Art Industry News: Trump’s New Immigration Rules May Target Artists as ‘Frivolous’ + Other Stories

Plus, Walmart donates $2 million to Crystal Bridges's new contemporary outpost and software guru John McAfee launches a crypto-artist residency.

US President Donald Trump. Photo by Chip Somodevilla/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 this Friday, September 14.


Walmart Gives $2 Million to Crystal Bridges Contemporary – The Momentary, a vast contemporary art space under construction by the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, has gotten a $2 million boost from Walmart. The museum founded by the Walmart heiress, Alice Walton, plans to turn a former Kraft Foods factory in Bentonville, Arkansas, into a multidisciplinary art space by 2020. (Northwest Arkansas Democrat)

Jan Fabre Is Accused of Sexual Harassment – The Belgian artist and choreographer has been accused of sexual harassment in an open letter. About 20 employees and interns who have worked with Fabre’s at his Troubleyn Theatre Company have complained about his behavior, which they say includes humiliating and trying to obtain sexual favors from dancers. Fabre and the company have denied the allegations. “I regret that this media storm is taking down an entire company and is standing in the way of a fair trial,” the artist said in a statement. (Brussels Times)

Trump’s Immigration Crackdown Targets Artists – The US government is making it harder for artists to get work permits or visas as part of its crackdown on immigration. As of this week, officials can deny applications they decide are “frivolous or meritless,” and they do not need to say why. Critics fear decisions will be arbitrary and testimonial letters will be ignored “no matter who they are from, how specific or how well documented.” (Observer)

Artist Pyotr Pavlensky Released from Detention – The Russian political performance artist who recently set fire to the Bank of France has been released by authorities from pre-trial detention and ordered to report regularly to the court before his trial begins in January. Pavlensky previously fled Russia for France, but now says the treatment of prisoners in the Fleury-Mérogis prison is worse than at home. Outside the courthouse, activists from the political protest group Femen showed their support by recreating his first performance in which he sewed his own mouth shut. (The Art Newspaper)


Art Advisor Sells Kerry James Marshall’s Study – Joel Straus is cashing in on Kerry James Marshall’s soaring auction prices. The art advisor is selling Study for Past Times (1997) at a guest-curated Sotheby’s sale in New York. The finished painting sold for more than $21 million to Sean Combs in May. Straus bought the study from the artist at the same time he bought the finished work for the McCormick Place Art Collection in Chicago for $25,000. The study now carries an estimate of $900,000 to $1.2 million. (ARTnews)

Hollis Taggart Tests Third Chelsea Space – The New York gallery plans to occupy a 500-square-foot space this fall at the flashy new High Line Nine building. After December, it will decide whether to make it a permanent location. Hollis Taggart moved to 521 W. 26th Street and opened private viewing and storage annex in Chelsea earlier this month. (Press release)

Various Others Gallery-Share Weekend Opens – Munich hosts Germany’s latest gallery-share program—called Various Others—this weekend. Among the visiting dealers is mega-gallery Hauser & Wirth, which is setting up shop at Galerie Christine Mayer. The program also offers major exhibition openings, including Thomas Hirschhorn at Villa Stuck, Jörg Immendorff at Haus der Kunst, and Sophie Calle at Espace Louis Vuitton. (Various Others)


Korea Announces Plans for Venice Biennale – Curator Hyunjin Kim has selected three artists to represent Korea at its pavilion in Venice in 2019: Hwayeon Nam, Siren Eun Young Jung, and Jane Jin Kaisen. The exhibition will focus on “women and gender-diversified narratives that interrupt, break away from, and reconstruct previous understandings of modernization in the region of East Asia.” (ArtAsiaPacific)

Leonard Lauder Donates a Gris to the Met – Juan Gris’s The Musician’’s Table (1914) joins other Cubist works by Braque, Picasso, and Léger in the Leonard A. Lauder Cubist Collection at the Met. The papier collé work was acquired with funds donated by the American businessman and chairman emeritus of the Estée Lauder Companies Inc., and brings the total number of works in the Cubist collection to 83. (Art Daily)

McAfee Software Guru Launches Crypto Artist Residency – John McAfee, the head of the eponymous antivirus company, announced on Twitter that he is launching the residency to reveal “the Crypto Space through art.” Artists will be selected for a one-month, travel and expenses-paid program at Team McAfee’s Beach Cottage. All art made during the residency will be owned by the McAfee Foundation. The artist won’t be paid because McAfee believes “art created for free is, universally, superior to paid commissions.” (Glasstire)


Irish Museum Defends Sharon Tate Show Ahead of Auction – The Museum of Style Icons in Newbridge, Edinburgh, is defending its decision to show the clothes and personal belongings of the murdered actor, including a used mascara wand, saying the grisly show is not about her murder but her status as a 1960s style icon. “It is up to the public to decide for themselves whether they think it is controversial or not, but what we are doing is honoring Sharon’s memory,” the museum stated. The exhibition was partly curated by Tate’s sister Debra, who is selling the objects at Julien’s Auctions in Los Angeles next month. (Irish Times)

Cuban Artists Issue Manifesto Against Censorship – More artists have joined the campaign against Cuba’s controversial “Decree 349,” which would prohibit artists from making work without the permission of the government. The protesters have released a manifesto denouncing government censorship and setting out principles for artistic freedom. They hope to gather 10,000 signatures to legally qualify the issue for discussion in a public debate. (TAN)

Gucci Celebrates Shanghai Exhibit With Four Murals – The luxury fashion brand has unveiled Marina Abramović-inspired murals in New York, London, Milan, and Hong Kong to tease the upcoming Maurizio Cattelan-curated exhibition “The Artist Is Present” in Shanghai’s Yuz Museum. The show, which opens October 11 and is supported by Gucci, explores the art of copying and cultural appropriation. (WWD)

Artist Installs Mermaid Tails in an LA Laundromat – Angelenos looking to do their laundry might stumble upon Olivia Erlanger’s surreal mermaid installation. The artist, who says mermaids interest her as a “genderless archetype,” has installed the life-sized fishy tails poking out of the machines at the Laundry Zone in Arlington Heights. “I hope that the mundanity of the everyday can be fractured for a moment,” Erlanger says. (LA Magazine)

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