Art Industry News: Unicode Commission Approved New Emoji That Can Express the Misery of 2020 + Other Stories

Plus, three artists make the TIME 100 list and a prominent art-magazine publisher merges with a Hollywood production company.

The new emojis headed to your phone in 2021. Image courtesy of Emojipedia.

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 24.


Artists Make TIME’s Top 100 List – Artists Patrisse Cullors, Julie Mehretu, and Tourmaline made this year’s list of the world’s 100 most influential people in TIME magazine. Architect David Adjaye says the painter Mehretu “creates her own language that serves as a portal to a place where expressionism collapses time.” Cullors, who is an artist and a founder of the Black Lives Matter movement, was honored together with founding members Alicia Garza and Opal Tometi in an essay by Trayvon Martin’s mother, Sybrina Fulton. The three co-founders are also pictured on one of TIME’s eight covers this month. (ARTnews)

Banksy’s Balloon Girl Print Sells for $1 Million – Apparently Banksy buyers can take a joke. Christie’s online sale of Banksy prints that ended yesterday, titled “Banksy: I can’t believe you morons actually buy this sh*t,” was 100 percent sold by lot and achieved a total of £2.1 million ($2.7 million). The color print of Banksy’s Balloon Girl set a new world auction for a print by the street artist (as well as a record for a print sold in an online auction). The famous image sold for £791,250 ($1 million), far exceeding its high estimate of £350,000 ($445,600). (Press release)

New Emojis Try to Capture the Trauma of 2020 – Imagine if you were put in charge of releasing new emojis that might capture the year of 2020 (apparently, a dumpster fire wasn’t an option). This lofty task was taken on by Unicode Commission, the body that approves all new emojis. Last week, it green-lit more than 100 new emoji for release in early 2021, including a face with pinwheel eyes, a bandaged heart, and a heart on fire (OK, now we’re getting there). Also included in the drop is a wider variety of mixed-race couples and a wider array of beard and hair length options for men. You can see the full sample image set here. (Hyperallergic)

You Can Vote and See Art at This Museum – The Institute of Contemporary Art San José will become a polling site for four days, from October 31 through November 3. After casting their ballots, voters can stay and see a group show, “Personal Alchemy.” There is also a very political (but, the museum points out, not partisan) 50-foot vinyl mural by Iranian-born artist Amir H. Fallah commissioned by the museum. The piece, which includes poignant phrases like “my child is nowhere safe,” will wrap around the facade while two six-foot circular paintings slowly rotate in the windows. (New York Times)


Art Dubai Forges Ahead With In-Person Event – Art Dubai is proceeding with plans to hold an in-person fair next year, from March 17 to 20. It will expand beyond its usual location at the beachside gallery complex Madinat Jumeirah resort to venues in Dubai, Sharjah, and Abu Dhabi. Participants have not yet been announced. (Artforum)

The Fall Season Heats Up at Artnet Auctions – Artnet Auctions’ 20th century sale—featuring works spanning eight decades—realized $800,000, up 45 percent from the equivalent sale last year. Top lots included Pablo Picasso’s Portrait de Jacqueline au Chapeau de Paille, which achieved $130,000, and Roy Lichtenstein’s Weatherford Surrenders to Jackson, which fetched $192,000. Andy Warhol’s VOTE, a work on paper with a timely message, saw intense bidding and achieved $16,920 against a $5,000 low estimate. (Artnet Auctions)

Grimm Gallery Opens Tribeca Space – The Netherlands and New York-based Grimm gallery has appointed a new director, Polina Berlin, as it expands to a new space in Tribeca later this year. Berlin previously worked at Paula Cooper Gallery and Tribeca’s Ortuzar Projects. (Press release)


Reno Hotel Transforms Rooms Into Art Studios – At a time when tourism is on the decline (especially in the US), the Renaissance Reno Downtown hotel is transforming some of its rooms into art studios equipped with materials for people to rent out for $230 a night. Branding itself as a destination for creatives looking for a retreat, the hotel is also looking for artists to paint murals on its outdoor pool deck. (Press release)

Art Mag Publisher Merges With Hollywood Production Company – The Penske Media Corporation, which owns ARTnews and Art in America as well as other brands including Variety and Rolling Stone, has formed two new joint ventures in publishing and content with the global entertainment company MRC. The publishing venture is a new company called PMRC, which will oversee the publishing arm; the content venture will produce television, film, and live events. (ARTnews)


Pittsburgh Commission Recommends Removal of Columbus Statue – The Pittsburgh Art Commission has recommended that the city remove a statue of Christopher Columbus from Schenley Park. The mayor will now have to make a decision, which will be voted on again by the commission. The statue has been a divisive issue in the community: Native Americans and others objected to its presence while the Italian Sons and Daughters of America have vowed to fight for it in court. (Trib Live)

Snoop Dogg and Shepard Fairey Help Get Out the Vote – The rapper has teamed up with the street artist on a series of posters hoping to encourage first-time voters to participate in the upcoming US election. “I’m grateful to Snoop for being outspoken, stepping up civically, and showing that it’s never too late to empower oneself by voting,” Fairey said in a statement. Posters of the image will be put up in several cities across the country. (Instagram)

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