Art Industry News: Offensive Dr. Seuss Mural Sparks Boycott + More Must-Read Stories

Plus, an artist digitally vandalizes a Jeff Koons VR work and museum groups flock to Frieze.

One of the brightly colored rooms at the Amazing World of Dr. Seuss museum, this one inspired by his book Oh, the Places You'll Go!. Courtesy of Mark Murray/the Amazing World of Dr. Seuss.

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 Friday, October 6.


More Museum Patrons Turning Up at Frieze – Groups of museum donors, supporters, and trustees are showing up in increasing numbers at fairs around the world and participating in private tours from curators. According to Frieze London’s organizers, more than 70 museum groups showed up this year, from institutions including the Louvre and the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. (Financial Times)

Puerto Rico’s Museums Reopen – In the post-hurricane recovery, Puerto Rican museums are slowly reopening and assisting in community relief efforts. Some museums have been offering free entry, workshops, and performances, to give patrons “a little haven of normality.” (The Art Newspaper)

Dr. Seuss Museum Gets Blasted for “Racist” Mural Theodor Seuss, the world-famous children’s author, has his legacy under fire as several authors announced they were boycotting the Children’s Literature Festival at his museum due to concerns over a mural that promotes Chinese racial stereotypes. The Seuss book And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street features a man depicted with chopsticks, pointed hat, and slit eyes, which has been recreated on a mural at the museum. (Washington Post)

Kusama Bans Vice Reporter From Her Studio –  After weeks of negotiating an interview with Kusama’s publicists to coincide with the launch of her new museum, a Vice reporter was banned from the artist’s studio after just two (innocuous) questions. He offers a number of potential explanations for the dismissal, including her fragile mental health, advanced age, and history of problematic racial comments. (Vice)


Burri’s Iconic “Nero Plastica L.A.” to Hit the Block – An emblem of 1960s abstraction by Alberto Burri will come up for sale for the first time ever in Sotheby’s New York’s contemporary art evening auction on November 16. The work was part of the acclaimed retrospective “Alberto Burri: The Trauma of Painting” at the Guggenheim in 2016. (Press release)

Behind the Berkshire Museum’s Sell-Off – The museum based in Norman Rockwell’s hometown of Berkshire, Massachusetts, has been swept up in controversy since its trustees voted to deaccession 40 of its most valuable artworks at Sotheby’s this November. Felix Salmon explains why the sale—which will fund a massive renovation—sets a dangerous precedent. (New Yorker)

Can the Albers Market Make It? – German painter Josef Albers is a rising star on the auction market, but some wonder whether he will be able to reach the price levels of peers like Willem de Kooning or Robert Motherwell. For now, however, his estate—newly handled by David Zwirner—is seeing doubled prices for his series Study for Homage to the Square. (Bloomberg)


Latin American Art Gallery Proxyco Opens in New York – Architect Enrique Norten, art advisor Alexandra Morris, and gallery veteran Laura Saenz are bringing a program that focuses on Latin American artists to the Lower East Side. The inaugural group show in November is curated by Daniel Garza, the artistic director of Zona Maco, and pays homage to Mexican art critic, poet, and world traveler José Juan Tablada. (ARTnews)

Debut Riga Biennial Announces Curatorial Concept – Curator Katerina Gregos has titled the first edition of the Latvian biennial “Everything Was Forever, Until It Was No More,” after anthropologist Alexei Yurchak’s study of the collapse of the Soviet Union, and will focus on  how major scientific advancements and geopolitical shifts manifest in quotidian experiences. (Press release)

Frederik Meijer Gardens Begins $115 Million Revamp – The four-year expansion is being carried out by the New York firm Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects, which is also in charge of building the Barack Obama Presidential Center in Chicago, will include a new rooftop sculpture garden, upgraded amphitheater, and an outdoor picnic pavilion. (Press release)

Jorrit Britschgi Named Director of the Rubin Museum – A specialist in East Asian art history, the Swiss-born Britschgi first joined the museum as director of exhibitions in 2016, and has now been promoted to executive director of the Chelsea-based institution dedicated to the art and philosophies of the Himalayas and surrounding regions. (Press release)


A Special Hong Kong Complex For Mega Galleries – H Queens is a 24-story art venue that is set to open in Hong Kong’s central district. Some of the early tenants to sign on for gallery space there include David Zwirner Gallery, Pace Gallery, and Hauser & Wirth. (South China Morning Post)

Frankenthaler Foundation Gives $250,000 to Skowhegan – The gift from the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation will be used to construct a new studio building for attending artists on the school’s sprawling 350-acre campus, where Frankenthaler was a visiting faculty member in 1986. (ARTnews)

San Francisco Museums Commission Schnabel, DIS, Hershman Leeson – For its 2017–18 program, the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco will present a film production by DIS, a new media installation by Lynn Hershman Leeson, and a major exhibition by Julian Schnabel, which will include a new series of outdoor paintings. (Press release)

Digital Koons Gets Digitally Vandalized – Artist Sebastian Errazuris tagged a digital representation of Jeff Koons’s balloon dog in Central Park, a part of the global augmented reality sculptures by the artist that Snapchat launched earlier this week, in protest of corporate control of public digital space. (Hyperallergic)

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