Art Industry News: Hey Minimalism-Loving Art Tourists, Guess What? Marfa’s Locals Hate You + Other Stories

Plus, Germany's culture minister wants an additional €1 billion in aid and museums in Seoul close yet again.

City Hall in Marfa, Texas. Photo by Carol M. Highsmith/Buyenlarge/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, December 9.


Monika Grütters Wants More Money for Culture – Germany’s culture minister says she needs another €1 billion in aid to help the ailing cultural sector. The government already doled out €1 billion in June, but Grütters says that “a large part of the programs are oversubscribed,” adding that the first round of summertime aid was to address the effects of the spring lockdown, not the current one. Museums have been closed (for the second time) since November. (Monopol)

UNESCO Adjusts Looted Artifacts Campaign – UNESCO’s beleaguered ad campaign to raise awareness of the illicit antiquities trade has published some new images after it was called out by the Met and others for featuring art that was not actually proven to have been looted. Substitute ads include a statuette of a Sumerian woman dating from 2650–2350 BC that UNESCO said was looted in 2014 from the National Museum of Aleppo. (The Art Newspaper)

Local Artists Tell Off Marfa Tourists – Locals in the tiny Texas enclave of Marfa are not thrilled that tourists are still streaming into the town, which is facing a rising number of infections without a local hospital. Some have begun hanging signs calling out visitors. Artists Chris Ramming and Rob Brill were quite unequivocal in a neon work suspended in the window of a crumbling building: “Everyone here hates you,” it states. (Hyperallergic)

A Designer Takes Credit for the Latest Monolith – A 29-year-old designer named Tom Dunford, from Fishbourne, UK, told the BBC that he created the monolith that popped up on Isle of Wight over the weekend. Inspired by the monument that appeared mysteriously in Utah, he created the world’s third copycat “purely for fun” and chose the location because “if the aliens were to come down I think they’d go for the safest place, which is the Isle of Wight in Tier 1,” citing the UK’s tiered public-health zones. (Evening Standard)


Miami Beach Acquires Sanford Biggers Work – The city of Miami Beach bought a quilted work by New York artist Sanford Biggers as part of its Legacy Purchase Program, which invites the public to vote on a work of art to be acquired from Art Basel Miami Beach. Somethin’ Close to Nothin’ (2019), which was included in David Castillo Gallery’s viewing room in the online fair, will be displayed in the Miami Beach Convention Center. (TAN)

Rare Georges de La Tour Sets a Record – A Girl Blowing on a Brazier by the French Baroque painter Georges de La Tour has become the most expensive piece work by an Old Master to sell at auction in Germany. The painting—one of just 48 known paintings by the artist—fetched €4.3 million ($5.2 million) yesterday at Lempertz. (TAN)


2021 Creative Capital Grants Awarded – The organization has announced $1.75 million worth of awards to 35 projects, which will each receive up to $50,000 in project funding. Awardees chosen from the more than 4,000 applicants include Legacy Russell, Wafaa Bilal, and Martine Syms. (Artforum)

Teiger Foundation Appoints Director – Larissa Harris will be the first executive director of the philanthropic foundation dedicated to promoting the legacy of the late contemporary art collector David Teiger. She joins from the Queens Museum in New York, where she has served as a curator since 2009. (Artforum)


Seoul Museums Close Again – Institutions in the South Korean capital were forced to close on Tuesday until at least December 18, as the city fights back against an uptick in virus cases. Art galleries are, for the moment, allowed to remain open. (ARTnews)

Jerry Saltz Made His Own Christopher Wool Work – The Pulitzer Prize-winning art critic—who has a habit of putting out calls online for imitations of great works of art—has made his own version of Christopher Wool’s Apocalypse Now (1988), which sold for $26.5 million in 2014. “A critic can dream,” says Saltz—and make bootleg art, apparently. (Instagram)

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