Art Industry News: Events on Europe’s Art Calendar Fall Like Dominoes Amid New Lockdown Restrictions + Other Stories
Plus, MoMA PS1 shakes up its board and Yayoi Kusama pens a new poem to calm the nervous masses.
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 Friday, October 30.
Yayoi Kusama Writes a Poem to Encourage the Public – To mark the opening of “20/20,” a group exhibition of new works by gallery artists at David Zwirner in New York, Yayoi Kusama has penned a poem to offer solace to us, the unsettled masses. “I find it so lamentable, / The alarming, unwonted ordeal that has come upon us,” she writes. She ends on a hopeful note: “Through my art I go on manifesting, with all my heart, my reverence and / love for the cosmos, the world, and all humanity. / Our resplendent hope is sure to be fulfilled.” We here at Artnet HQ choose to believe she’s talking about the election, but all interpretations are welcome. (David Zwirner)
A Painting of Baby Yoda Goes on View at the National Portrait Gallery – London’s National Portrait Gallery houses paintings of such august historical figures as Elizabeth I, William Shakespeare, and Winston Churchill. Now, Baby Yoda will join their ranks. The painting, called Mandalorian and the Child, was commissioned to mark the second season of Disney+’s popular addition to the Star Wars franchise, and will be joined by original concept art. The display is open to the public on October 30 and 31. It is unclear if Disney+ paid the National Portrait Gallery a fee for the project. (Hollywood Reporter)
Europe’s Art Calendar Stops Cold – As Germany and France impose new lockdown measures, which will be in place for all of November and affect cultural venues as well as many facets of public life, the Marseille-based Manifesta biennial had to close down permanently yesterday. It was set to run until November 27 at various venues across the city. Meanwhile, other events scheduled for next month—like the Fine Arts Paris and Art Cologne fairs—have been called off. Art Cologne was slated to open to VIPs on November 18. It plans to resume next April. (Press release)
Berlin’s Culture Senator Claps Back at New Lockdown Measures – Not everyone is happy with the new restrictions in Germany and France. Berlin’s culture minister, Klaus Lederer, asked the government, “How do you explain that you can’t go to a gallery, but you can hang out in a shopping mall?” Cultural sites were closed as of yesterday in France; in Germany, the measures come into effect Monday, November 2. But some states, like Berlin, are trying to push back. (rbb, Artnet News)
Sotheby’s to Sell Judaica From the Sassoon Family Collection – On December 17, treasures from the storied Sasson family will head to auction. The 70 lots will be led by two parcel-gilt silver Torah shields from the 18th century, estimated to sell for between $600,000 and $900,000 and $500,000 and $800,000, respectively. The immensely wealthy Sassoon family has its roots in Baghdad, Iraq. (Press release)
Artnet Auctions’ 40 Under 10 Sale Bests Estimates – A particular standout of the sale was Yoshitomo Nara’s screenprint Fuckin’ Politics (2003), which sold for $60,000, a whopping ten times its $6,000 high estimate. The piece has not come to auction since 2014, but struck a chord ahead of the artist’s forthcoming retrospective at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art—not to mention the US presidential election in less than a week. (Press release)
Sales at Art Basel’s OVR Are Slow – The fair’s sales platform “OVR:20c,” which focuses on art from the 20th century, has seen slow sales since it launched on Wednesday. Art Basel global director Marc Spiegler says the leisurely pace of trade is because the works on offer are not “impulse purchases by any means.” (Art Market Monitor)
LEVY Gallery Turns 50 – The Hamburg gallery is celebrating its jubilee today, marking 50 years since Thomas Levy opened his art gallery when he was just 23 years old, within two decades working on exhibitions of artists like Andy Warhol and Man Ray. The dealer represents important German artists like Meret Oppenheim, Friedrich Einhoff. (Press release)
COMINGS & GOINGS
MoMA PS1 Shakes Up Board – MoMA PS1 is undergoing major leadership changes. Philanthropist Agnes Gund will leave her position as chair of the board after 10 years to helm the institution’s diversity, equity, and inclusion committee. Board co-vice chair Sarah Arison will take her place. The museum also announced a new $5 million fund—$2.5 million of which came from Gund—to focus on “long-term fiscal sustainability.” (Press release)
El Museo del Barrio Reveals Artist List for La Trienal 20/21 –Forty Latinx artists and collectives from the US and Puerto Rico will participate in the museum’s “Estamos Bien – La Trienal 20/21,” which is set to run from March 13 to August 22. The curatorial team selected artists including Candida Alvarez, Juan William Chavez, and Roberto Lugo. (ARTnews)
Warhol Foundation Appoints New Board Chair, Adds Members – The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts announced the appointment of Paul C. Ha, the director of MIT’s List Visual Center, as its new board chair, replacing Julián Zugazagoitia. Artist Jeffrey Gibson, Pérez Art Museum Miami director Franklin Sirmans, and Dallas Art Museum director Agustín Arteaga also joined the board. (Press release)
Artist Mohamed Melehi Dies at 84 – The leading Moroccan artist has died at age 84 of complications from COVID-19. Melehi’s work, centered around his recurring “wave” motif, changed the face of Modernist art in Morocco. An exhibition of the artist’s works organized by Lawrie Shabibi Gallery of Dubai was on view at Cromwell Place in London earlier this month. (The Art Newspaper)
FOR ART’S SAKE
Art Gallery of Ontario Launches New African Art Department – The museum announced the creation of a new “Arts of Global Africa and the Diaspora” department to better reflect the Black experience in and around Canada. Julie Crooks, who is currently the curator of photography at AGO, will lead the newly established department. (Press release)
Bloomberg Teams Up With London’s Mayor for Cultural Exchange Program – Cultural leaders from 18 cities around the world will take part in the next World Cities Culture Forum’s Leadership Exchange Program. Creative professionals in cities including Warsaw, Lagos, Amsterdam, Austin, and Barcelona will swap with peers to explore subjects including cultural mapping with data, new funding models for culture, and art biennials as a tool for civic engagement. (Press release)
Artist Reveals Secret Tape of Donald Trump – Lawyer-turned artist Tootsie Warhol has released a video with previously unheard audio of his Martin Luther King Day meeting with President Donald Trump and Martin Luther King III. (YouTube)
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