Art Industry News: Aretha Franklin’s Lavish Gowns Head to Auction + Other Stories
Plus, Paris's art market looks to cash in on Brexit and Sotheby's cancels its fall Italian art sale in London.
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 this Monday, September 10.
Monaco Investigates Dmitry Rybolovlev’s Largesse – The Monaco-based Russian billionaire collector is keeping a lower profile in the principality, fueling speculation that he might be relocating amid growing legal scrutiny. A local magistrate is investigating whether whether he offered law enforcement officials perks, such as free tickets to see his soccer team AS Monaco FC, during his ongoing feud with “freeport king” and art dealer Yves Bouvier. (New York Times)
V&A Director Calls for a Hotel Tax – Tristram Hunt says he enthusiastically supports a “hotel tax” on tourists to help fund free entry to the UK’s national and local museums, as well as other “cultural infrastructure.” When he was an MP, he questioned the policy—but now that he runs the V&A, he thinks it is a good idea, especially amid growing funding cuts for culture. “[The V&A] have had it bad, but local authority museums have been absolutely smashed over the last few years,” he says. (Telegraph)
Aretha Franklin’s Dresses Head to Auction – Julien’s Auctions is selling 30 outfits worn by the late Queen of Soul in its sale on November 10–11. The items include a red sequined dress designed by Arnold Scaasi that Franklin wore to a 1991 performance at the Radio City Music Hall in New York. Each gown is estimated to fetch around $4,000. Franklin was a fan of high fashion until the end: During her three-day public viewing in Detroit, she was dressed in a different outfit each day. (AFP)
Silent Resistance to Macron on African Restitution – Almost a year after the French president’s declared that “African heritage can’t just be in European private collections and museums,” setting off a global reckoning regarding restitution, two experts are due to deliver their official recommendations to Macron in November. Many observers—including French tribal art dealers and collectors—are waiting with bated breath. None will criticize President Macron directly, but the Brussels-based cultural property lawyer Yves-Bernard Debie says the politician has “sparked a fire that he will have great trouble extinguishing.” (Financial Times)
Paris Looks to Capitalize on Brexit – Dealer Emmanuel Perrotin, who accompanied President Macron on his recent visit to Washington, says Brexit uncertainties have a “silver lining” for the Paris art trade. As pro-business Macron also seeks to reduce some of the country’s wealth taxes, economist Clare McAndrew says France is poised to be in “pole position.” But Paris has a long way to go to overtake London. The UK has a 20 percent share of the global art market compared to France’s 7 percent, according to the latest Art Basel/UBS report. (FT)
Nino Mier Opens a Third LA Space – The Cologne- and Los Angeles-based dealer is opening a third space in the City of Angels. Nino Mier’s 5,000-square-foot gallery on Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood will debut with a solo show dedicated to painter Celeste Dupuy-Spencer on September 22. (ARTnews)
Christie’s Paris Sells Juan de Beistegui’s Art – Christie’s will auction off a collection of 18th-century French art and furniture assembled by Juan de Beistegui—the nephew of the legendarily ostentatious Spanish-French collector Carlos de Beistegui—today in Paris to coincide with La Biennale Paris. The 160 lots carry a combined estimate of €5 million to €8 million ($5.8 million to $9.2 million). (Art Daily)
Sotheby’s Drops Its Italian Sale – The auction house has decided to call off its regular 20th century Italian art auction, typically held during its October sales in London. Sales totals have halved at the annual sale in recent years, from $53 million in 2015 to $26 million last year. Sotheby’s said the market for Italian Modernists has “matured,” so the works will perform better as part of a larger sale. (FT)
COMINGS & GOINGS
Kassel’s Fridericianum Names Director – The art historian Moritz Wesseler, who has served as director at the Kölnischer Kunstverein in Cologne since 2013, will lead the Kassel museum where documenta is held. He replaces Susanne Pfeffer, who left to become director of Frankfurt’s Museum für Moderne Kunst. (ARTnews)
Palm Springs Museum Director Resigns Abruptly – Liz Armstrong will step down from her post on October 1, just three-and-a-half years after she took the helm of the Southern Californian museum. Board member Mark Prior will serve as interim director while the museum hunts for a successor. (Palms Springs Newswire)
Artist Irving Petlin Dies at Age 83 – The “totally unclassifiable” painter, known for his pastel compositions that documented the Vietnam War and riots in Paris and Los Angeles, died on September 1. Critic Kathleen MacQueen wrote that his work reinforced his belief that “art can sustain before our sight those events whose slippage from history would be as shameful as the cruelty perpetrated in the name of ‘just cause.’” (NYT)
FOR ART’S SAKE
Tom Sachs Will Sell Swiss Passports During Frieze Week – Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac in London will remain open for 24 hours on October 5 to host an installation by the artist Tom Sachs. He plans to issue Swiss passports round-the-clock for €20 each (British pounds or Swiss Francs not accepted). The project aims to “break down the borders and eliminate the concept of nationality,” the artist says. “Every man and woman may be Swiss.” (Art Market Monitor)
When Will Abu Dhabi Unveil Salvator Mundi? – Following the surprise announcement that the $450 million painting will not go on view at the Louvre Abu Dhabi later this month as planned, authorities at the museum and the city’s department of tourism have remained mum. There was no mention of the painting when the institution released its program for the next nine months, implying that it may not debut before July 2019. The painting will, however, be included in the Louvre’s Leonardo da Vinci exhibition next fall in Paris. (Le Journal des Arts)
Latest Attack on the List in Liverpool Condemned – The mayor of the northern port city, Joe Anderson, has denounced the “fascist thugs” who have vandalized artist Banu Cennetoğlu’s refugee memorial installation at the Liverpool Biennial for the third time since it was installed in July. Anderson has pledged yet again to replace the List, which was defaced with the words “Invaders not Refugees.” (Guardian)
Vigils Held Around the World for Shahidul Alam – Cities including New York, Dhaka, Washington, DC, and London saw protests and rallies over the weekend in support of the jailed Bangladeshi photographer. Protesters are calling for the release of the internationally renowned photojournalist, who is currently being held for criticizing the government of Bangladesh. (Facebook)
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