Art Industry News: Long-Lost Francis Bacon ‘Pope’ to Lead Christie’s London Sale + More Must-Read Stories

Plus, Roberta Smith weighs in on the Met’s big year ahead and the Victoria & Albert Museum acquires Jeremy Corbyn T-shirt.

Francis Bacon, Head With Raised Arm, (1955). Estimate: £7–10 million. Courtesy of Christie’s London.

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 5.


A Look at the IMA’s Controversial Director – Is Charles Venable, director of the Indianapolis Museum of Art since 2012, a visionary? Someone who has been able to expand the reach of the museum and tackle its fiscal woes? Or is he turning the museum into an elite-friendly, hedonistic affair? The jury is still out. (IBJ)

Roberta Smith on the Met’s Big Year Ahead – In an article tellingly titled “The Fall’s Most Fascinating Art Show? The Met Trying to Fix Itself,” the art critic wonders whether the prominent New York museum will be able to overcome its current crisis, triggered by “staff unrest, financial mismanagement, and overreach.” (NYT)

Frank Gehry to Design Thomas Krens’s Latest Museum Project – The architect behind the Guggenheim Bilbao will design a new museum a few blocks away from the Mass MoCA. But do not expect any art in the traditional sense: the new institution will feature models of trains running around famous buildings from the last 150 years. It is called… the Extreme Model Railroad and Contemporary Architecture Museum. (NYT)

New UNESCO World Heritage Sites Chosen – The Japanese sacred island of Okinoshima; Dauria, a wild landscape shared by Mongolia and Russia; and Asmara, the capital of Eritrea in East Africa, are some of the new inclusions. More controversially, the ancient city of Hebron, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, has been included as a Palestinian World Heritage Site. (New York Times)


Lost Bacon Painting to Lead Christie’s Sale – A rediscovered Francis Bacon painting will be auctioned during Frieze Week at Christie’s London’s Post-War & Contemporary Art auction on October 6 for a modest estimate of £10 million. It is the first time that the rare 1955 painting of Pope Pius XII, titled Head With Raised Arm, will be shown in public in 50 years. (Telegraph)

Einstein Letter Warning About the Rise of Hitler Sells at Auction – A 1938 letter that Albert Einstein wrote to a friend in which he warned of the rise of Hitler and criticized Neville Chamberlain’s policy of appeasement fetched almost £25,000 ($32,400) at auction. Featuring the prophetic line “I have no hope left for Europe,” the signed letter was sold by LA-based Nate D Sanders Auctions for an anonymous private collector. (Daily Mail)

Value of Vintage Cars Is Down, While Photo Market Is Up – Last year was not a good one for classic cars and works of fine art, although the photography and rare musical instrument markets thrived, according to the leading private bank Coutts. Value of classic cars fell by 10.4 percent last year and fine-art prices were down 6.2 percent, but photography seems to be emerging as a hot-ticket item for collectors. (The Guardian)

Rediscovered Works by Bill Traylor Headed to Auction – Two works by Bill Traylor acquired by a New York Daily News photographer in the 1970s are being sold by CRN Auctions at their annual September sale in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The works had been forgotten about, and the owner had been unaware of the rising value of Traylor’s work until recently. (Art Fix Daily)


DC’s National Gallery of Art Makes New Appointments – Christine Zapotoczky Kelleher, Emiko Usui, and Kathleen Williams will join the National Gallery of Art as chief of investments, editor-in-chief, and chief archivist. Roger Lawson will lead the Library Division, curators Harry Cooper and Molly Donovan have both been promoted, and James Meyer is welcomed back from Dia, where he had been chief curator and deputy director. (Art Fix Daily)

Wolfgang Hahn Prize Awarded – For the first time, the 2018 Prize will go to an Asian artist, Haegue Yang, at an award ceremony on April 17, 2018, during Art Cologne. The prize includes the acquisition of a work by the artist for the collection of the Museum Ludwig, an exhibition, and an accompanying publication. (Press release)

Anren Biennale Announces Participating Artists – From October 1 to January 10, more than 120 artists—including Joan Jonas, William Kentridge, Li Zhanyang, Chen Xi, and Xu Bing —will participate in the inaugural edition of the ancient Chinese city’s new biennial. Titled “Today’s Yesterday” and curated by art historian Lu Peng, the biennial will be divided into four thematic exhibitions that investigate how art is historicized. (Artforum)

Berlin Galleries Shuffle Around Districts  PSM gallery, which works with artists like Christian Falsnaes and Anca Munteanu Rimnic, is opening its next show in its new digs on Schöneberger Ufer, occupying the floor above Isabella Bortolozzi gallery. Meanwhile, Kraupa-Tuskany Zeidler, which represents artists like GCC, Slavs & Tatars, and Avery Singer, is moving to Kreuzberg, setting up shop in the same building as Galerie Barbara Weiss. (Press Release)


V&A Acquires Jeremy Corbyn T-Shirt – A Bristol Street Wear T-shirt bearing the Labour Party leader’s name accompanied by a version of the Nike swoosh has joined the museum’s collection for an exhibition mapping political influence on design trends. (The Guardian)

Women Spread Culture Around Europe 4,000 Years Ago – Ancient bone records show that women were responsible for the spread of new technologies and culture across Europe during the Stone Age. During a period of about 800 years, female remains are found to have made long journeys from their place of birth, men however typically died in the same area they were born. (Daily Mail)

Mexican Beach Photo Wins Saatchi’s Selfie Competition – A photo of a boy selling cotton candy on a beach in Tijuana, Mexico, has won the Saatchi Gallery’s #SelfExpression competition, gaining a solo exhibition at the London gallery. See Paola Ismene’s winning photo and a sampling of the 9,000 entries to the smartphone photography competition below. (BBC News)

Paola Ismene, Daydream in blue. Photo ©Paola Ismene 2017.

Hélène Vallas Vincent, Flying Blue Corsica. Photo ©Hélène Vallas Vincent 2017.

Casey Hennessy, Green Waterfall. Photo ©Casey Hennessy 2017.

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