Art Industry News: A Chilean Art Fair Is Canceled Amid Violent Uprisings in Santiago + Other Stories

Plus, Christopher Knight has harsh words for Desert X and a byzantine lawsuit over a Martin Kippenberger triptych comes to an end.

Demonstrators clash with riot police during a protest against the government's economic policies in Santiago on October 29, 2019. Photo by Claudio Reyes/AFP via Getty Images.

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 Wednesday, October 30.


Christopher Knight on Desert X in Saudi Arabia – The Los Angeles Times art critic does not hold back in his takedown of the Southern California biennial, which he calls “morally corrupt” for its decision to organize an edition in Saudi Arabia in early 2020. Knight praises the three Desert X board members, including the artist Ed Ruscha, who resigned in protest, and wonders why any artist would want to participate in “securing the longevity of a barbaric medieval idea of absolute monarchy.” The critic dubs the festival, called Desert X AlUla, “Desert Bonesaw” in reference to the brutal murder of the Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the hands of a death squad widely believed to have been following the orders of Saudi Arabia’s crown prince last year. The open-air exhibition, like other Saudi cultural mega-projects, are aimed at improving the kingdom’s image and boosting tourism. (LA Times)

Conservation Legal Battle Comes to an End – A multimillion-dollar, year-long lawsuit over a set of paintings by Martin Kippenberger has finally come to a close after a Los Angeles court threw out a collector couple’s lawsuit claiming more than $90 million in damages from an insurance company. Stanley and Gail Hollander claimed the company XL Specialty acted in bad faith after the cardboard frames on their triptych were mistaken for packing material by an art handler and partially removed. The insurance company offered to restore them in collaboration with the original framer, using the same cardboard as the original frame, which experts said would not cause depreciation in value—though the Hollanders disagreed. (The Art Newspaper)

Chilean Art Fair Suspends 2019 Edition – The Contemporary Art Fair of Chile has suspended this year’s edition less than a month before it was due to open after nearly two weeks of violent clashes between police and protesters in Santiago over social services and public benefits. The fair’s director, Elodie Fulton, said the organization could not guarantee safe conditions for galleries, but hoped that the city’s artists and art institutions would offer solace and support during the upheaval. The 11th edition of the fair has been rescheduled for March 2020. (TAN)

George Condo’s Sculpture Unveiled at the Metropolitan Opera – A 13-foot-tall, 24-karat-gold-leaf covered sculpture by George Condo has been installed on the terrace of the Metropolitan Opera house at Lincoln Center Plaza. The twisted piece titled Constellation of Voices is Condo’s first public work, and it’s meant to challenge people to try and “find out what it is that you’re actually looking at,” according to the artist. (New York Times)


Holocaust Victim Heirs Battle Over Schiele Watercolor – A three-way battle over ownership of a 1917 watercolor portrait by Egon Schiele of his wife Edith could be heading to court. A foundation operated by the heir to Metropolitan Museum of Art patron Robert Lehman is contesting a claim to the picture made by the heirs of two Holocaust victims. The portrait has an estimated value of $8 million. (TAN)

Pace Poaches Hauser Alum for Director of Content – Amelia Redgrift is leaving Hauser & Wirth, where she oversaw international communications, to join Pace as senior director, global communications and content. In the newly created position, she will help develop “compelling editorial content” in support of Pace’s rapidly expanding artist roster. She will be based in New York. (Press release)

Picasso Watercolor Heads to Auction – Sotheby’s New York is selling Picasso’s gouache Nature morte à la tête classique et au bouquet de fleurs (1933) on November 12. The work on paper, which was once owned by the Surrealist patron Edward James, has remained in the same collection for more than 35 years. It carries an estimate of $5 million to $7 million. (Press release)


London Art Space Parasol Unit Is Closing – Parasol unit foundation for contemporary art, founded by historian Ziba Ardalan and known for organizing exhibitions of work by international contemporary artists, is closing its East London space in spring 2020 in order to organize more projects globally. After 16 years of operation, the last show in the space will be dedicated to the French artist Christine Rebet and will be on view from January 23 to March 28. (Press release)

Late Philanthropist “Moo” Anderson Donated Key Works to Stanford – The late art collector and philanthropist Mary Margaret “Moo” Anderson transformed Stanford University’s art holdings by donating 121 works to establish an eponymous collection on campus with her husband in 2014. Before her death last week at age 92, she committed two more gifts. Jackson Pollock’s Totem Lesson 1 (1944) and Willem de Kooning’s Gansevoort Street (1949-51) will join the university’s Anderson Collection next week. (ARTnews)


Duane Michals Delves Deep Into the Morgan’s Archives – The American photographer Duane Michals has been poring over the archives of New York’s Morgan Library and Museum for the past two years looking for works that speak to his own art. Now, the 87-year-old is showing 38 of his photographs alongside his pick of drawings, paintings, and artifacts from the collection—ranging from Voltaire’s briefcase to paintings by Tissot—in an exhibition on view through February 2. (NYT)

The Spookiest Typeface Is “Hell”vetica – Two trolling creative directors, Zack Roif and Matthew Woodward, have released a terrible version of font-heads’ favorite typeface, Helvetica. Dubbed Hellvetica, the Halloween special has deliberately randomized the kerning between letters, making it difficult to read, and certain to make the graphic designer in all of us scream. (Designboom)

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