Art Industry News: Spain Puts the Finishing Touches on Its Very Fancy $186 Million Royal Museum + Other Stories

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NEED-TO-READ 

What Does an Amazon Worker Think of Josh Kline’s Art? – Even artworks with a strong social message like Kline’s, which examine the often exploitative and dehumanizing nature of work in an age of apps and automation, are generally confined to the rarefied atmosphere of the museum. How do they resonate with someone on the front lines of the labor movement, like organizer Chris Smalls? He visited the Whitney to find out. (New Yorker)

Antwerp Art Weekend – For those with art fair fatigue, the ninth annual Antwerp Art Weekend offered a less frantic but more in-depth introduction to its 39 participating galleries. Notably, demand in the city might actually outweigh supply: Belgium boasts one of the highest ratio of collectors per capita despite Antwerp’s relatively small gallery scene. ()

Spain Prepares to Open Royal Museum – This June Spain will unveil The Royal Collections Gallery, touted as “the biggest museum project in Spain in decades, and also in Europe” that will feature paintings, tapestries, sculptures, armor, and furniture collected by monarchs over 500 years. The first exhibition will include 650 works by the likes of Velázquez, Goya, and Caravaggio, alongside objects like the first edition of Don Quixote. Designed by architects Luis Mansilla and Emilio Tuñón, the museum is situated across from Madrid’s Royal Palace and the Almudena Cathedral. (AP)  

Families Withdraw Support for COVID Tapestry – An official tapestry was commissioned to illustrate the U.K.’s painful experience of the pandemic, but the complex subject matter is already causing some contention. Members of the Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice who had agreed to take part have since pulled out because they hope to voice their experiences as part of a formal inquiry rather than through the artwork. (Guardian)

MOVERS & SHAKERS

San Diego-based collectors Return Pre-Hispanic Artifacts – It’s not just museums that are keen to repatriate items from their collection, two private collectors voluntarily organized an official ceremony to mark the hand-over of 65 objects to the Mexican government. This trove includes a bowl decorated in the Tumbas de Tiro tradition and a precious glass dating from around 100-900 C.E. ()

Kurt Cobain’s Guitar Smashes Estimate at Auction – A black Fender Stratocaster guitar sold for nearly $600,000 by Julien’s auction at the Hard Rock Cafe in New York, demolishing the presale estimate of $60,000 to $80,000. The instrument is one of many that Cobain smashed as the frontman for Nirvana, and features his signature along with the other band members. (BBC) 

Istanbul Modern Reopens to the Public – After five years and extensive renovations by starchitect Renzo Piano, Turkey’s cultural hub has reopened in a sleek building on the shores of the Bosphorus. The five-story building has faced extensive criticism both for blocking views of the historic Nusretiye Mosque and because its contemporary style does not blend in with other buildings in the area. (Middle East Eye)  

FOR ARTS SAKE 

Climate Activists Turn Trevi Fountain Black – Eco-activists dumped charcoal into the iconic fountain to draw attention to the devastating floods that have killed 14 people in the northeast region of Emilia-Romagna. Protesters from the group Ultima Generazione (Last Generation) want to put a stop to subsidies to fossil fuels that exacerbate climate change. (DW)

⚫️Carbone vegetale nell’acqua della Fontana di Trevi ?

1 casa su 4 in Italia è vulnerabile alle alluvioni.

Quanto dobbiamo ancora aspettare perché chi è al governo intervenga concretamente? pic.twitter.com/Au9fniQYrN

— Ultima Generazione (@UltimaGenerazi1) May 21, 2023

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