Art Industry News: NFTs Barely Bring a Trickle of Profit to Galleries, a Report Finds + Other Stories

Plus, Hans Ulrich Obrist hosts an early morning club in Venice and Tracey Emin gets personal on Instagram.

Images of CryptoPunks displayed on a digital billboard in Times Square on May 12, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images)
Images of CryptoPunks displayed on a digital billboard in Times Square on May 12, 2021 in New York City. Photo by Alexi Rosenfeld/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 Thursday, April 21.


Paintings Stranded in Korea as Sanctions Stall Flights – Artworks on loan from Russia to institutions in Seoul are stuck in South Korea as a result of Western sanctions that are limiting flights out of the country. The exhibition “Kandinsky, Malevich, and the Russian Avant-Garde: Revolutionary Art” at the Sejong Museum of Art featured around 75 works, all on loan from at least four Russian institutions, including the Nizhny Novgorod State Art Museum and the Ekaterinburg Museum of Fine Arts. Earlier this week, Russia’s ambassador to France announced that travel disruption could “complicate the return” of art. (The Art Newspaper)

Tracey Emin Shares Highly Personal Pic on Instagram – YBA artist Tracey Emin is getting candid about her changed body since undergoing aggressive treatment for stomach cancer. In an Instagram post, the artist shared an image of her stoma—an opening in the abdomen that connects to the urinary system, and is diverted out of the body through a urostomy bag. “This is my stoma. Most people have never seen one. It’s something I’m supposed to hide forever,” she wrote. “My body will never be the same.” (Independent)

There Are Fewer Galleries Selling NFTs Than We Thought – The NFT market may have surpassed $40 billion in 2021, but only 11 percent of art galleries sold NFTS in the past year, according to the 2022 Artsy Gallery Insights Report. Some 67 percent of the 870 gallerists surveyed said their clients had not asked about them. Just about half of those that did sell NFTs said the total sales value was $5,000 or less, while another 20 percent said it accounted for $5,000 to $14,999. Just five percent managed to rake in more than $250,000 in NFTs last year. (Financial Times)

Artwork Deemed ‘Impossible’ to Show at Venice Biennale – A print by the late Cuban printmaker Belkis Ayon, La consagración (1991), which was selected to appear in the biennale’s main exhibition, “The Milk of Dreams,” did not make it to Venice after all. The work is housed at the Ludwig Museum at the State Russian Museum in St. Petersburg, but because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, it has become “impossible to show the work.” An image of it, however, is now on display at where the original would have been installed. (TAN)


Hans Ulrich Obrist’s ‘Brutally’ Early Morning Club Opens in Venice – Nearly 40 people took up the challenge to rise early on the third preview day of Venice Biennale to attend the Serpentine Gallery director’s “brutally early” at 7 a.m. salon. The club was initially founded in 2006 to bring writers and artists together for conversations before they start their day. This was the first time that the group, held an event in Venice. The focus of the discussion were the themes of “Dixit Algorizmi, the Garden of Knowledge,” the inaugural Uzbekistan pavilion. (Press release)

Christie’s New York Will Donate Proceeds to amfAR – Proceeds from the sale of 14 works featured in the auction house’s upcoming post-war and contemporary art day sale on May 13 will go to amfAR’s research initiative to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The works, including LeeLee Kimmel’s No. 8 ($60,000-$80,000) and Alex Eagleton’s Candle as a portrait : ciao ($18,000-$25,000), have been donated by the artists. (Press release)

Hong Kong’s Edouard Malingue Gallery Changes Name – The Hong Kong gallery founded by dealer Edouard Malingue has been renamed Kiang Malingue in honor of Malingue’s partner, Lorraine Kiang, and to celebrate their more than decade-long relationship. The announcement came ahead of the gallery’s participation in Art Basel Hong Kong in May. (Instagram)


A Wales Town’s Banksy Mural Was Replaced by One of… Michael Sheen? – Months after Wales lost its first and only Banksy mural, Season’s Greetings, which was removed and shipped to England, a mural of Welsh actor Michael Sheen has appeared in the town of Port Talbot, where the Banksy work used to be. It is said to be the first of several murals by graffiti artist HazardOne. (BBC, Twitter)

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