Art Industry News: Did a Fragment of the True Cross Sink Along With Russia’s Biggest Naval Vessel? + Other Stories

Plus, an open-air show of Ukrainian art lands in Venice, and a battle rages over art collector Nicholas Zoullas's estate.

The pier in Sevastopol, the home of the Russian navy's Black Sea fleet. The Moskva, a missile cruiser that reportedly sank last week, was the flagship of the fleet. VIKTOR DRACHEV/AFP 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, April 18.


Ukrainian Art Show Planned for Venice – Just days before the opening festivities for the Venice Biennale are set to begin, the Ukrainian Pavilion organizers have announced plans to unveil an additional project: an open-air exhibition in solidarity with the people of Ukraine. A full artist list for the show, titled “Piazza Ucraina,” has yet to be released, but it will likely include work created since the Russian invasion. The project is funded by the Kyiv-based Victor Pinchuk Foundation and an entity known as the Ukraine Emergency Art Fund. (ARTnews)

Meet the Man Hired to Remove Confederate Monuments – Devon Henry and his contracting company, Team Henry Enterprises, have emerged as the go-to removal service for Confederate statues across Virginia and other parts of the South. The job carries considerable risk: Henry, who is a Black man, has been repeatedly threatened and wears a bulletproof vest on site. (New York Times)

Is a Piece of the “True Cross” a Casualty of the Ukrainian Invasion? The Moskva, a Russian missile cruiser that reportedly sank last week after a fire caused an explosion onboard, may (emphasis on may) have been carrying a reliquary containing a 19th-century metal cross said to contain a tiny fragment of the true cross, on which Jesus Christ was crucified. Russian state media announced in February 2020 that the Russian Orthodox Church was poised to deliver the holy relic to the vessel’s onboard chapel, on loan from an anonymous collector. Russian authorities have yet to confirm whether the cross was present when the ship sank. (Business Insider)

Fight Underway Over Collector’s Estate – There is a battle underway over the estate of art-collecting Greek shipping magnate Nicholas Zoullas, who died in December. Zoullas—who was a donor to the Metropolitan Museum of Art—left everything to his wife, Susan Bates, disinheriting the two sons he had with his first wife. The sons previously battled with their father over the fate of the family’s art collection, including a $3.9 million Monet. (New York Post)


Jessica Bell Brown Gets Promoted in Baltimore – Brown, who joined the Baltimore Museum of Art in November 2019 as associate curator, will now lead the institution’s contemporary art department. She most recently co-curated the ambitious show “A Movement in Every Direction: Legacies of the Great Migration.” (CultureType)

California College of the Arts Reaches Contract With Unions – The staff, administration, and adjunct faculty at the California College of the Arts reached agreements on two union contracts. Following a four-day strike in February, the unions secured a 5.5 percent salary increase over the next two years, a minimum salary of $50,700, and severance pay. (The Art Newspaper)

Shin Gallery Lifts the Curtain – To mark the New York gallery’s 10th anniversary, founder Hong Gyu Shin has assembled nearly 100 works he has amassed since opening the Lower East Side space as a 23-year-old college student. On display is work by the likes of Lygia Clark, Chris Burden, and Richard Tuttle. (New York Times)

Ropac Benefit Sale Raises $750,000 for Ukraine – A sale organized by Thaddaeus Ropac Gallery and its artists has generated $750,000 for the Austrian Red Cross, the Disasters Emergency Committee, and Médecins sans Frontières, who are providing humanitarian support to Ukrainian refugees. The sale, which is ongoing, includes work by Alex Katz, Robert Longo, and Antony Gormley. (Press release)


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