Art Industry News: Larry Gagosian on How a Complete Stranger Saved His Life One Night in London + Other Stories

Plus, a lawyer is accused of stealing his elderly client’s Yves Klein and the Art Institute of Chicago plans an ambitious architectural overhaul.

Larry Gagosian attending Paris Fashion Week in 2018. (Photo by Bertrand Rindoff Petroff/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, September 12.


Lawyer Accused of Stealing an Elderly Client’s Yves Klein – An 80-year-old collector in France has filed a complaint against her former lawyer for allegedly stealing an Yves Klein painting from her. The Paris prosecutor’s office and police are investigating the claim that he expropriated the painting, which is reported to be worth several million euros. The collector says that she was given the Yves Klein blue painting by the artist in 1956 when she was 17 years old. She says the lawyer took it away for safekeeping two years ago but now refuses to return it. (Europe 1)

The Art Institute of Chicago Plans a Revamp – The Art Institute of Chicago has invited the Barcelona-based architects Barozzi/Veiga to create a new masterplan for its campus. The architects have been asked to make the museum “more extroverted and modern” and less inward-looking. The Institute’s director, James Rondeau, says the plan is still in its early stages, but the architects have been quietly investigating the museum’s campus for the past two years. The project is expected to be the institution’s biggest makeover since Renzo Piano added the Modern Wing, which opened in 2009. (Chicago Tribune)

The Day Larry Gagosian Almost Choked to Death – The mega-dealer opens up to fellow gallerist Bill Powers in a candid interview for GQ magazine. When asked if he has ever had a near-death experience, Gagosian reveals that someone had to give him the Heimlich when he choked on a steak at the Balthazar restaurant in London. “It scared the shit out of me,” Gagosian admits, adding that he sent the Good Samaritan a case of wine as a token of his gratitude. He also reveals he got married in Vegas at the age of 21. Asked about his legacy, Gagosian declares: “The game’s not over yet.” (GQ)

Major Art Donated to UK Museums in Tax Deals – A Rubens painting of the Holy Roman emperor Charles V and a Damien Hirst sculpture of a decapitated pregnant woman are among the list of artworks that will be donated to UK museums and galleries in lieu of tax this fiscal year. All told, the treasures amount to £58.6 million ($72 million). The total value of the haul is more than double last year’s. (Guardian)


Pornhub Teams Up With… Maccarone Gallery – The Los Angeles-based Maccarone Gallery has teamed up with the online porn site. Gallerist Michele Maccarone chose the 50 works and Pornhub paid for the production and installation of the group show called “The Pleasure Principle.” Pornhub’s vice president Cory Price says: “We don’t just randomly sponsor art things—we want it to be part of the conversation of sex and sexuality in the art space.” (Bloomberg)

Art Basel Miami Beach Announces Lineup – Among the 269 galleries heading to Miami Beach this fall will be 20 newcomers to the fair. They include: Barro Arte Contemporáneo from Buenos Aires; Document, moniquemeloche, and Mariane Ibrahim Gallery from Chicago; Galería Agustina Ferreyra from Mexico City, and Central Fine from Miami Beach. (Press release)

Felix LA Releases Exhibitor List – The Hollywood-based fair Felix LA is expanding. The second edition in February 2020 will feature 60 gallerists, up from 41 last year. Newcomers include New York-based P.P.O.W, and Andrew Kreps. The Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, will also have a booth in the historic Roosevelt Hotel. (ARTnews)

Looted Mayan Sculpture Is Withdrawn From a Paris Auction – A Mayan sculpture due to be auctioned at Drouot in Paris has been withdrawn after protests by the Guatemalan ministry of culture. The bas-relief, which is believed to have been illicitly removed from the Piedras Negras site in the 1960s, had an estimate of $27,000 to $39,000. (LA Times)


California African American Museum Names Deputy Director – The California African American Museum has appointed Cameron Shaw as its new deputy director and chief curator. The writer, editor, and curator, who was the former director of New Orleans-based nonprofit contemporary art organization Pelican Bomb, will replace Naima Keith, who departed earlier this year for a job at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. (Press release)

Tate Beefs Up International Curatorial Staff – Tate Modern in London has named four new curators of international art with specialties in Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia. The new additions to the team are: Nabila Abdel Nabi, Osei Bonsu, Valentina Ravaglia, and Devika Singh. (ARTnews)

Met Brings in Canadian Cree Artist to Make Over the Great Hall – The Canadian Cree artist Kent Monkman will create two huge paintings for the Met’s Great Hall, which will be unveiled on December 19. The installation of the 11-by-22-foot canvases is part of a new series in which the museum invites contemporary artists to create new works inspired by the collection. (Vulture)


Politician Slams the Louvre’s Airbnb Deal – After Airbnb offered a private night to two lucky guests at the Louvre last April, the company announced a new offering: Eight small groups will be allowed to visit the French museum between September and December on Tuesdays, when it’s closed to the public. But French politician Ian Brossat is accusing leadership of commercializing the museum. In a letter, he says the cooperation with a commercial giant like Airbnb is disastrous and shocking. (Le Point)

Battle Between DC Mayor and Arts Commission Heats Up – The Washington Post offers a helpful primer on the ongoing battle between DC Mayor Muriel Bowser and the city’s art commission. On August 30, the Bowser administration attempted to secure the commission’s art collection by changing the locks of its art storage facility without warning. Commission employees were later given access, but the standoff continues ahead of October 1, when the commission spins off as an independent agency outside of mayoral control. (Washington Post)

There’s a New Art Fair and It’s Teensy – Do you love art, but find it’s just a little bit too big? Barely Fair in Chicago is the event for you. The fair, which launches its first edition on September 20, features tiny contemporary works in shoe box-size booths. The cute conceptual fair is charging only $25 a “booth,” and will host around 24 galleries. Chicago-based gallery Lawrence & Clark will offer some scaled-down blue-chip art by the likes of Barbara Kruger, Anish Kapoor, and Lawrence Weiner. (New York Times)


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Tokyo-based COBRA’s piece “Rat Museum For Rat” which will be presented by @goodweathr in N I N E days

A post shared by Barely Fair (@barely_fair) on

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