Art Industry News: Larry Gagosian Contemplates His Next Move From His Lockdown Hideaway in the Hamptons + Other Stories

Plus, Billie Eilish and Takashi Murakami design a Uniqlo collection and JR creates a digital yearbook for graduating high school seniors.

Larry Gagosian on March 14, 2019, in New York City. (Photo by Patrick McMullan/Patrick McMullan 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 Monday, May 18.


Will a Collector Exodus Threaten Berlin’s Status as an Art Hub? – A number of billionaire art collectors have recently withdrawn their collections from Berlin, including Friedrich Christian Flick and Thomas Olbricht. Video art collector Julia Stoschek also threatened to close her space following a steep rent hike. Local media blames the increasing hold of the real-estate industry on the city, writing that Berlin is gradually morphing “from a creative hub into a stronghold for property speculators.” But billionaire art collectors are not the only ones being impacted by the property market, and the city’s left-wing culture senator Klaus Lederer is reluctant to give special privileges to the ultra-rich when less well-funded cultural spaces are also under threat. (Guardian)

JR Made a Snapchat Yearbook for Graduating Seniors – On May 16, TV networks across the US aired Graduate Together: America Honors the High School Class of 2020, a special that included contributions from celebrities and a new participatory art project by street artist JR. Together with the XQ Institute, the artist created what may be the “largest-ever high school yearbook”—an online catalogue where graduating seniors from across the country can submit their images. (Observer)

Larry Gagosian’s Life in Isolation – The world’s most famous art dealer checks in with Bloomberg from his house in the Hamptons, where he has been riding out the lockdown. “When things go down like this you say, ‘Jesus, Larry, do you really need all these galleries?”’ he said. But the dealer contends he is wired for the challenge, having started as an outsider with no connections in the art market. Gagosian has already furloughed part-timers and paid interns, and may need to make more difficult choices down the line. Without the opportunity to physically look at art, it’s hard to sell. “It’s difficult to even move a painting, to get a truck, to get someone to do a condition report,” he said. “All the things the art world takes for granted have become very problematic.” (Bloomberg)

New Evidence Shows We Were Wrong About Pierre Bonnard’s Wife – A new study has revealed that Pierre Bonnard’s wife and muse Marthe might not have been the antisocial and paranoid wreck she is often made out to be in art history books. New evidence has surfaced suggesting that a battle over Bonnard’s legacy and vast fortune tarnished her reputation. After Marthe died, Bonnard was charged with forging papers to prevent her family from inheriting half of his paintings. After his death, Bonnard’s family then fought this judgment by painting Marthe as a jealous recluse who never told her husband about her own family. (Guardian)


Dealer Launches an Auction House for Black Art – The Indianapolis dealer Thom Pegg of Tyler Fine Art has launched a new auction house, Black Art Auction, dedicated to the work of black artists. At its inaugural sale on May 16, a Sam Gilliam sold for $750,000 and an Alma Thomas for $130,000, although 42 of the 152 lots failed to find buyers. “Creating an auction entirely dedicated to the sale and scholarship of African American art allows the audience to develop a better perspective on the history of the artist’s lives, especially styles and subject matter unique to black artists,” Pegg said. (ARTnews)

Sotheby’s Sets New Record for Sneakers – A game-worn pair of Michael Jordan’s 1985 autographed Nike Air Jordan 1s sold at a Sotheby’s online sale for $560,000, flying over the pre-sale estimate of $100,000 to $150,000. The price represents a new auction record for sneakers, beating out the house’s previous record for Nike’s “Moon Shoes.” (Press release)

Artnet Auctions Prepares New Contemporary Sale – A rare still-life example of one of Tom Wesselmann’s painted aluminum wall works expected to fetch between $300,000 and $500,000 will lead Artnet Auctions’s upcoming postwar and contemporary art May sale, which includes more than 60 works by the likes of Sigmar Polke, Eddie Martinez, Gerhard Richter, and Oscar Murillo. The sale, which has an aggregate low estimate of $2.8 million, closes on May 28. (Artnet Auctions)

Galerie Gmurzynska Reopens in Europe – The international gallery reopened its three locations in Switzerland on May 12, adhering to strict social-distancing guidelines. Each gallery is admitting 10 guests at a time, with private viewings available upon request. For those unable to come in person, the gallery’s owner Isabelle Bscher has also launched a series of Instagram Live conversations. Guests include Diana Picasso (granddaughter of Pablo Picasso) and Joan Punyet Miró (grandson of Joan Miró). (Press release)


Spanish Painter Juan Genovés Dies at 89 – The celebrated realist painter who grew up during the Spanish Civil War and captured the country’s postwar political upheaval and the fascist dictatorship of Francisco Franco died of natural causes. He was best known for paintings of crowds depicted from an aerial perspective that blurred the line between the individual and the collective. (ARTnews)

Los Angeles Approves Plan to Use Developer Fees for Arts Grants – The LA City Council will take fees paid by developers in support of now-canceled or planned cultural events and turn the the money into small grants for artists, arts organizations, and live performance spaces. There will be tiered grants of $500 and $2,000 for artists and $3,000 and $5,000 for arts organizations with budgets under $800,000 a year. (Los Angeles Times)

Beatles Photographer Astrid Kirchherr Has Died – The German photographer who became renowned for her black-and-white images of the Beatles has died at age 81 from cancer. In addition to capturing the band members in their early days, she also influenced their style: she inspired their flat-top hairdos by combing out the hair of her boyfriend Stuart Sutcliffe, the original bassist in the Beatles. (Guardian)


The Nasher Unveils a Street-Facing Exhibition – The Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas may be closed (despite the governor’s best efforts), but it’s offering culture-hungry Texans the chance to see art from a distance. The museum is launching Nasher Windows, a series of exhibitions in the Nasher’s entrance hall viewable from outside. The first installment, opening May 22, features work by Dallas-based artist Tamara Johnson. (Press release)

Guess the Painting Meghan and Harry Are Enjoying at Tyler Perry’s House – Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are spending their lockdown at filmmaker Tyler Perry’s Beverly Hills home—and they seem to be enjoying his art collection. (Perry is a keen collector of work by black artists, and once beat Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s daughter Blue Ivy to the punch on a Tiffanie Andersen painting at auction.) On a recent call-in to a mental health crisis charity, the couple was spotted with a large painting believed to be by Jacob Lawrence in the background. (Vanity Fair)

The Met Takes a Stab at AR – The Metropolitan Museum of Art is experimenting with augmented reality programming, enabling users to commune in 3D with an AD1000 wooden sculpture from its closed exhibition Arte del Mar: Artistic Exchange in the Caribbean. Users can download the AR file and project the sculpture into their own surroundings. It’s the next best thing to seeing it at the museum. (The Art Newspaper)

Billie Eilish and Takashi Murakami Collaborate for Uniqlo – The US pop star and the Japanese artist are collaborating on a Uniqlo capsule collection due to be released in late May. So far, details are scarce, but offerings will include high-top sneakers and t-shirts, including a shirt with Eilish’s name across the front decorated with Murakami’s trademark daisies. As with most Murakami streetwear collaborations, you can expect it to sell out—fast. (Complex)

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