Art Industry News: Jane Fonda and Judy Chicago Hatch Artsy Plans to Fight Climate Change + Other Stories

Plus, Karl Ove Knausgaard's searing profile of Anselm Kiefer and a Venice Biennale artist faces backlash.

Jane Fonda at a climate emergency rally. Photo: Ronen Tivony / Echoes Wire/Barcroft Media via Getty Images.
Jane Fonda at a climate emergency rally. Photo: Ronen Tivony / Echoes Wire/Barcroft Media 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 Thursday, February 13.


Zineb Sedira Faces Venice Biennale Backlash – Zineb Sedira, the artist selected to represent France at the 2021 Venice Biennale, is facing criticism from pro-Israel groups over her support for Palestine. One group wrote a letter to the French culture minister calling for the withdrawal of Sedira’s nomination because in 2017 she withdrew a work from a biennial in an Israeli city she referred to as “Occupied Palestine.” In a statement in response, Sedira says that she was not prepared for “the level of discrimination and intimidation” she received in response to her nomination, but that nonethelesss she will go ahead with representing France at the next biennale. (The Art Newspaper)

Artist Scraps Plan for Greta Thunberg Mural – Photographer Shane Balkowitsch has scrapped plans to create a seven-foot mural of the climate activist Greta Thunberg on the side of a bakery in North Carolina after the owner of the building was overwhelmed by threats of vandalism and boycotts. Balkowitsch had wanted to mark Thunberg’s visit to the Standing Rock reservation, but did not want to impact the bakery’s business. Brick Oven bakery owner Rolf Eggers said he had not anticipated “the incredible blowback about a picture.” (Daily Beast)

Jane Fonda Interviews Judy Chicago – The feminist artist Judy Chicago and the actress and climate activist Jane Fonda sit down with super curator Hans Ulrich Obrist to talk about their environmental activism. In discussing how to bring art into their efforts, they talk about creating a “new muralism”—inciting street art projects across the US—and about shaming financial institutions for investing in fossil fuels. “[We] need to issue an invitation to participate in the ‘It’s Urgent’ campaign in America, outlining what artists can do,” Chicago says. “Finding local companies and getting them to provide billboards to artists for free, so they can create murals, street art and images that can be circulated via the internet, printed out and passed around.” (Frieze)

Karl Ove Knausgaard on Anselm Kiefer – The Norwegian author Karl Ove Knausgaard’s profile of Anselm Kiefer in the New York Times Magazine is a good example of why you should heed the adage “never meet your heroes.” After long admiring the famous artist, Knausgaard portrays Kiefer as a showman obsessed with his audience, self-consciously manipulating those around him and staging encounters for dramatic effect in an effort to control his legacy. Knausgaard spends the course of the article striving to see beyond Kiefer’s apparent faux-earnestness, circle of admirers, and compulsive laughter into the man within. “Theatrics, role play, repetition, and routines belong to the external world, and what they do, what they are there for, is to protect the internal world,” Knausgaard writes. “And it is in the internal world that art begins.” (New York Times Magazine)


Rafael Viñoly Tapped to Design New Salon 94 Space – The architect Rafael Viñoly has been chosen to transform the former National Academy of Design building on New York’s Upper East Side into an art gallery. The Landmarks Preservation Commission has approved the plans to renovate the building to accommodate Salon 94. (Curbed)

Amoako Boafo Laments the Flipping of His Work – The emerging artist Amoako Boafo has spoken out against collectors who are flipping his work for profit at auction. His dealer Bennett Roberts is thinking of raising Boafo’s primary market prices to ward off speculators, and said he “begged” the collector-dealer Stefan Simchowitz not to flip a work bought recently at a public auction in London, to no avail. (Bloomberg)


Prospect New Orleans adds Dawn DeDeaux and Arthur Lewis to Board – The artist Dawn DeDeaux and Los Angeles-based curator Arthur Lewis, the creative director of UTA Fine Arts & UTA Artist Space, have joined the board of the New Orleans exhibition. Prospect 5 is due to open on October 24, when DeDeaux’s retrospective takes place at the New Orleans Museum of Art. (Press release)

Artist Emily Mason Has Died – The professor and Abstract Expressionist artist Emily Mason has died at age 87. She taught at Hunter College for 25 years. Her mother was the painter Alice Trumbull Mason, a co-founder of the American Abstract Artists. (Artforum)

High Museum Honors Artist Jamal Cyrus – The Atlanta-based museum awarded Cyrus the 2020 David C. Driskell Prize for his contributions to African American artwork, along with a $25,000 award. Cyrus’s conceptual work explores the gaps in broad understanding of how cultural heritage is documented and taught among African American communities. Past winners include Amy Sherald and Naima Keith. (Press release)


Kehinde Wiley Faces Off With David – The Brooklyn Museum has borrowed Jacques-Louis David’s Bonaparte Crossing the Alps (1801) from the Château de Malmaison near Paris. The New York museum is restaging last year’s face off in France between David’s dashing portrait and Kehinde Wiley’s much later version, which features a black equestrian figure as Napoleon. Critic Jason Farago hails the pairing but thinks that Beyoncé’s video for her song “Apes**t,” shot at the Louvre in front of another epic Napoleonic canvas by David will be a more enduring work of art. (New York Times)

Museum Chairman Denies Funding Boris Johnson’s Luxury Holiday – The art collecting mobile phone billionaire David Ross insists that he did not fund for the UK Prime Minister’s Christmas vacation in the Caribbean to the tune of $20,000. Boris Johnson is facing questions after declaring he stayed at a villa owned by Ross, who is chairman of the National Portrait Gallery in London. (Guardian)

Members of Germany’s Far Right Want a Bigger Memorial for Dresden – On the 75th anniversary of the devastating bombing of Dresden during World War II, the far right AfD party wants a bigger monument to the dead. It has been accused of downplaying Nazi crimes and repeating propaganda that the city was an innocent victim, as well as exaggerating the death toll. (France24)

MoMA Sculpture Garden Will Become a Temporary Car Lot – The New York museum will show five cars in its famed sculpture garden during the upcoming exhibition “Automania” about our conflicted feelings about motor vehicles. Classic models include a Citroën DS 23 sedan and a Porsche 911 coupé (1965), which are new acquisitions that have never before been seen at MoMA. The show is due to open on June 28. It will be the second time the museum has parked cars in its backyard. The architect and curator Phillip Johnson did it first in 1951. (ARTnews)

1938 Volkswagen Type1Sedan. MoMA.

Ferdinand Porsche, Volkswagenwerk AG, Wolfsburg, West Germany. Volkswagen Type 1 Sedan. Designed 1938 (this example 1959). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Acquired with assistance from Volkswagen of America, Inc. Photo by Paige Knight.

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