Art Industry News: A Beloved British Broadcaster Swears He’s Not Banksy Despite the Circumstantial Evidence + Other Stories

Plus, the longest-running John Cage composition changes its tune for the first time since 2013 and London's 1-54 fair announces its exhibitor list.

British television presenter Neil Buchanan of the series "Art Attack," circa 1990. (Photo by Tim Roney/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 Tuesday, September 8.


Pipilotti Rist Gets the New Yorker Profile Treatment – The 58-year-old artist has “the energy and curiosity of an ageless child,” writes New Yorker scribe Calvin Tomkins. The two came to know each other by way of studio visits before lockdown. Like many artists, Rist (whose immersive works are particularly unfriendly to socially distancing) has had major shows postponed or canceled this year. Tomkins charts her trajectory from a modest childhood in Switzerland (she didn’t like her name and decided to rechristen herself) to one of the world’s preeminent sound and video installation artists. Of Beyoncé’s homage to her in the music video “Hold Up,” in which she adapts Rist’s famous video smashing windshields with a flower sculpture, she said, “I would have preferred that Beyoncé did it with a flower and not a baseball bat, because it changes the meaning. But, no, I was very flattered.” (New Yorker)

John Cage’s 639-Year Concert Changes Its Tune – Organ²/ASLSP, a piece of music composed by John Cage that aims to be the slowest concert in the world, kicked off in 2001 and is set to finish in 2640. But a big development happened last week: it played a new sound. The work, installed in Halberstadt, Germany by the artist’s foundation, changed its tune for the first time since 2013. The town’s mayor said that the performance, which has remained constant amid a series of tumultuous decades, raises “philosophical questions about how we confront time.” (New York Times)

Art Attack’s Neil Buchanan Denies Banksy Theory – A social-media rumor run amok has compelled the beloved former host of the television show Art Attack, Neil Buchanan, to publicly deny that he is the world-famous street artist Banksy. “Neil Buchanan ISN’T Banksy,” reads a statement posted to his website this week. “We have been inundated with enquiries over the weekend regarding the current social media story.” The theory first circulated as rumors spread that Banksy works were showing up in places where Buchanan’s former band Marseille was playing gigs. The statement clarifies that “Neil spent lockdown with vulnerable members of his family and is now preparing to launch his new art collection in 2021.” But really, isn’t that just what Banksy would say? (BBC)

Locals Debate a New Antony Gormley Work – A new work by UK sculptor Antony Gormley, which is due to be unveiled in Plymouth later this month, has incited fierce debate among locals. Some have questioned the cost of the 12-foot, three-ton cast-iron figure, which is part of the inaugural exhibition at the Box, a new multi-disciplinary art center. The city has declined to disclose the cost due to a confidentiality agreement with the artist, but its tight-lipped response has only added fuel to the fire. (The Art Newspaper)


The Art World Tiptoes Back to Life – Galleries are tentatively reopening across the US, although much of the action remains online. Pace’s Marc Glimcher isn’t sure that visitors will flock to art spaces after Labor Day, but he says the show must go on. “We can’t just push everything off indefinitely,” he says. “Art doesn’t wait, trembling in a corner, for things to change. Art finds a way.” (Wall Street Journal)

1-54 London Exhibitors Announced – The contemporary African art fair has revealed the exhibitors that will be taking part in its 2020 London edition from October 8 to 10. The blended online and offline iteration will include 29 exhibitors, from Zimbabwe-based Gallery Delta to Lagos’s Polartics, showing work in person at Somerset House as well as on an online platform powered by Christie’s. The auction house is also hosting a pop-up exhibition of the fair at its Duke Street Gallery. (Press release)


Man Arrested After Protesting Benin Bronzes – A man who was arrested in January after protesting a display of Benin Bronzes at the Museum of London Docklands faces trial on September 18. He has pleaded not guilty to charges of using threatening language with intent to cause harassment. Although the museum does not want to press charges, one of the objects was slightly damaged in the incident, which some activists are describing as a “wake-up call for museums that still exhibit stolen African art.” (TAN)

Museum of British-Somali Heritage Comes to London – The artist Kinsi Abdulleh is crowdfunding to create a museum dedicated to the arts and heritage of the UK’s Somali community. Abdulleh plans to open her museum in East London in mid-2022, and will showcase British-Somali artists as well as celebrate Somali heritage, host educational workshops, and operate a community kitchen. (TAN)


Queen Elizabeth Hosts a Drive-In Movie Theater – Queen Elizabeth’s Norfolk residence Sandringham House is opening up to visitors for a series of drive-in movies this fall. From September 25 to 27, visitors can drive on in to watch movies including Bohemian Rhapsody and Moana at the royal residence. (House Beautiful)

A New Show Explores the Bond Between Celebs and Their Dogs – The British artist David Remfry has painted a series of portraits of celebrities and their dogs that will go on view at the Lightbox Gallery in the UK beginning October 8. Actors including Susan Sarandon and Ethan Hawke are featured with their pups. (TAN)

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