Art Industry News: Is the New MoMA Building Too Much Like an Apple Store? + Other Stories

Plus, Sotheby's posts strong Hong Kong auction results and a letter to the Swiss Institute flags allegations against an artist in its show.

Pedestrians walk past an Apple store on East Nanjing Road in Shanghai. (Photo by Alex Tai/SOPA Images/LightRocket 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 9.


Yoshitomo Nara’s Retrospective Heads to China’s Yuz Museum – Hot on the heels of a smashing new auction record, the Japanese artist Yoshitomo Nara will have a show at collector Budi Tek’s Yuz Museum in Shanghai. The artist’s spring 2020 retrospective at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art will travel to the Chinese institution as part of a new partnership between the two museums. (ARTnews)

Artists Sign Letter Drawing Attention to a Swiss Artist’s Domestic Violence Allegation – A group of 40 artists and writers, including Moyra Davey and Ariana Reines, have signed a letter to the New York-based nonprofit Swiss Institute, asking the institution to respond to the criminal charges filed Swiss artist Tobias Madison, whose work is included in one of its exhibitions. Madison has not yet entered a plea in the domestic violence case; charges against him include include assault with the intention to cause physical injury. The institute’s director has now responded to the letter with a statement, noting that “Swiss Institute understands the gravity of these accusations, but we are not able to comment or respond regarding an ongoing legal case.” (The Art Newspaper, ARTnews)

Should We Be Buying Into MoMA’s Manifest Destiny? – Architecture critic Michael Kimmelman offers a decidedly mixed review of the new MoMA, which opens its $450 million expansion to the public on October 21. The Diller Scofidio + Renfro-designed space—with its broadened rehang and refreshed approach to navigation—is expected to draw 3.5 million visitors a year. Kimmelman describes the metamorphosis as “smart, surgical, sprawling, and slightly soulless…. You may feel like you’re entering an Apple store.” Over the decades, he notes, MoMA has swallowed up nearly every square foot of the block. “What if, instead of doubling down on Midtown, it had, like, say, the Whitney, ventured to Brooklyn or Queens or the West Side,” he asks. “It could have altered the city’s cultural weather.” (New York Times)

The Met Plans Its 150th Birthday Celebrations – New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art celebrates its 150th birthday in 2020—and it plans to mark the event in style. Programming highlights for the significant year include an exhibition “Making the Met 1870–2020,” which offers a journey through the museum’s history, as well as the opening of the revamped British Galleries and the unveiling of gifts of American art, photographs, and drawings given to the institution to mark the occasion. (Press release)


Sotheby’s Hong Kong Sales Series Totals $426 Million – Sotheby’s sixth annual fall art auction series in Hong Kong generated HK$3.35 billion ($426 million)—toward the top end of its combined pre-sale estimate of $318 million to $456 million. It was a strong showing for the house considering the ongoing unrest in the region. Eighty-six percent of lots sold and five works went for over $12 million, including a large canvas by Yoshitomo Nara, which sold for a record $25 million. (Press release)

Fort Gansevoort Expands to Los Angeles – The Manhattan gallery is opening its first location on the West Coast on November 21. The new LA chapter will be located in a 3,000-square-foot space in the Merrick Building in East Hollywood. The opening show will feature multimedia artist Christopher Myers, followed by a show dedicated to Israeli artist Zoya Cherkassky. (ARTnews)

Here’s Your Chance to Visit Private New York Art Spaces – Open House New York Weekend runs October 18 through 20, with a program that sees some of the city’s buildings, private residences, and artist studios made accessible to the public for a limited time. Art events include entry to the Frick Art Reference Library and a visit to sculptor Barry X Ball’s studio in Williamsburg (ARTnews)


The Louvre Opens a Super Storage Facility – Over the next four years, some 250,000 pieces from the Paris museum are going to be moved to Liévin, in Hauts-de-France, where the Louvre is opening a top-notch conservation center and storage facility. The 200,000-square-foot facility aims to better protect works currently housed in the Louvre’s Paris storage units, which are exposed to potential floods from the river Seine. (Le Point)

Joan Mitchell Foundation Appoints a New Director to New Orleans Center  – The former general manager at Pioneer Works in Brooklyn, Toccarra A. H. Thomas, will be the new director of the Joan Mitchell Center in New Orleans. Thomas begins her new role on October 14, taking over from the center’s interim director Veronique Le Melle. (Press release)

Barcelona Gets a Photo Center – The Francisco Godia Foundation is opening a new photography center in Barcelona in spring 2020 at the foot of the city’s iconic Mapfre Tower. The still-unnamed 15,000-square-foot center will showcase art photography relating to Catalonia. (El Pais)


Anonymous Donor Gifts $1.15 Million to ICA Philadelphia – An anonymous donor has gifted the Philadelphia Institute of Contemporary Art, which is part of the University of Pennsylvania, $1.15 million. The money will be used to endow its director of public engagement position, as well as support a travel fund for art history students. (Artforum)

Did Apple Remove Taiwan’s Flag Emoji in Hong Kong? – Amid the escalating pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, iPhone users in Hong Kong and Macau report that Apple’s latest update has removed the emoji for the Taiwanese flag. People are now accusing the company of kowtowing to Beijing in order to protect its hefty business in mainland China. (Daily Mail)

See KAWS’s New Sculpture in Brooklyn – The commodification of KAWS continues: the ever-present artist has installed one of his “Companion” sculptures at a new set of luxury apartments in Brooklyn called the Greenpoint, near the India Street ferry stop. The 20-foot-tall sculpture, titled Waiting, depicts a larger figure with a hand resting protectively on the shoulder of a smaller version. “This project has been a few years in the making and it’s great to have this permanent installation just a few blocks from my studio,” KAWS wrote on Instagram. (Architectural Digest

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