Museum have misplaced items worth at least £1 million. A slew of items are reported to be missing—either lost or stolen—with the British Museum even admitting to losing a £750,000 Cartier diamond ring! (The Telegraph)


No Big Bags at Frieze London and Masters – As the fairs gear up for their VIP previews tomorrow, organizers have issued new bag restrictions, forbidding entry of items bigger than handbags and laptop bags. Any suitcases and backpacks will be placed in a bag drop facility, incurring a £5 fee, with proceeds being donated to Save the Children.  (Press release)

Another Rockefeller Collection Comes to Christie’s – In November, Christie’s will offer property from the estate of former Yale Egyptologist William Kelly Simpson, which contains many works that were acquired by descent from the estates of Abby Aldrich and John D. Rockefeller Jr. The group, which contains pieces by Matisse and Édouard Vuillard, is expected to realize in excess of $25 million. (Art Market Monitor)

Christie’s Seeks Help From Aquatic Experts – In the aftermath of the Guggenheim’s animal-rights controversy, Christie’s London has decidee to err on the side of caution. Damien Hirst’s Love Lost, a tank with living fish that is part of the house’s upcoming post-war and contemporary art sale, is currently being displayed with a sign that reads: “Please note that the installation of this artwork has been undertaken with the assistance of aquatic experts to ensure the correct handling of the fish.” (ARTnews)

Galerie Isabella Bortolozzi Now Represents Carol Rama – Following a decade of collaboration with the Archivio Carol Rama, the Berlin gallery has announced that it now represents both Carol Rama’s estate and Archivio Carol Rama, in conjunction with Lévy Gorvy, New York and London. (Press release)


Artist Vern Blosum Dies at 81 – The artist who parodied Pop Art under a semi-fictional persona died on August 20. His gallery, Essex Street, confirmed the news yesterday morning. The real identity of the elusive artist has never been released. (ARTnews)

Cleveland Museum of Art Taps Associate Curator – The museum has appointed Emily Liebert as its new associate curator of contemporary art. Starting in November, she will be tasked with developing the museum’s contemporary art program in collaboration with Reto Thüring, curator and chair of modern, contemporary, and decorative art. (Artforum)

ICA Council Gets New Board Member – The London institution has appointed Hadeel Ibrahim to its governing board. After Dilyara Allakhverdova, Maria Sukkar, and Wolfgang Tillmans, Ibrahim is the fourth council member appointed since Stefan Kalmár took the helm of the ICA last December. (Artforum)


Towering Nude Sculpture May Come to DC – If crowd-funding efforts by a group of Burning Man enthusiasts known as Catharsis on the Mall go well, a 45-foot-tall steel sculpture of a nude woman by Marco Cochrane will face the White House in November. R-Evolution was created for Burning Man in 2015, and 30 percent of the $90,000 cost of moving and installing the work has already been raised. (NYT)

Ford Foundation Awards $1.5 Million Fellowship –  The 25 socially progressive artist recipients of the Art of Change fellowship program have been announced. Filmmaker Ava Duvernay, composer Mohammed Fairouz, and collective Postcommodity are among the recipients of $50,000 (or $75,000 for collectives) in unrestricted funds to create work to “help advance freedom, justice, and inclusion, and strengthen our democracy.” (Press release)

Meet the Curator Reviving CAAM – Naima Keith is giving a much-needed fillip to the California African American Museum. The newly revamped museum’s summer party inaugurated four new exhibitions simultaneously, and involved food trucks, DJ sets, and dancing. “My hope, ultimately, is to surprise, complicate, inspire one’s understanding of African American art,” she says. (LA Times)

SUPERFLEX Turns Turbine Hall Into a Playground –  Last night the hotly-anticipated Turbine Hall commission at Tate Modern was unveiled. The Danish collective behind One Two Three Swing! installed dozens of three-seated swings throughout the hall, even activating the space just outside it in a bid to target social apathy through swinging together. See images of then work below. (Press release)

Hyundai Commission: SUPERFLEX, One Two Three Swing! (2017). Image courtesy of Tate Photography.

Hyundai Commission: SUPERFLEX, One Two Three Swing! (2017). Image courtesy of Tate Photography.

Hyundai Commission: SUPERFLEX, One Two Three Swing! (2017). Image courtesy of Tate Photography.

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