Art Industry News: Smoking Is Having a ’Sexy and Ethereal ‘80s Revival’ Among the Cool Art Crowd, Apparently + Other Stories

Plus, a British art worker returns to the U.K. after a nearly four-year detention in Iran, and Prince Charles shows off his watercolors.

Paging David Hockney! Smoking is... in? It's still bad for you, though. (Photo by Kirill KukhmarTASS via Getty Images)
Paging David Hockney! Smoking is... in? It's still bad for you, though. (Photo by Kirill KukhmarTASS 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 Friday, January 14.


Jailed Arts Worker Returned to the U.K. – Aras Amiri, an employee of the British Council who was arrested in March 2018 while visiting her grandmother in Iran, has finally returned home. Tasked with facilitating “greater appreciation of Iranian culture in the U.K.,” Amari was detained alongside other Iranians with British ties on espionage charges. After spending more than three years in prison, she was acquitted by Iran’s Supreme Court in August. She returned to Britain this week after the travel ban associated with her original detention had been lifted. (New York Times)

Prince Charles Launches Yet Another Art Project – On the heels of debuting a series of portraits he commissioned of Holocaust survivors, Prince Charles will be showing his own art as part of a fundraising initiative for his educational charity, the Prince’s Foundation. The exhibition of 79 watercolor landscape paintings—the largest-ever showcase of his work—opens at Garrison Chapel in London’s Chelsea Barracks at a time when the royal family is in the news for a very different reason: his brother Andrew has just been stripped his military affiliations and royal titles amid an ongoing sexual assault case. Painting “refreshes parts of the soul which other activities can’t reach,” Prince Charles said. The exhibition runs until February 14. (CNN)

Cool Art Kids Are Smoking Now, I Guess? – The stress and anxiety caused by the pandemic have led to some turn to cigarettes; sales increased in 2020 for the first time in two decades. A recent scene outside Clearing Gallery in Brooklyn saw 20-somethings embracing the habit. “Smoking is back,” said Isabel Rower, a 24-year-old sculptor. Kat Frey, a 25-year-old copywriter based in Brooklyn, said: “We’re having a very sexy and ethereal 1980s revival, and smoking is part of that. A lot of people I know are posting pictures doing it. I’m doing it. It’s having its moment for sure.” (NYT)

Former Nirvana Baby Refiles Suit Over Album Cover – Spencer Elden has filed another lawsuit against Nirvana over its use of his image on the cover of its album Nevermind after his initial suit was dismissed. The new complaint, which names Nirvana, Universal Music Group, and photographer Kirk Weddle as defendants, asks for $150,000 damages over “injuries Spencer Elden sustained during the ten years preceding the filing of this action” and the “ongoing commercial child sexual exploitation of him.” (Spin)


Independent Announces 2022 Exhibitors – A total of 61 galleries will be taking part in the upcoming edition of New York’s Independent art fair, held at Lower Manhattan’s Spring Studios from May 5 to 8. Sixteen galleries will be showing for the first time, including the Miami-based Nina Johnson, Kristine Kite from Los Angeles, as well as Kasim, Essex Street, and Nicola Vassell Gallery in New York. (ARTnews)

International Dealers Sign Up for Gallery Weekend Beijing – Western galleries including Sadie Coles HQ, Sprüth Magers, Almine Rech, and Timothy Taylor will be joining the upcoming edition of Gallery Weekend Beijing for the first time. The event will run from May 27 to June 5, with the first two days being VIP preview days. Other galleries featured in the visiting sector include London’s Pilar Corrias, the Hong Kong and Shanghai-based Edouard Malingue, and Balice Hertling from Paris. (Press release)

Ramat Gan Closes Over Feud – The Ramat Gan Museum of Israeli Art located near Tel Aviv has shut its doors after all 50 artists showing there demanded their art be removed in protest of the museum’s decision to take down a painting by David Reeb following a request from the city’s mayor. (The painting was said to be offensive to the ultra-Orthodox.) Although the museum sought to negotiate with the artists, they refused to cooperate unless Reeb’s work was restored. All events around the exhibition have now been canceled. (Times of Israel)


See Giles Walker’s Monster Sculpture – “Monster started with the idea of building a piece that played out the insecurities and pain of a nation in the midst of a communal nervous breakdown,” artist Giles Walker said of his ambitious installation, which opened at Left Bank Leeds on Thursday (on view through January 29). The artist began creating the work—which incorporates high-heeled shoes, lampshades, and strollers—a year before the pandemic. (Evening Standard)

Artist Giles Walker with his installation ‘Monster’ that has opened at the Left Bank in Leeds. Picture date: Thursday January 13, 2022. (Photo by Danny Lawson/PA Images via Getty Images)

Follow Artnet News on Facebook:

Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.


Subscribe or log in to read the rest of this content.

You are currently logged into this Artnet News Pro account on another device. Please log off from any other devices, and then reload this page continue. To find out if you are eligible for an Artnet News Pro group subscription, please contact [email protected]. Standard subscriptions can be purchased on the subscription page.

Log In