Art Industry News: Damien Hirst throws his ‘100 percent support’ behind NFTs and plans to burn more of his art + other stories

Art Industry News is a daily round-up of the most momentous developments in the art world and art market. Here’s what you need to know this Friday, August 5th.


Catherine Opie and Jack Pierson to curate an exhibition of the John Waters collection – Artists Catherine Opie and Jack Pierson have selected 90 works from the collection donated by filmmaker John Waters to the Baltimore Museum of Art in 2020. Featuring works by Diane Arbus, Cindy Sherman, Cy Twombly, and Andy Warhol, the Coming Attractions: The John Waters Collection exhibition opens at the museum on November 20. (CBS News)

Maya Lin commissioned to create sculpture for Obama Presidential Center – Lin, one of former US President Barack Obama’s favorite artists, will create a sculpture entitled See through the universe, which will be installed in the water garden of the Obama Presidential Center. The garden will be named after Obama’s mother, Ann Dunham, to commemorate her influence on Obama and his sister, the former president said. (press release)

Even Damien Hirst wasn’t sure if he wanted his own NFTs – The famous British artist admitted on Twitter that he is “trying to figure out what to do” regarding the results of his much-hyped NFT project The Currency. The artist made 10,000 NFTs and then told each buyer to choose between keeping the digital token or a corresponding physical painting (most chose the latter). Hirst, who plans to burn all remaining physical works, has also revealed he kept 1,000 NFTs for himself and now has to make the same decision. He initially thought he would trade all his NFTs for IRL works, but now he has decided to keep the tokens. “I’ve decided that I need to show my 100 percent support and faith in the NFT world,” Hirst wrote. (Artnet news)

Uffizi Gallery to tackle $51M garden restoration By 2030, the Uffizi Gallery in Florence will look very different, thanks to an impressive master plan to restore the nearby Boboli Gardens to their “Medici-era glory”. The so-called “Boboli 2030” initiative includes 40 projects to increase energy efficiency, fight climate change, restore statues and build a warehouse for tapestries and carpets. Originally designed by the Medici family, the garden served as a model for the popular Italian style, with its sprawling 81-hectare grounds featuring grottos, fountains and around 300 classical and baroque statues. In a statement, Director Eike Schmidt said the aim is not just “to bring the Boboli back to the glory days of the Medici and Lorena dynasties, but to go further and make it the best open museum in the world”. (TAN)

movers & shakers

Stephen Hawking’s VW Caravelle comes to the auction block – The turquoise Volkswagen Caravelle that drove physicist Stephen Hawking around for a decade goes under the hammer in September. The scientist bought the car in 1988 and it drove Hawking and his bride Elaine Mason to their wedding and was in constant use until 1999 when Hawking’s health deteriorated and he needed a wheelchair accessible vehicle. The car is unreservedly consigned to the UK Silverstone auctions by Hawking’s nephew. (evening standard)

National Gallery of Ireland appoints first female director in over a century – Caroline Campbell will take over as director of the National Gallery of Ireland, becoming the first female director in the gallery’s 158-year history. Born in Belfast, the curator has worked at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, the Courtauld Gallery and the National Gallery in London, where she has been Director of Collections and Research since 2018. “Visiting the National Gallery of Ireland as a teenager sparked my interest in art,” Campbell said in a statement, “so it is a great pleasure to now be able to return to a place that means so much to me personally.” She will take up her new role in November. (press release)

M+ cooperates with HSBC – HSBC, one of the world’s largest banks, will become the first main partner of Museum M+ in Hong Kong from November 1st. The significant partnership includes the main sponsorship of the museum’s special exhibitions, guided tours for non-governmental organizations and family-oriented initiatives. The bank’s extensive archives of historical documents, drawings and photographs will also play a role in its future cooperation plans with M+. (press release)


Gee’s Bend Quilt Reproductions are now available at Macy’s – Macy’s now sells reproductions of quilts made by the historic quilters of Gee’s Bend in Alabama. The move is the result of a partnership between Macy’s and the Souls Grown Deep Foundation and Community Partnership. A portion of profits from online sales will be used to support artists Lucy Mingo, Loretta Pettway, Louella Pettway, Lucy T. Pettway and Stella Mae Pettway and the Souls Grown Deep Foundation. The colorful abstract pieces of fabric made in the community of Gee’s Bend have long been considered important contributions to American art history. (ARTnews)

An archive image of the quilters from Gee’s Bend, Alabama. Photo by Carol M. Highsmith/Buyenlarge/Getty Images.

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