Art Industry News: Scientists Are Creating a Virtual Copy of Venice to Save the Catastrophe-Ridden City for Posterity + Other Stories

Plus, Trevor Paglen's latest exhibition is an uncharacteristic series of flower images and a former museum director is opening a gallery.

A gondola riding past the church of Saint Giorgio Maggiore on May 30, 2020 in Venice, as the country eases its lockdown. Photo by ANDREA PATTARO/AFP 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 Friday, September 11.


Another MoMA Trustee Is Subpoenaed in the Epstein Case – The Attorney General of the Virgin Islands has subpoenaed a second MoMA trustee, Glenn Dubin, in connection with the Jeffrey Epstein case. The hedge-fund billionaire and his wife Eva Andersson-Dubin (who previously dated the late sex offender) will join MoMA chairman Leon Black on the growing list of wealthy philanthropists being questioned about their business dealings with Epstein as part of a racketeering lawsuit against his estate. (Hyperallergic)

How Galleries Are Gunning to Take on the Auction Houses – When mega-dealers Acquavella, Gagosian, and Pace joined forces to sell the $450 million estate of financier Donald Marron, they presented a new kind of threat to auction houses competing for high-profile estates. While some big-name estates might value their family’s story being told and appearing at auction, others prefer the discretion that galleries can offer. The galleries’ pitch: while sellers risk public humiliation if their works fail to sell at auction (an outcome that can only be avoided with expensive guarantees), galleries can wait to find a buyer willing to pay the right price. (ARTnews)

Scientists Create a Digital Copy of Venice – Scientists and archivists have successfully created a digital avatar of the island of San Giorgio in Venice—every building, inside and out, has been recorded in such high resolution that the island now exists as a terabyte of data. Created with a LiDAR (light-detection and ranging) scanner and drones, the records will be used to help monitor the encroachment of water on the island as sea levels rise. (The Art Newspaper)

Mexican Feminists Storm Federal Building With Paint – A group of feminist activists stormed the National Human Rights Commission building in Mexico City in protest of the country’s high rates of femicide. In Mexico, 11 women are murdered each day and 98 percent of these crimes go unsolved. Activist groups #NiUnaMenos and Aequus have been occupying the federal building since September 3 and are in the midst of converting it into a women’s shelter. As part of their protest, they have covered the place in striking graffiti and have painted over portraits of male historical figures throughout the building. (Hyperallergic)


Former Museum Director Bill Arning Is Opening a Gallery – The art advisor and former director of the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston is opening a gallery in the Texas city. Bill Arning Exhibitions will open in a former bakery on October 7 with an exhibition of work by the Berlin-based artist Roey Victoria Heifetz. (Glasstire)

Artnet Auctions’ Urban Art Sale Soars – Artnet Auctions’ Urban Art sale brought in a total of $626,000, 95 percent more than the equivalent sale last year. Top lots include Banksy’s Trolleys, which sold for $48,000, and Morons (Sepia), also by Banksy, which sold for $78,000, both above their high estimates. Kool Koor’s Untitled fetched an artist record of $90,000 (est. $10,000–15,000). Meanwhile, STAN 153’s Untitled—which marked the artist’s auction debut—achieved $38,400 against a high estimate of $8,000. (Artnet Auctions)

Christie’s to Sell a Rare Basquiat – Christie’s blended evening sale of 20th and 21st century art in New York on October 6 will include a rare 1984 portrait by Jean-Michel Basquiat. The portrait, titled MP and depicting the artist’s friend Michael Patterson, has been off the market for 30 years and carries a high estimate of $6 million. It will be offered alongside works by Helen Frankenthaler and Joan Mitchell hailing from a New York private collection. (Art Market Monitor)


French Dealer Pierre Nahon Dies at 84 – The collector and founder of Paris-based Galerie Beaubourg helped steer early careers of Nouveaux Réalistes artists like Niki de Saint Phalle, Arman, and Yves Klein. (ARTnews)

Creative Time Names New Curator – Diya Vij has been appointed associate curator of the New York public art organization. Vij has previously worked at the High Line, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, and the Queens Museum. (Press release)

Swedish Photo Museum Is Expanding to Berlin – The Swedish photography museum Fotografiska, which has branches around the globe, is expanding to Berlin in 2022. It will take over part of a major new mixed-use site in the district of Mitte in a historic building that is getting a major revamp from Herzog & de Meuron. (Monopol)


Meet Three Artists Blending Mythology and Race in Their Work – Artists Calida Rawles, Pamela Phatsimo Sunstrum, and Harmonia Rosales are part of a growing group of artists challenging the stories we are told about life. Their work upends traditional narratives, myths, and fairytales that either center whiteness or a certain type of hero and have often cast Black characters—if there even are any—in darkness. Instead, these three present work that explores the intersection of myth, cultural narrative, and identity, creating more nuanced stories that offer a window into the complex interior lives of Black women. (New York Times)

Remnants of Ancient Palace Discovered in Jerusalem – Archeologists have unearthed the ruins of a resplendent 2,700-year-old palace in Jerusalem. The historic find includes three limestone column capitals and dozens of stone artifacts alongside pottery fragments. (Smithsonian Magazine)

Trevor Paglen Is Making Flowers With AI – For its first new show since lockdown, Pace is presenting new (and atypical) work by Berlin-based Trevor Paglen. “If you told me a few years ago that I’d be doing a body of work with images of flowers, I would have looked at you like you were outta your mind,” the artist wrote on Instagram. “But it’s been such an intense time and a sense of fragility has been overwhelming.” His show, “BLOOM,” is a series of photos colored by machine-learning algorithms. (Instagram)

The Internet Hates the New Coach x Basquiat Collection – Art fans are not too happy about a new collaboration between the fashion brand Coach and the late artist. “The Coach x Basquiat collection will never sit right with me,” one commenter wrote. The artist’s estate has an ongoing partnership with the licensing agent Artestar, which has been selling the rights to put his crowns and images on everything from keychains to purses. (Observer)

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