Art Industry News: François Pinault and Bernard Arnault Pony Up Their $300 Million Pledges to Restore Notre-Dame + Other Stories

Plus, Phillips will sell the art collection of an interior design pioneer and the president of London's Royal Academy steps down.

A bouquet of flowers is seen in front of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France, on April 17, 2019. Photo courtesy Xinhua/Alexandre Karmen 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 Thursday, September 26.


Marina Abramović Gets a Warm Welcome Home – The artist was finally present again in her hometown of Belgrade, Serbia, after not having shown there for around 50 years. Ahead of the opening of her landmark exhibition “The Cleaner” on Saturday at the city’s Museum of Contemporary Art, the performance artist was on the cover of every local newspaper. The museum’s permanent collection has been put in storage to make room for the final chapter of her touring retrospective, which presents 120 works from the 1960s to the present, including several of her career-making performances. “Marina’s show will change everything,” says the museum’s acting director Slobodan Nakarada, describing the ripple effect the survey will have on the Serbian art scene. (New York Times)

Could Private Museums Insulate the Art Market From a Recession? – Georgina Adam surveys the art market’s prospects for the months and years ahead as global economic crises threaten the trade. In the first six months of 2019, auction sales at the leading houses declined overall by 20.3 percent. But the top of the market may be bouyed by the rising number of privately funded museums and foundations, which need art to fill them. “The art market might shrink a little,” Adam reasons, “but it is unlikely to collapse any time soon.” (The Art Newspaper)

French Billionaires Finally Make Good on Notre-Dame Pledges – The French business tycoon behind LVMH has formalized his €200 million ($218 million) pledge to help rebuild Notre Dame, which he made in the aftermath of the devastating fire in April. Meanwhile, fellow luxury-goods tycoon François Pinault is due to sign a deal with the Catholic charity next week to finalize its donation of €100 million. The two billionaires will spread their donations out over several years and participate on a committee to monitor the restoration. So far, the church has received €380 million ($415 million) of the nearly €850 million ($930 million) promised in the aftermath of the blaze. Donations have come in from 46,000 individuals, 60 companies, and 29 French and foreign public authorities. (Les Journal ArtsThe Art Newspaper)

Are Art Fairs in Trouble? – The Financial Times diagnoses a number of challenges facing art fairs today, including rising fairtigue, the hefty cost of relentless international travel, and growing concerns about the environmental impact of such large-scale events. Galleries are also taking more control of their schedules today, either by shifting to offer more works online or by doubling down at home with increasingly museum-like spaces. In the end, says Gagosian’s Sam Orlofsky, “art fairs are the biggest threat to art fairs.” (Financial Times)


Phillips Will Sell the Collection of Florence Knoll Bassett – This fall, Phillips is offering 50 works from the collection of pioneering designer Florence Knoll Bassett, who died at the age of 101 this year and is credited with helping establish interior design as a profession. The lots provide a glimpse into her personal life and reveal the modernist decoration of her two houses in New York and Florida. Her collection includes work by Rufino Tamayo and Morris Louis. (NYT)

NADA Miami Releases Exhibitor List – There will be 135 international exhibitors at the NADA Miami fair in December. New participants include the London nonprofit Gasworks and Galería Alegría of Madrid, while New York’s Rachel Uffner Gallery and Tokyo’s Misako & Rosen are among the returning galleries. James Fuentes and Sargent’s Daughters, among a few other NADA regulars, are noticeably absent from this year’s edition. NADA Miami runs from December 5 to 8 at Ice Palace Studios. (ARTnews)

David Zwirner Hires Skarstedt Director – The gallery has named Brady Doty, who previously served as a partner at the London- and New York-based gallery Skarstedt, as its new senior director. She will focus on the secondary market and operate out of the gallery’s Upper East Side location beginning January 1. Doty, a specialist in art from the 1980s, also previously worked at Gagosian. (ARTnews)


Royal Academy President Steps Down The artist Christopher Le Brun will step down as president of the Royal Academy of Arts in London after eight years at the helm. During his tenure, he has overseen numerous blockbuster exhibitions, a diversification of its membership, and the modernization of the RA’s historic home, which was completed just in time to mark the artist-run institution’s 250th anniversary. (Press release)

The National Gallery of Art Announces New Hires – The National Gallery in Washington, DC has made four new appointments. Betsy Wieseman is leaving the Cleveland Museum of Art to become NGA’s head of northern European paintings; Shelley Langdale has been named head of Modern prints and drawings; Brooks Rich is the new associate curator of Old Master prints; and Aaron Wile is now associate curator of French paintings. (Press release)

Joan Mitchell Foundation Grants Awarded – The late artist’s foundation has announced the 25 recipients of its 2019 painters and sculptors grants. The artists include Lauren Halsey, Baseera Khan, Daniel Lind-Ramos, Kate Newby, and Young Min Moon. As part of the grant, they earn $25,000 and the ability to apply for a residency at the Joan Mitchell Center in New Orleans, (Artforum)

MIT List Center Names New Curators – The visual arts center in Cambridge, Massachusetts has appointed Christopher Ketcham as associate curator of public art and the permanent collection. Selby Nimrod has been promoted to assistant curator for exhibitions. (Artforum)


New Art and Climate Fund Forms – The TBA21-Academy, founded by collector and philanthropist Francesca Thyssen-Bornemisza and Markus Reymann, has launched a new initiative: the Ocean Academy Fund. The fund will raise money and promote ocean-related research and outreach led by both scientists and artists as well as policymakers, curators, and academics. (ARTnews)

See Feminist Artist Linder Sterling’s Saucy Merch – The artist Linder Sterling has launched a characteristically raunchy line of tableware at the artist-led Studio Voltaire’s pop-up store in Mayfair. In addition to Sterling’s naughty dinner plates, napkins, and tablecloths, the shop offers limited-edition blankets by Camille Henrot, Laure Provost, Michael Craig-Martin, and Nicolas Party, among other in-demand artists. Various art-world luminaries are sharing shopkeeping duties at the House of Voltaire, the profits of which will support the artists’ studio complex in South London. (Wallpaper, Instagram)

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