Art Industry News: Why Julian Schnabel Almost Turned His Back on the Musée d’Orsay + Other Stories

Plus, dealer Paula Cooper reflects on her 50 years in business and artist Laurie Simmons gets pranked on late-night television.

Julian Schnabel. Courtesy of David Crotty/Patrick McMullan.

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 9.


Legendary Gallerist Paula Cooper Takes Stock – To mark the 50th anniversary of her gallery, the veteran New York dealer reflects on how the art market has changed. One new challenge, she notes, is mega-galleries’ aggressive poaching of artists. “It’s difficult when you’ve worked very hard for someone and finally they achieve great success, and then someone else comes along and boom, they’re gone,” she says. She remains confident, however, that smaller galleries can survive the changing market by building meaningful relationships with artists and placing their work in significant collections. (The Art Newspaper)

Anti-Columbus Group Takes Over New York Museum – In solidarity with the Decolonize This Place campaign, around 1,000 activists flocked to New York’s American Museum of Natural History on Columbus Day yesterday to protest its ethnographic displays, which they say contain racist stereotypes of non-European people. On the third annual Anti-Columbus Day tour, protesters demanded the museum establish a “Decolonization Commission” to help better contextualize its displays. (Hyperallergic)

Julian Schnabel’s World Domination Continues – The Musée d’Orsay invited the American artist and film director to display his own works alongside his choice of 13 paintings from its collection. Or, at least, mostly his choice: The artist almost withdrew from the unprecedented exhibition after nervous curators were reticent to allow him unfettered access to the museum’s holdings. (The museum’s director ultimately gave him almost all the works he requested, with one or two exceptions.) “Orsay Through the Eyes of Julian Schnabel,” the museum’s largest contemporary intervention to date, juxtaposes Schnabel’s works on plates and tarpaulin with canvases by Vincent van Gogh, Claude Monet, and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. (New York Times)

Yoko Ono’s Mural Unveiled at Her Local Subway – The MTA has unveiled the artist’s SKY mural at her local subway station in the Upper West Side. The 72nd Street B/C subway is located under the Dakota building, where the Japanese-American artist has lived for the past five decades. In typical Yoko fashion, the tiled walls of blue, cloud-filled skies are embedded with messages of hope. (Hyperallergic)


Lawyers Talk Celebrity’s Stolen Art – Dorothy’s stolen ruby slippers, the Gardner Museum heist, and Nazi-looted art owned by Elizabeth Taylor are among the topics that will be addressed by lawyers specializing in art theft at the International Bar Association’s annual conference in Rome. Around 6,000 lawyers have flocked to the city to attend some of the hundreds of discussions taking place this week. (Legal Cheek)

Art Licensing Is Big Business – From Andy Warhol socks to Jean-Michel Basquiat t-shirts, brand collaborations with the estates of famous artists have never been more popular. But some wonder if the crossover has gone too far. As Jacob Gallagher writes, “Automakers advertise their cars to the strains of indie rock songs, basketball players moonlight as style icons, and your next pair of MeUndies underwear may come patterned with Keith Haring’s doodles.” (Wall Street Journal)

Lunar Meteorite Heads to Auction – RR Auction in Boston is selling a rare lunar meteorite also known as “the Moon Puzzle.” It blasted off the surface of the moon in “the distant past” and traveled a quarter of a million miles down to Earth to a Northwest African desert, where it was discovered in 2017. It consists of six pieces that slot together to form a 12-pound mass. (Art Daily)


Danny Boyle Plans Giant Beach Portraits to Honor WWI – The film director is orchestrating a mass-participation Armistice Day spectacle. On November 11, a large-scale portrait of a World War I soldier will be drawn in the sand at low tide while a poem is read aloud. Pages of the Sea will be one of the WWI memorial organization 14-18 NOW’s largest commissions to date. (BBC)

Cambridge University Unveils Sexy Book Sculpture – A new sculpture at Newnham, the all-female college at the University of Cambridge, has been greeted with raised eyebrows. The work by Turner Prize-nominated Cathy de Monchaux is inspired by a tower of open books—but the 35-foot-tall bronze also bears a striking resemblance to female genitalia, earning praise as a symbol of “big vulva power.” (Cambridge Live)

Hank Willis Thomas Is Named Creative Citizen Fellow – The activist-artist is returning to the California College of the Arts as its first Creative Citizenship Fellow this fall. The For Freedoms co-founder will be visiting its San Francisco and Oakland campuses from October 22 to 26. (Press release)


V&A Extends Kahlo Show With Marathon Fiesta – London’s Victoria and Albert Museum is making the most of the Day of the Dead by opening its Frida Kahlo fashion show for a 48-hour stretch. Get ready to wake up early or go to bed late: Timed tickets during regular opening hours have already sold out. (Evening Standard)

Lena Dunham Pranks Her Artist Mom on TV – Laurie Simmons took some time out of preparing for her retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in Fort Worth to offer some fashion advice to her famous daughter. During a visit to Jimmy Kimmel Live, Dunham and the host decided to prank her opinionated mother by soliciting feedback on outfits via text message. The artist dismissed one as “too short and slutty when you are sitting down.” (Page Six)

See What Naomi Watts Collects – The actor comes by collecting naturally: her mother is a painter and her brother, Ben Watts, is a photographer. She started her collection with a Bill Henson photograph, while her biggest purchase to date is Harland Miller’s Love, Stretch Me No Longer in This Rough World (2013). But with wall space limited in her New York and LA homes, she’s cutting back on buying any more big canvases. (NYT)

Banksy Shredding Becomes a Trend – Sotheby’s being Banksy-ed went viral—and now, the performative act has taken on a life of its own online. Lee Miller has uploaded code that allows anyone with a .jpg who is not afraid of HTML code to digitally shred a work by any artist. New York magazine’s critic Jerry Saltz had the same idea; see his own experiments below. (Boing Boing)



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