Art Industry News: Paddle8 Bankruptcy Proceedings Take a Heated Turn With Allegations of ‘Reckless’ Leadership and ‘Disloyalty’ + Other News

Plus, Quebec's culture minister pledges to overhaul the scandal-plagued Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and Tyler Mitchell joins Jack Shainman.

Paddle8's offices in New York during happier times. Photo courtesy Auctionata | Paddle8.

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 Monday, September 28.


Museum Trustee Defends Guston Delay Ford Foundation president Darren Walker, who is on the board of the National Gallery of Art, tells the New York Times that the institution has the board’s support in its decision to postpone a Philip Guston show by four years. He said moving forward on the show in its current form—organized jointly among four museums—would have appeared “tone deaf,” adding that “what those who criticize this decision do not understand is that in the past few months the context in the US has fundamentally, profoundly changed on issues of incendiary and toxic racist imagery in art, regardless of the virtue or intention of the artist who created it.” Yet the already-printed catalogue brought together voices of 10 artists—including Glenn Ligon, who is Black, and Jewish cartoonist Art Spiegelman—to reflect on Guston’s work, and in particular those that reference the Klan violence he witnessed in his youth. (New York TimesThe Art Newspaper)

Quebec Culture Minister Pledges to Overhaul Montreal Museum – The Canadian province’s culture ministry, which offers the scandal-ridden museum $16 million in funding, says it will force change to the institution’s management. The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts has a governance problem, according to an independent report that was commissioned after the abrupt dismissal of its director, Nathalie Bondil, in July. Following the review, the museum will consider creating an ethics committee or reducing the size of its board, in addition to improving its human resources department. It will also create a clearer procedure for employees to report grievances. (TAN)

Paddle8 Bankruptcy Trustee Sues Investor – The Paddle8 bankruptcy case is getting more and more knotty. The defunct online auction house’s bankruptcy trustee, Megan E. Noh, has filed a lawsuit against John Textor, who the suit claims is a former member of Paddle8’s board of directors. The lawsuit alleges the executive displayed “a reckless disregard for his duties” and “engaged in acts of gross mismanagement and disloyalty” by putting his own interests and those of his companies ahead of the stakeholders of Paddle8. Textor denies the allegations (including that he was ever a director of the company). The suit seeks $7 million in damages plus interest from Textor and companies with which he is affiliated. [UPDATE: The lawsuit was withdrawn after being filed.] (ARTnews)

Sculpture Put Up for Auction in UK Will Return to Iraq – An ancient Sumerian plaque dating to 2400 BC will be returned to Iraq after it had been smuggled out of the country. Soon after TimeLine Auctions offered the artifact for sale in 2019, the British Museum tipped off the Metropolitan Police to its potentially criminal provenance. The work was included in the sale with an incorrect date, description, and ownership history (it said it had been acquired through a private collection in the 1990s). The plaque will go on view at the British Museum for two months before its return. (Guardian)


Christie’s Reveals Highlights of October Sale – The auction house’s new livestreamed October evening sale is shaping up to be a behemoth, with a pre-sale low estimate of $300 million. It will be led by the work of three major Abstract Expressionists: Mark Rothko, Willem de Kooning, and Cy Twombly. The Twombly is expected to sell for between $35 million and $50 million and the Rothko, for up to $50 million. Both are reported to come from the shrinking collection of billionaire Ron Perelman. (Art Market Monitor)

The Olbricht Collection Hits the Block – One of Germany’s more prestigious collections received a warm reception at auction over the weekend. Endocrinologist Thomas Olbricht sold off several works after closing his Berlin museum. Top lots included Das Recht by Daniel Richter, which fetched more than €438,000 ($510,782), and John M. Armleder’s neon light installation O.T. (target), which totaled €193,000 ($225,071). (Monopol)

Jack Shainman Now Reps Tyler Mitchell – The 25-year-old star photographer (and Artnet Innovator) whose work bridges fine art and high fashion has joined the roster at Jack Shainman. Mitchell will present work as part of the gallery’s program throughout the next year ahead of a solo exhibition of new images in fall 2021. (Press release)


TeamLab Is Opening a Permanent Space in Shanghai – The multimedia art collective teamLab is opening its second permanent installation in Shanghai, inside the city’s Master nightclub in October. The installation, called Shower³, combines elements of previous projects and drenches viewers in a 3-D shower of light. (The Art Newspaper)

UAE Names Artist for Venice Biennale – The Emirati artist Mohamed Ahmed Ibrahim will represent the United Arab Emirates at the rescheduled Venice Biennale in 2022. Ibrahim was a pioneer of the contemporary art movement in the UAE in the late 1980s and is known for making sculptures and paintings from natural materials including clay, branches, and stones that evince a deep connection to the land. (The National)


New York Museum to Mount RGB Show – The New-York Historical Society has announced that it will host a traveling exhibition dedicated to the life and legacy of the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg next October. Called “Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg,” the exhibition has been organized by the Skirball Cultural Center in LA and highlights Ginsburg’s efforts to protect civil rights and equal opportunity. (Forbes)

Titus Kaphar Grapples With the Representation of Race in Renaissance – The American artist is re-examining the how race is represented in Renaissance religious iconography and art for his new exhibition with Maruani Mercier gallery in Belgium. The show, called “The Evidence of Things Unseen,” will open in a deconsecrated church in Brussels on October 16. On view will be Kaphar’s interventions on famous European art in which he overlays images of Black men and women onto white figures. (Guardian)

Derrick Adams Makes Art for a Children’s Hospital – The artist Derrick Adams has designed wall coverings to brighten up six treatment rooms in the pediatric emergency department at NYC Health + Hospitals in Harlem. The project, commissioned by RxArt, is called How I Spend My Summer Break and includes cheery images of swimming pools adorned with inflatable toys shaped like ducks and rainbow-sprinkled donuts. (Press release)

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