Art Industry News: Brazil’s National Museum Fears 90 Percent of Its Collection Has Been Destroyed + Other Stories

Plus, artist Deana Lawson shoots Rihanna for the cover of Garage magazine and the Ullens Center is expanding to China’s “gold coast.”

Drone view of Rio de Janeiro's treasured National Museum, one of Brazil's oldest, on September 3, 2018, a day after a massive fire ripped through the building. MAURO PIMENTEL/AFP/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 Tuesday, September 4.


UCCA to Open Museum in the Hamptons of China – Beijing’s prominent Ullens Center for Contemporary Art has announced plans to open a second location. Called UCCA Dune, the gallery is a partnership with a real estate company developing the coastal area where wealthy Beijingers have second homes, not unlike the Hamptons or Cape Cod. UCCA’s director Philip Tinari describes the domed building designed by Open Architecture as “Guggenheimian.” (The Art Newspaper, Blooloop)

Expert Explains His Doubts About Salvator Mundi Abu Dhabi’s Salvator Mundi is by Leonardo da Vinci and his assistants, with the stress on the “and,” argues art historian Matthew Landrus. In an op-ed, the Oxford University academic explains why Bernardino Luini, the most thoroughly “Leonardesque of the leonardeschi,” should be given credit for the most expensive painting ever sold at auction and be granted permission to step out of the shadows. (The Art Newspaper)

Brazil’s National Museum Fears 90 Percent of Collections Destroyed – The destruction by fire of the National Museum of Brazil in Rio de Janeiro has quickly become a symbol of the city and the nation’s problems. Cristiana Serejo, the deputy director, estimates that only 10 percent of the collection survived. So far, local leaders have been shifting the blame for the blaze. The institution’s director Alexander Kellner says staff has struggled since the museum’s budget was cut, but Brazil’s culture minister Sérgio Sá Leitão maintains that managers should take some responsibility. (New York Times)

Antony Gormley Will Flood the Royal Academy in 2019 – London’s Royal Academy of Arts will present a major solo show by the sculptor next year. For the exhibition, the artist will recreate an important work first made in 1991 called HOST, in which he flooded a room in an old city jail in South Carolina with mud and sea water from the city’s harbor. He has similar plans for a gallery in the RA’s building, although the source of the mud is to be determined. “I don’t think it’s going to be stinking Thames mud,” says the RA’s Tim Marlow. (Guardian)


Richter’s Skull Will Star at Christie’s – Gerhard Richter’s haunting canvas Schädel (Skull) (1983), which has not been seen publicly for three decades, is going on view at Christie’s Hong Kong before hitting the auction block in London during Frieze Week. The estimate is on request, but Marion Maneker reports it is between £12 million and £18 million ($15 million and $23 million). (Art Market Monitor)

How the Market—But Not Everyone—Bounced Back After 2008 – Ten years after the financial crisis, some artists’ prices have struggled to match their pre-2008 levels. Among them: Damien Hirst, Jeff Koons, Richard Prince, and Takashi Murakami. Auction house veteran Alex Rotter recalls the winter of 2008 and the following spring with a shudder. It was “gruesome,” he says, as sales nosedived and “everyone lost money.” But overall, the market has bounced back. Most agree that the future now lies in Asia—especially when the next US recession hits. (TAN)

Cromwell Place Recruits Georgina Adam – The journalist and art market expert has joined Cromwell Place in London as the chair of its membership committee. The planned gallery complex in South Kensington seeks members with a reputation for “honesty, integrity, and expertise.” If accepted, they will have access to viewing rooms, storage facilities, and a club room in exchange for an annual fee of around $7,000. (Press release)


Palestinian Museum Appoints a New Director – The cultural critic and writer Adila Laïdi-Hanieh will replace Mahmoud Hawari, who unexpectedly stepped down in May. The Algiers-born academic Laïdi-Hanieh will take up her new post at the museum in Ramallah at the end of September. (TAN)

Museum der Moderne in Salzburg Gets a New Director – Thorsten Sadowsky officially took up his post at the helm of the Austrian art museum on September 1. Previously, he served as director of the Kirchner Museum in Davos, Switzerland. (Press release)

Flowers Gallery Hires a Head of Global Operations – The London gallery has appointed Jennifer Francis as its director of global operations. Formerly the head of communications at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Francis most recently served as the director of marketing, communications, and visitor services at the Louvre Abu Dhabi. (Press release)

Artist Wins Major Public Commission in Glasgow – Sculptor Michael Visocchi beat out 21 other artists to win £45,000 ($58,000) to create a public artwork to mark the new location of St Rollox Church, which has to move from its current location in Glasgow to make way for a new road. (Glasgow Live)


Visitors Cheer New NMAAHC Admission Policy – Since it opened two years ago, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture has been one of the hottest tickets in town. But beginning on Monday, the Washington, DC-based museum launched a month-long experiment that allows visitors to enter without pre-secured timed passes. Guests began lining up well before 8 a.m. (Washington Post)

India Fights to Build the World’s Largest Statue – Two monuments are battling it out to become the world’s biggest statue, and both are in India. A incomplete monument to independence hero Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the “Statue Of Unity,” could be outdone by another off the coast of Mumbai depicting a Hindu warrior king. Both are twice as tall as the Statue of Liberty. The monuments race is costing various parties a collective billion dollars. (Art Daily)

Inside Herzog & de Meuron’s Hong Kong Arts Complex – The Swiss architecture firm has completed the latest phase of the long-delayed arts complex in Central Hong Kong. It took 12 years to transform the former police compound into the Tai Kwun center, which includes an art gallery and several venues for performing arts. (designboom)

Rihanna Models for Photographer Deana Lawson – The American artist and photographer captured pop queen Rihanna for the upcoming issue of GARAGE. This marked Lawson’s first fashion project. “You can’t mistake Deana’s photographs for anyone else’s,” said fashion editor Carlos Nazario. “But I did want to give her something a little bit different. I wanted to take all the elements—their grace and presence, and Rihanna’s fashion energy, and Deana’s particular style of photography—and we wanted to create something that felt new.” (GARAGE)

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