Art Industry News: The Biggest Vermeer Show of All Time Is Heading to the Rijksmuseum + Other Stories

Plus, Oman is joining the Venice Biennale for the first time, and stolen Nepalese artifacts are popping up around the world.

Johannes Vermeer's Girl with a Pearl Earring (ca.1665) in the Vermeer Room in the Mauritshuis Museum in The Hague, Netherlands. Photo by Michel Porro/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 Thursday, December 2.


Oman Will Participate in Venice Biennale for the First Time – The Sultanate of Oman will have its first-ever national pavilion at the 59th Venice Biennale next year, which opens on April 23. The planned show will feature five artists: painter Anwar Sonya, Hassan Meer, Budoor Al Riyami, and Radhika Khimji. The last works of late artist Raiya Al Rawahi will also be on view. The pavilion, which will be curated by Aisha Stoby, will be located in Venice’s Arsenale. (The Art Newspaper)

Carrie Mae Weems’s Armory Show Considers Her Decades-Long Career – The Park Avenue Armory opens a show today dedicated to the artist, titled “The Shape of Things.” The major exhibition is being described as the largest show of Weems’s work in the last decade, and it includes new works that explore the activism around the Black Lives Matter movement. Starting December 9, a performance series called “Land of Broken Dreams” will feature artist talks, poetry readings, concerts, and conversations. (New York Times)

Rijksmuseum Will Host the Biggest Vermeer Show Ever in 2023 – The Dutch museum is planning the “first and last” full retrospective on 17th-century master Johannes Vermeer, which will be the largest show dedicated to the artist ever. Rijksmuseum director Taco Dibbits told the Guardian that the fragility of the paintings, coupled with growing competition among museums for loans, makes it almost certain that a show on this scale will not happen again. The exhibition, which is a collaboration between the Rijksmuseum and the Mauritshuis in The Hague, will show The Girl with a Pearl Earring, Lady Writing a Letter with her Maid, and the newly restored Girl Reading a Letter at the Open Window from the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister in Dresden, Germany. (Press release and The Guardian)

Why Museums Are Filled with Stolen Objects From Nepal – Nepalese heritage activists are tracking down, and campaigning for the return of, thousands of items looted from the country’s temples and monasteries. After the country opened up to the world in the 1950s, its objects began to disappear into the illicit art trade, circulating the Western art market. Thanks to the global restitution movement, repatriation of Nepali artifacts are becoming more frequent. In New York this fall, the Met returned a 10th-century stone sculpture of the Hindu god Shiva to Nepal, the third item it has restituted sine 2018. (South China Morning Post)


Andy Warhol Foundation Names Grantees for 2021 Arts Writers – Some 20 writers have been named for the 2021 grants of between $15,000 and $50,000. Awardees include Fiona Alison Duncan, artist Tiona Nekkia McClodden, and cultural theorist Priyanka Basu. (Artforum)

Inaugural Winners of Gold Art Prize for AAPI Artists Announced – The Gold Art Prize has been awarded to Jes Fan, Maia Ruth Lee, Candice Lin, Moved by the Motion, and Miljohn Ruperto. The biannual prize gives $25,000 to five AAPI and Asian diaspora artists. (ARTnews)

Sotheby’s Hong Kong Sales Reach Historic Highs – The house’s modern and contemporary art sales to date this year in Hong Kong have reached a high of HK$4.7 billion ($603 million), 36 percent higher than the full year total in 2020. The overall sell-through rate also remains strong at 91 percent. (Press release)

Christina You Is Tapped for Gagosian China – You takes on the role of China representative for the gallery, joining after a six-year tenure at UCCA Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing, where she was director of development and creative strategy. According to Financial Times, her appointments comes as the gallery is experiencing an “unbelievable surge in demand” from the region. (Press release)


How Activism Animates Andrea Bowers’s Art  A major survey of Bowers’s work is on view at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, which will travel to the Hammer Museum in 2022. It is the largest-ever presentation of the artist’s work, and shows how she has dedicated her practice to uplifting political and cultural issues. “I’m literally making work about activism and activists,” she said. “I just offer my services, if they’re useful, and see if they’re O.K. with me also making some art.” Her work on view at the museum also gives space to others: Bowers asked the museum’s teenage program to invite a group to welcome into her show and they selected A Long Walk Home, an organization that uses art to discuss violence against women. They installed Black Girlhood Altar, a shrine with photos and flowers dedicated to missing and murdered Black young women. (NYT)

Andrea Bowers, Empowered Women from Andrew Kreps at Frieze New York 2019. Photo by Sarah Cascone.

Andrea Bowers, Empowered Women from Andrew Kreps at Frieze New York 2019. Photo by Sarah Cascone.

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