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 Friday, March 26.
NFT Artwork Made by Robot Sells for $688,888 – Sophia, the robot who was already famous for interviewing politicians and appearing on The Tonight Show, collaborated with Italian artist Andrea Bonaceto to auction off an NFT for six figures. The video clip that sold as the NFT also comes with a physical self-portrait painting by the robot. Because, why not? (New York Times)
Germany Plans Further Bailouts as It Stumbles Through Its Vaccine Rollout – An additional €100 million has been earmarked for Germany’s federally funded cultural institutions to make up for pandemic-related revenue losses. The funding is part of a nearly $2 billion government aid program for culture. Meanwhile, its vaccine rollout is caught up in the gears of EU bureaucracy. (Press release)
JRR Tolkien’s Illustrations Will Appear in His Books – The author’s original drawings for his Lord of the Rings series will be included in a reissue of the books for the first time since they came out in 1954. His detailed drawings, illustrations, maps, and sketches served as pictorial aids in his fantasy novels. (Guardian)
Ja Rule Sold a $122,000 Fyre Festival NFT and Painting – The “Holla Holla” rapper sold a non-fungible token alongside a painting of the Fyre Festival logo for $122,000. The work comes with a note from the artist that reads “Fuck this painting.” Life is beautiful. (Guardian)
Artnet Auctions Celebrates Blowout Photo Sale – Artnet Auctions’ Important Photographs sale, which ended yesteday, posted solid results, drawing in 165 percent more in sales revenue than in the same event last year. Top lots included works by Carrie Mae Weems, Cecil Beaton, and Vik Muniz. The priciest work was Shirin Neshat’s Fervor Series (Crowd from Back, close up), which soared past its $60,000 high estimate to land at $84,000. (Press release)
COMINGS & GOINGS
Winnipeg Opens First Museum Devoted to Inuit Art – The Winnipeg Art Gallery is Canada will open the Qaumajuq, the world’s first museum devoted to Inuit art, on March 27. The ancillary institution, which cost $52.4 million, was developed following recommendations issued in 2015 by Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission to “acknowledge [Canada’s] colonial past and move forward in the spirit of reconciliation and collaboration.” (Artforum)
Greece Completes National Gallery Revamp – The National Gallery-Alexandros Soutzos Museum in Athens marked the 200th anniversary of Greek independence with the completion of a €59 million renovation and expansion. With the project, the museum has grown its footprint to 20,000 square meters (215,300 sq. ft.), adding exhibitions and storage spaces and a restaurant with panoramic views of the Acropolis. (The Art Newspaper)
FOR ART’S SAKE
Alan Turing Is the New Face of £50 Note – A rainbow flag flew over the Bank of England to commemorate World War II codebreaker Alan Turing, who will be the new face of Britain’s £50 note. The bill will be released on his birthday, June 23. Turing, who played a key role in British war operations against Germany, was convicted in 1952 for “indecency” after he has a relationship with a man named Arnold Murray. Turing, who was chemically castrated as part of his punishment, was formally pardoned by the government in 2017. (Courthouse News)
Edmund de Waal’s Celebrated Sukkah Goes on View – A sculpture by the artist originally made for the Canton Scuola synagogue in the Jewish Ghetto of Venice has been installed at a 12th-century chapel at Canterbury Cathedral for Passover and Holy Week. De Waal called it a great privilege to have his work exhibited in a place he has “known and loved since childhood.” (Press release)
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