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 this Tuesday, December 14.
Cleaners Protest at the Guggenheim Bilbao – Custodial staff at the Guggenheim Bilbao protested their €5 ($5.65)-per-hour salaries in a poignant performance organized with artist Lorenzo Bussi, who works under the name Art Builders Group. Twelve cleaners formed a spaced-out line in front of the museum entrance and asked the public passing through one question: “Is everyone’s work equally important?” The hour-and-15-minute performance was intended to stress the importance of their invisible labor. (Hyperallergic)
Rashid Johnson Shows How to Use Art Stardom for Good – ARTnews looks at the impact and circle surrounding the artist Rashid Johnson, who for years has worked as “an insider from the outside and an outsider on the inside” to support artists and institutions in the New York art world. Despite questions about the relevance of the museum format in 2021, Johnson is committed to improving the old system. “I think if we’re not active in changing the discourse and dialogue and language around those spaces, we’re doing everyone a disservice,” he said. (ARTnews)
The Success of the Van Gogh Experience Is Making Museums Nervous – As the popularity of the Van Gogh Experience and its ilk shows no sign of waning, museums are still struggling to attract audiences. While the Met director Max Hollein notes that “these multisensory experiences are not art,” some audiences in Columbus, Ohio, feel differently. They showed up at the city’s museum hoping for “Immersive Van Gogh,” but got a Van Gogh show instead. “It was awkward,” said the Columbus Museum’s director Nannette Maciejunes. (Wall Street Journal)
Gallery Must Pay €17,000 for Damaging Koons Sculpture – A German court has ordered a Dusseldorf gallery to pay €17,000 ($19,211) after it damaged a “Balloon Venus” sculpture by Jeff Koons. The owner had consigned the work to the gallery in 2017 but it was scratched in transit from Taunus to Düsseldorf. (Monopol)
MOVERS & SHAKERS
Armory Show Focuses on Latinx Art – The Armory Show has hired three curators specializing in Latin American and Latinx art for its 2022 edition in an effort to bring “a unified focus to the fair’s curatorial sections for the first time.” Carla Acevedo-Yates of the MCA Chicago will curate Focus, Tate curator Tobias Ostrander will curate Platform, and MFA Houston curator Mari Carmen Ramírez will chair the fair’s curatorial leadership summit. (Press release)
MoMA Launches Scholar-in-Residence Program – New York’s Museum of Modern Art is teaming up with the Ford Foundation on a scholars-in-residence program beginning September 2022. Academics whose work offers new perspectives on art history will work at the museum for one year each over a three-year period. Each will receive a $185,000 stipend. The museum is currently accepting nominations on its website. (ARTnews)
Science Museum Vaccination Center Runs Out of Appointments – As London accelerates its booster vaccine program in an effort to control the spread of the Omicron variant, people face long queues at the city’s vaccination centers including the Science Museum, where appointments for the next five days have run out even before it reopens tomorrow. The museum, which is where Prince William and Kate Middleton got their jabs, will be accepting walk-ins, but long wait times are expected. (Evening Standard)
FOR ART’S SAKE
Chinese Collector Makes Art Figurines – If you’re looking for a legitimately cool holiday present that will be totally unintelligible to your nieces and nephews, we have you covered. The Shanghai-based art collector Chong Zhou has been releasing limited-edition art figurines in collaboration with contemporary artists. The first was with Zeng Fanzhi; the latest is based on the art of Wang Xingwei. The “Miss & Mister” figures are produced by Chong’s ArTy ReTro brand. (Instagram)
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Cornwall Hive's Art 4 All event hopes to grow – Standard Freeholder
It might have been virtual, but the first ever Art 4 All still yielded some good results on Saturday.
The event, organized by the Cornwall Art Hive, aimed at getting the local artistic community together to discuss the craft, create connections and of course, create. Initially, it was to be hosted at the Cornwall Square mall, but health and safety restrictions meant that it had to take place over Zoom.
