Art Industry News: Artist Hito Steyerl Declines Germany’s Highest Honor, Accusing the Committee of ‘Diversity-Washing’ + Other Stories

Plus, Jeffrey Deitch is bringing a $3 million bread house to Art Basel and the Kitchen launches a $28 million capital campaign.

Hito Steyerl. Photo: Brill/ullstein bild 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 17.


Nobody Cares About Anything That’s Not Painting Anymore – Despite the continued allure of Big Fun Art for Instagram selfies, it is the humble medium of painting that has kept collectors spending over the past two years. As Art Basel draws near, buyers are expected to flex their speculative muscles in the white-hot market for buzzy young painters. “People’s heads are just turned around by this phenomenon of paintings that can be bought for $25,000 and then are worth $5 million in a few years,” said dealer Jeffrey Deitch, who is bucking the trend and bringing a $3 million bread house by Urs Fischer to the fair. (Bloomberg)

Myanmar’s Artists Struggle – Artists in Myanmar are suffering along with the rest of the population under the Tatmadaw military dictatorship, worsening Covid-19 crisis, and a crashing economy. Artist Htein Lin has counted 117 artists, mostly of an older generation, who have died from the virus. “It reminds me of how intellectuals were all killed by the Khmer Rouge and they lost a generation,” he said. (The Art Newspaper)

Artist Hito Steyerl Declines Top German Honor – The German artist has turned down the Federal Cross of Merit to protest how the nation has handled the pandemic. In a letter published in Die Zeit, she said that the decision to choose her felt like a “diversity-washing” exercise for the honor, and explained that she felt the country’s partial lockdown was “half-baked and endless,” unfairly penalizing culture and education while allowing commercial pursuits to continue. (ARTnews)

Experts Declare Vinland Map Is a Fake – Experts have concluded that the Vinland Map, thought to be a 15th-century map depicting a section of North America’s coastline to the southwest of Greenland that allegedly proved the Norsemen were first to discover America, is actually a fake. Researchers at Yale University, which has owned the map since 1965, have found it is “awash in 20th-century ink.” (Daily Mail)


TEFAF Online Sells to Museums – Several museums went shopping at TEFAF Online, including Amsterdam’s Rijksprentenkabinet, which picked up a Venetian School work from Nicolaas Teeuwisse OHG, and the Clark Art Institute, which acquired a work by Hortense Haudebourt-Lescot from Gallery 19C. (Artfix Daily)

1-54 Announces Special Projects – Artist Lakwena Maciver will transform the courtyard of Somerset House with large-scale, interactive basketball paintings as part of the 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair in London from October 14–17. The fair is also teaming up with curator Christine Eyene, who will select works to be shown at Christie’s King Street Galleries during the fair. (Press release)

Sim Smith to Open New Gallery in London – Sim Smith will open a new space in October at 6 Camberwell Passage in South London, marking the gallery’s return to the Camberwell neighborhood, where it previously had a space. The first show will feature work by the London-based painter David Surman. (Press release)

NADA Is Opening a New York Project Space – The New Art Dealers Alliance has opened a project space at a mall in Manhattan’s Chinatown. The teensy space at 75 East Broadway—it’s around the size of an art fair booth—will show work by artists from member galleries based outside of New York City year-round. (Hyperallergic)

Artnet Auctions Goes to the Final Frontier – A sale of NASA photographs from the 1960s achieved stellar (get it?) results this week with a sell-through rate by value of 113 percent and an average transaction value of $8,600. The sale was the first of its kind hosted on the platform, offering historic vintage photographs taken by NASA during missions to space. (Press release)


The Kitchen Launches a $28 Million Capital Campaign – The New York arts nonprofit is looking to raise $28 million over five years to fund the renovation of its historic home on Chelsea’s West 19th Street. The Kitchen’s new director Legacy Russell is spearheading the campaign, which launched on Tuesday with a gala honoring artist Cindy Sherman and musician Debbie Harry. The overhaul will add new gallery space and an artist studio. (Artforum)


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