Art Industry News: The Fate of This Real Estate Tycoon’s Collection Could Be the Biggest Question for the Art Market in 2021 + Other Stories

Plus, Cai Guo-Qiang responds to criticism of his Palace Museum show and the Academy Museum delays its grand opening (again).

Sheldon Solow and Mia Fonssagrives Solow in 2008. Photo by Will Ragozzino/Patrick McMullan.

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, December 21.


Cai Guo-Qiang Responds to Criticism of Beijing Show – The Chinese artist known for this theatrical firework productions has unveiled a major new exhibition at Beijing’s Palace Museum, curated by Simon Schama. But while officials seemed to market the show as promotion for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, Cai insists his work his separate from any national agenda. “Coming back to China does not make this a national project,” he says. (South China Morning Post)

A Long List of Treasures Heads to the UK – A record number of artworks—worth a combined £65 million ($86.6 million)—will be given to the UK public this year as part of the ongoing cultural gifts and acceptance in lieu scheme, which allows cultural objects to be left to the UK as a way to offset or settle inheritance tax bills. The 2019–20 list includes artworks by Monet, Chagall, and Rembrandt, as well as the archive of Punk artist Barney Bubbles, among others. (Guardian)

What Will Happen to Sheldon Solow’s Collection? – The fate of the collection assembled by the New York real-estate executive, who died in November, has become the art world’s new guessing game. While his widow told Artnet News that she wants to make his previously inaccessible art museum more open to the public, it is unclear how much of his vast collection would be transferred and what may be headed to the auction block. Solow has sold an estimated $400 million worth of art over the years, and his foundation is the consignor of the Botticelli painting headed to Sotheby’s next month with an estimate of $80 million. (New York Times)

Damien Hirst Brings Art to a Frozen Lake – The UK artist is showing more than 40 works—including a number that were last seen in the 2017 Venice exhibition “Treasures From the Wreck of the Unbelievable”—in St. Moritz. The show, which runs from January 19 to February 23, will be spread across four outdoor and indoor sites. Watch out for the 12-foot sculpture, The Monk, installed in the middle of a frozen lake. (The Art Newspaper)


Artcurial Reveals End-of-Year Results – The Paris auction house achieved a total of €149.2 million ($180.5 million) worth of sales in 2020. Top lots included a stabile by Alexander Calder, which brought in €4.9 million ($6 million), and The Penitent Magdalene by Salaì, which sold for €1.7 million ($2 million). (Press release)

Asia Week New York Names Dealers – Asia Week New York has announced the 27 international galleries and five auction houses participating in its next edition. The blend of by-appointment gallery exhibitions, online viewing rooms, and auctions runs from March 11–20, 2021. The lineup includes Chambers Fine Art (United States), Hara Shobo (Japan), Oliver Forge and Brendan Lynch Ltd. (England), and many others. (Press release)


Academy Museum Delays Opening (Again) – Amid new lockdown measures in Los Angeles, the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures has pushed back its opening yet again—to September 30, 2021, from April 30. The $482 million project was originally scheduled to open back in 2017. (Press release)

David Hockney Names Curator – Edith Devaney, a top curator at the Royal Academy of Arts in London, will join the prominent artist as his managing director and curator. The 22-year veteran of the RA will help steer Hockney’s ongoing catalogue raisonné, among other projects. (The Art Newspaper)


Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Gets a Makeover – The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland has unveiled plans for a $100 million renovation and expansion, which would increase its square footage by a third. The architecture firm PAU has designed a dramatic addition to the original I.M. Pei building, which will allow it to host more ambitious exhibitions. (New York Times)

Sarah Sze Creates a New Work for Storm King – The American sculptor is putting the finishing touches on the first new work to enter the collection of New York’s Storm King Art Center in 13 years. The sculpture park describes Fallen Sky as “deliberately incomplete and increasingly delicate 36-foot-diameter spherical cavity, sheathed in mirrored stainless steel.” (Artforum)

Rendering of <i>Fallen Sky</i>. Image: Sarah Sze.

Rendering of Fallen Sky. Image: Sarah Sze.

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.