Art Industry News: Elaine Wynn on Why No One Thought She Had the Cojones to Buy That $142 Million Francis Bacon + Other Stories

Plus, Kyiv removes Russian sculptures and the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit parts ways with its director after just a few months.

Elaine Wynn at home. Photo: Ryan Pfluger for WSJ. Magazine.
Elaine Wynn at home. Photo: Ryan Pfluger for WSJ. Magazine.

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, April 28.


Kyiv Removes Sculptures Commemorating Relationship With Russia – Around 60 monuments commemorating the friendship between Russia and Ukraine in Kyiv are to be dismantled as Russia continues its offensive on the country. Dozens of street names associated with the Soviet Union and writers such as Tolstoy will also be renamed. (Guardian)

Are There Too Many Women in Cecilia Alemani’s Biennale? – Some collectors, gallerists, and critics are none too comfortable with the gender breakdown of Cecilia Alemani’s central exhibition in Venice, which is around 90 percent female. In the FT, critic Jackie Wullschläger said Alemani “paid a severe price in terms of quality” by making the show so “absurdly gender-unbalanced.” But as Ben Luke and our own Kate Brown point out, one need only look outside the Giardini and Arsenale at the macho collateral events to see that the men are doing just fine. (The Art Newspaper)

Elaine Wynn Dishes on Buying That Bacon – Wynn gets candid in a lengthy profile that recounts her divorce from Steve Wynn, her business savvy, and her decision to buy Francis Bacon’s triptych Three Studies of Lucien Freud in 2013 for $142.4 million, making it at the time the most expensive artwork ever sold at auction. After the sale, reporters began calling her ex to ask if he was the mystery buyer. “They were saying it will probably be on the wall of a hedge fund guy or in the desert in Arabia. I remember being offended that speculation centered on men, and nobody thought that a woman would either have the money or the balls.” (WSJ Magazine)

Loot From 2003 Heist of Waddesdon Manor, Returned – A stunning French bonbonnière—a small box designed to be kept in a pocket—that was among some 100 gold boxes and other treasures stolen in a robbery 19 years ago has been recovered and will be exhibited in the Rothschild Treasury. The little gold box is dated from 1775–81 and was made in Paris. (Guardian)


MOCAD Splits With Director—Again – The Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit has “parted ways” with its executive director Cara Courage, “rescinding their offer of employment.” The former Tate Exchange head joined the institution in February after an 18-month search prompted by the ouster of former director Elysia Borowy-Reeder. (Detroit Metro Times)

Rare Work by Female Renaissance Artist Unveiled in London – A work by Caterina Angela Pierozzi, who was one of only two women enrolled in the Accademia del Disegno in Florence during the Renaissance, is now on show at Colnaghi Gallery in London. The small painting The Annunciation Miniature (1677) is selling for a six-figure price. (The Art Newspaper)

NFTs, Murakami Win Big at Webby Awards – Takashi Murakami was honored with a Special Achievement Webby, which recognizes “excellence on the internet,” for his contributions to the NFT space. Anil Dash and Kevin McCoy, who conceived NFTs at a New Museum conference, were presented a Lifetime Special Achievement award. (ARTnews)

Lars Nittve to Give Free Lecture Series Online – The founding director of M+ and Tate Modern will deliver a series of online talks as part of the M+ Lars Nittve Keynote Lecture Series. The inaugural episode on May 11 is a conversation with British sculptor Antony Gormley, whose monumental installation Asian Field is on view at the museum. Registration is required. (Press release)


U.K. Opens Its First LGBTQ+ Museum – Queer Britain, Britain’s first LGBTQ+ museum, will begin to welcome visitors in King’s Cross on May 5. Homosexuality was partially decriminalized in England and Wales just half a century ago, and the opening of this museum marks a key milestone in the country’s queer history. (Guardian)

Gay Pride demonstration at the Old Bailey during the start of the prosecution alleging blasphemous libel brought by Mary Whitehouse against the homosexual newspaper Gay News in London in July 1977. (Photo by Evening Standard/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

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