Art Industry News: Kim Kardashian Wore Marilyn Monroe’s Dress to the Met Gala—and Fashion Conservators Went OMG WTF + Other Stories

Plus, Barbara Kruger's "Your Body Is a Battleground" ricochets across the web, and a Dutch man gets four years in prison for a botched Monet theft.

Kim Kardashian attends The 2022 Met Gala. Photo by Gotham/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, May 4.


Barbara Kruger’s “Body Is a Battleground” Becomes a Rallying Cry – The artist’s collage—originally produced as a poster for the March for Women’s Lives in Washington in 1989—has resurfaced across social media in the wake of the leaked Supreme Court opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade. Asked recently about the frustratingly evergreen nature of her socially engaged art, Kruger said, “It would be kind of good if my work became archaic.” No such luck. (Los Angeles Times)

Dutch Man Gets Four Years in Prison for Monet Theft – As it turns out, even a botched art theft can have major consequences. A 49-year-old man accused of collaborating with another unnamed individual to try to steal Monet’s 1871 painting De Voorzaan en de Westerhem from the Zaans Museum in the Netherlands last August, has been sentenced to four years. The museum acquired the work in 2015 for €1.16 million ($1.2 million). (ARTnews)

Curators Are Not Happy About Kim Kardashian’s Met Outfit – Textile conservators and fashion curators were aghast to see Kim Kardashian sporting the gown Marilyn Monroe famously wore to sing happy birthday to President Kennedy at the Met Ball. One conservator said she was “speechless.” Sarah Scaturro, a conservator at the Cleveland Museum of Art, said “my worry is that colleagues in historic costume collections are now going to be pressured by important people to let them wear garments.” The gown was lent to Kardashian by Ripley’s Believe It or Not in Orlando (which, observers noted, is not a museum). (LAT)

German Culture Minister Speaks Out About Documenta Row – Germany’s culture minister has weighed in on allegations that the quinquennial show features “anti-Israeli activists.” “Anti-semitism has no place at the Documenta,” Roth said—but she added that “artistic freedom is a key point.” Documenta runs from June 18 to September 25 in Kassel. (Monopol)


Smithsonian American Art Museum Acquires 200 Works for Craft Collection – An acquisition campaign tied to the 50th anniversary of SAAM’s Renwick Gallery has brought more than 200 objects into the collection since its launch in 2020. These acquisitions have helped to boost the representation of Black, Latinx, Asian American, LGBTQ+, Indigenous, and female artists at the museum’s permanent collection. (ARTnews)

Gagosian Plans Nam June Paik Survey – The gallery is planning an ambitious two-part survey of the pioneering Korean-born artist. The first chapter will run from May 24 to July 22 at the gallery’s 555 West 24th Street space. It is curated by John G. Hanhardt, who was behind several key Paik retrospectives, including a 1982 show at Whitney and the 2000 exhibition at the Guggenheim in New York. (Press release)

Princeton Museum Acquires Pre-Raphaelite Work by Rebecca Solomon – The museum picked up the 1861 painting A Young Teacher at Sotheby’s London in March for £302,400 ($378,385, including fees). James Steward, director of the Princeton University Art Museum, said the remarkable canvas is a testament to Solomon’s work as a reformer. (The Art Newspaper)

Bataclan Banksy Thieves Get Court Date – Eight men—seven from Lyon and one from Italy—who were accused of stealing the door Banksy painted at the Bataclan concert hall in January 2019 will be tried at Paris Criminal Court from June 8 to 10. The suspects are between the ages of 31 and 58. (Le Monde)


Frank Lloyd Wright House in Virginia Hits the Market – Cooke House, one of three homes designed by the great architect in Virginia, is on the market for $3 million. It was commissioned by Andrew B. and Maude Cooke in 1953, with floor plan finalized in 1957. It was finally completed in 1960, nearly a year after Wright’s death. The Cookes lived in the 3,000-square-foot, four-bedroom house for 23 years. (Designboom)

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