Art Industry News: Dave Grohl Says ‘Nevermind’ Might Get New Album Art in Light of the Lawsuit From the Cover Baby + Other Stories

Plus, Sotheby's launches a new evening sale for emerging art and the U.K. rejects UNESCO's call to reassess ownership of the Parthenon Marbles.

Nirvana's 1991 album, Nevermind. The album cover, shot by Kirk Weddle, features Spencer Elden. Courtesy of Geffen Records.

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 6.


The U.K. Rejects UNESCO’s Call to Reassess Ownership of Parthenon Marbles – The U.K. department of digital, culture, media, and sport has rejected UNESCO’s call, made during its last session, for the country to reassess the British Museum’s ownership of the contested Parthenon Marbles. “Our position is clear—the Parthenon Sculptures were acquired legally in accordance with the law at the time,” a department spokesperson told Artnet News. “The British Museum operates independently of the government and free from political interference.” (Artnet News)

New York Dealer Pleads Guilty to Selling Looted Art – Nancy Wiener, who operates an eponymous Manhattan art gallery that sells ancient Asian artifacts, has pleaded guilty in the Manhattan Supreme Court to charges of conspiracy and possession of looted property. She has paid $1.2 million in forfeitures and fines and cooperated with the case since it was first brought against her in 2016. Some of the artifacts were sold to major museums in Australia and Singapore or at auction houses Christie’s and Sotheby’s. (New York Times)

Dave Grohl Suggests Nevermind Might Get New Cover Art – Former Nirvana band member Dave Grohl said that the iconic cover of the band’s second studio album could get a makeover in light of a lawsuit from Spencer Elden, the infant captured in the 1991 underwater shot. “I have many ideas of how we should alter that cover but we’ll see what happens,” Grohl told The Times. “We’ll let you know. I’m sure we’ll come up with something good.” (The Times)

Artists Bash British Council Cuts – The British Council, the U.K.’s international cultural organization, is “significantly reducing its operations” in 20 countries in order to cut costs, a move that has been condemned by politicians and high-profile artists including Anish Kapoor and Jeremy Deller. ““This is not about soft power, this is an abandonment of culture,” Kapoor said. (The Art Newspaper)


Sotheby’s Shakes Up Its Sale Structure – In order to offer “greater flexibility” for buyers and to meet “the current demands of the market,” Sotheby’s will reformat its evening sale to highlight emerging artists whose prices are skyrocketing. While such works usually are offered as the first few lots of the evening sales, they will been given more room in their own category. The house will now mount three marquee auctions: “The Modern,” “The Contemporary,” and “The Now.” (ARTnews)

Tiwani Contemporary Is Opening in Lagos – The London gallery, which specializes in contemporary art of Africa and the African diaspora, will open a space in Lagos, Nigeria, in February 2022. “If I’m working with artists in Africa and the diaspora, then I need to have a base there,” said the gallery’s founder Maria Varnava. (Press release)

Christie’s Honcho Heads to a Gallery – Roland de Lathuy is joining the contemporary art gallery Baronian Xippas, where he will lead a new private sales department. The former managing director of Christie’s Belgium is leaving his position after two decades. (Press release)

Lise Wilhelmsen Award Winner Named – The Brooklyn-based artist Guadalupe Maravilla is the second-ever winner of the Lise Wilhelmsen Award for mid-career artists, which comes with a cash prize of $100,00. Maravilla will have a solo show next year at the Henie Onstad Kunstsenter in Høvikodden, Norway, which administers the prize. (ARTnews)


Muhammad Ali Drawings Sell for Nearly $1 Million – The world-famous boxer and activist was also an artist, though this legacy is lesser known. Bonhams sold 26 of his works in New York this week for a combined $945,524, three times expectations. The top lot was the appropriately named Sting Like a Bee (1978), which fetched $425,000, knocking out the $40,000-to-$60,000 estimate. (BBC)

Follow Artnet News on Facebook:

Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.