Beware! Art Basel parent company MCH cancels Baselworld again as top executive leaves luxury exhibition + other stories

Art Industry News is a daily summary of the most consistent developments coming out of the art world and the art market. Here’s what you need to know on Monday, November 15th.


Jerry Saltz compares John Currin to Caligula – The art critic defends the work of the controversial artist John Currin, which is the subject of a much-discussed exhibition at the Gagosian in New York. He describes him as “the Caligula of painting” – someone who is “so specifically perverted, shocking, visually rude, threatening and mesmerizing that when it deters us, it also draws us in.” However, the cultural climate has changed Currin’s prospects. While some years ago people may simply not like the artist’s work, they now find it morally reprehensible. “I was actually scared to post pictures of his show on Instagram,” Saltz said. “When I did, most of the 700 comments I received were negative to sharp – many against me.” (Vulture)

Everyone loves the new Courtauld Rehang – The Courtauld Gallery’s £ 57 million ($ 76.5 million) makeover is finally complete after three years, and most critics have given it a rave. That Guardian‘s Rowan More describes it as what has been described as “a master class in tasteful updating”, with subtle yet thoughtful architecture that makes room for art and the building’s history to shine. But there is always room for improvement: “There are … questionable decisions, including about the distribution of space,” Moore noted. (Guardian)

MCH cancels this year’s Baselworld (again) – The hits keep coming for Art Basel’s parent company MCH. After announcing that it had suffered a data breach last month, the organization has revealed that it will cancel the 2022 edition of the flagship Baselworld luxury watch fair, which was to run from March 31 to April 4. The group said it needed more time to successfully relaunch the event for the first time since 2019. Following the cancellation, Baselworld CEO Michel Loris-Melikoff is leaving the company. (Bloomberg)

MFA Boston workers vote for one-day strike – Members of a union representing about 200 employees at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, have voted to hold a one-day strike Wednesday to protest halted contract negotiations. Workers are concerned about wages, safety and diversity in the workplace, according to the union’s bargaining team. “We remain committed to staying at the negotiating table to create a fair and sustainable outcome,” a museum representative said in a statement. (AP)


Christopher Lew leaves Whitney – The sharp-eyed curator is leaving New York’s Whitney Museum of American Art after seven years to join an as yet undiscovered new nonprofit and start-up. Lew was a former assistant curator at MoMA PS1; he also organized the 2017 Whitney Biennale with Mia Locks. (ART news)

Vito Schnabel opens an LA pop-up – The New York-based art dealer will take over the old Santa Monica Post Office for the next few months. His first exhibition in space, which can now be seen until January 16, presents 20 years of work by the Italian painter Francesco Clemente. (Hollywood Reporter)

Artist Crowdfunds His Venice Biennale Pavilion – Billy Gerard Frank, a Grenadian filmmaker and multimedia artist who is among those representing the Caribbean island at next year’s Venice Biennale, is working to crowdfund $ 250,000 to realize his presentation. (He was successful with GoFundMe in 2018.) Smaller islands “do not have that kind of funding to commit to a nine-month pavilion and pay artists to go to the Biennale,” Frank explained. (Hyperallergic)


Boijmans Depot was inspired by a salad bowl – Inspiration can really come from anywhere. Designed for € 94 million ($ 107.5 million) Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam, a new building displaying the entire museum’s collection of 151,000 pieces in open storage, was inspired by an Ikea salad bowl. “I was looking for something around,” said Winy Maas, co-founder of Dutch architectural firm MVRDV. “So I grabbed the stainless steel bowl with its beautiful mirror. That was it.” Simple as that! (Guardian)

Boijmans Van Beuningen depot.  Photo Ossip van Duivenbode

Boijmans Van Beuningen depot. Photo Ossip van Duivenbode

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