Art Industry News: The Market for Old Masters Could Be in Irreversible Decline Unless Collectors Expand Their Horizons + Other Stories

Plus, Brazil's incoming president plans to restore the country's culture ministry, and a New Zealand mayor has choice words for a billionaire's bequest.

Alberto di Castro's stand at TEFAF Maastricht. Photo by Natascha Libbert.

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 Thursday, December 8.


New Zealand Mayor Is Not a Fan of This Museum – Wayne Brown, the new mayor of Auckland, uttered some very quotable lines about the Auckland Art Gallery during a local council meeting. He was particularly critical of the high costs of looking after pricey donations, like the late hedge-fund titan Julian Robertson‘s $181 million collection. “If it’s a bequeath that costs us to look after the damn thing, it’s not much of a bequeath if you ask me,” he said. (Bloomberg)

Brazil Will Restore Its Culture Ministry – Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Brazil’s president-elect, is expected to bring back the country’s culture ministry and select a new secretary of culture. His right-wing predecessor Jair Bolsonaro dismantled the ministry in 2019. (Artforum)

Is the Old Masters Market in Irreversible Decline? – European Old Masters accounted for just four percent of global art auction sales last year. Now officially a niche market, it is propelled by high-value trophies—of which there are very few available—with little demand for lower-priced works. (The Art Newspaper)

Inhotim Removes Maxwell Alexandre Work – The Brazilian artist demanded that the outdoor museum remove his artwork from an exhibition titled “Quilombo: vida, problemas e aspirações donegro” (“Quilombo: life, problems and aspirations of the Black”). Alexandre said he is “always embarrassed by thematic exhibitions about Black people” and that his work was used without his consent. “They didn’t respect me,” he wrote, “they ran over me!” (TAN)


Independent New York Names Exhibitors – The New York fair announced the 66 nonprofit organizations and commercial galleries that will participate in the event in May at Spring Studios in Tribeca. Among them are 16 newcomers including New York’s Sargent’s Daughters and London’s Stephen Friedman Gallery. (ARTnews)

New Leadership at TEFAF – Bart Drenth has been named global managing director of the European Fine Art Foundation (TEFAF), a new role for the organization. He has served as the company’s interim director since February. (TAN)

Greek Orthodox Church Damaged in 9/11 Reopens – St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church has reopened after more than 20 years with a new design by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. The church is inspired by Byzantine architecture, and was built with marble to match the Parthenon. (Designboom)


Stella McCartney Teams Up With Yoshitomo Nara – The sophomore collaboration between one of the world’s best-selling contemporary artists and the British designer, dubbed Shared, dropped last week. The capsule collection includes pajama sets, wide-legged jeans, and bomber jackets. (10)

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