Despite a smaller turnout that anticipated, Richard Salem, executive director of Your Arts Council of Cornwall and the SDG Counties (YAC), is hopeful that future Art 4 All events can be held in person.
“We felt that rather than not have anything that this would be better than nothing,” he said. “We are trying to keep the events as consistent as possible. We want to have one every month and hopefully by next month, the third Saturday, at Cornwall Square, we will have an event in person.”
In all, three local artists too part in the event — Salem, Yafa Goawily, and Liv Bigtree.
“Right now I have work showing at the Brooklyn collective which is a gallery space in North Carolina,” said Bigtree, 19. “Right now, I’m not really doing much, art-wise. I’ve been taking it easy, taking a little break.
“I like to do that when I’m not really working on big projects, I just come back to this space where I just have fun.”
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Goawily, which produces a wide range of visual arts, said creating art has always been relieving. She also explained that although the pandemic has created some issues for artists, it has had the effect of growing the local art movement.
“We are growing not just with events and support, we are growing because we can reach different people – that is our main goal,” she said. “The community knows now that we are open for them.”
“Art is so important not just for artists but for everyone,” said Bigtree. “You don’t have to have specific skills. I really think that everyone is an artist. I think that it’s part of what makes us humans.
“Art is about freedom and that is what art hive is trying to create.”
Even with the pandemic, the Cornwall Art Hive and YAC still managed to host well-attended events in the summer, in Lamoureux Park. According to Salem, the happenings attracted residents from all walks of life and grew fast in popularity.
“Of course that it’s sad (pandemic restrictions), but I think that we learned to support each other more,” said Goawily. “I was new to Cornwall and did my first solo exhibition here. I find that yes, we are tiny but we are mighty. We are growing fast and we support each other truly.”
“We started buying art from each other and we had some groups going sharing what we had accomplished. We are stronger together.”
Anyone interested in gaining insight on the local art community can do so through a variety of videos uploaded to the Your Arts Council Youtube channel .
The LA Art Show Returns With an Environmental Focus – Surface Magazine
Environmental issues have taken on a particular urgency in the past year. Climate scientists have warned that if nations fail to immediately pivot from fossil fuels, catastrophic consequences await. Artists frequently reckon with this grim reality, with many expressing skepticism—if not outright anger—at climate inaction, which has resulted in the destruction of coral reefs, intense wildfires, rising sea levels, and the extinction of beloved animal species. The issues surrounding climate change have become top of mind for The LA Art Show, which is kicking off the city’s eagerly anticipated 2022 art season with a newfound ecological lens thanks to the return of DIVERSEartLA.
This year’s edition, which kicks off today at the Los Angeles Convention Center, sheds light not only on how artists represent the environment in their work, but how humanity’s role factors into the equation. “DIVERSEartLA 2022 will encourage visitors to confront the complex challenges of our global climate crisis and imagine potential solutions,” says Marisa Caichiolo, the show’s curator, who encouraged participating art museums to partner with science and environmental institutions. “This topic is at the heart of a growing number of art narratives, including exhibitions built with high-tech innovations designed to inspire artistic appreciation and the desire to respond to environmental challenges, reinforcing the value of translating environmental advocacy into art.”
Among the programming highlights is “Our turn to change,” a worry-inducing video installation by Andrea Juan and Gabriel Penedo Diego and presented by the Museum of Nature of Cantabria Spain that awakens viewers to melting polar ice caps that are causing sea levels to rise drop by drop. The Torrance Art Museum, meanwhile, presents “Memorial to the Future,” a collaborative piece curated by Max Presneill that centers Brutalist architecture as a failed model of idealism while highlighting the immediate need for environmental action. And in “The Earth’s Fruits” by Guillermo Anselmo Vezzosi, waste unexpectedly takes on a dignified second life.
The LA Art Show opens at the Los Angeles Convention Center, South Hall, from Jan. 19–23.
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