Meet the star actor who was cast to play Basquiat in a major new biopic + more stories


Art Industry News is a daily digest of the most important developments in the art world and the art market. Here is what you need to know this Thursday, January 6.


Italy returns Parthenon fragment to Greece (for now) – Italy keeps its promise to lend Greece a piece of the eastern frieze of the Parthenon, long kept at the Antonino Salinas Regional Archaeological Museum in Palermo. The loan will last for four years with the intention of being extended for four more. After that, it is possible that it will become permanent, although it would require complex legal maneuvers on Italy’s part. The deal could renew pressure on the UK to return its own large collection of marbles. (Guardian)

Painter of Australian Aborigines who died of Covid – Australian artist Craig Ruddy, winner of the Archibald Prize, died on Wednesday January 5 at the age of 53, following complications from Covid. The artist won the award for Australia’s Most Famous Portrait in 2004. His paintings explored environmental issues as well as the life and culture of Indigenous peoples of Australia. (Guardian)

Biopic throws his Basquiat – Basquiat gets a new biopic, and director Julius Onah has now found his star: Kelvin Harrison, Jr. The actor, 27, and filmmaker previously worked together on the 2020 drama Luce, for which they both won the Independent Spirit Awards. Developed by Endeavor Content, the film Samo lives will explore the life and career of Basquiat. This is notably the first biopic on Basquiat imagined by a black filmmaker. In a statement, Onah said Harrison’s “sensitivity and soul” will enable him “to truly honor Jean-Michel’s legacy.” (Variety)

How does the treatment of Fearless girl Violates artists’ rights – Todd Fine offers his take on the Fearless girl saga, in which the State Street company, which commissioned the statue, is locked in a lawsuit with Kristen Visbal, the artist who created it, over its ability to profit from reproductions of the work. The lawsuit, which the author calls “a bullying tactic,” has implications for all artists who want to take advantage of their creative copyrights, he writes. (Hyperallergic)


Iwona Blazwick leaves the Whitechapel Gallery – The longtime director of the venerable London institution is stepping down in April after 20 years. She will continue to work for the institution as an independent curator until 2023. The board says it will immediately begin the search for a new director. (Press release)

This man is banking for Western museums in China – Yizan He, founder of Alfilo Brands, has generated tens of millions of dollars for international museums by licensing images of works from their collections and applying them to stationery, surfboards and home furnishings for sale in China. Its clients include the British Museum, the Victoria & Albert Museum and, in a recent agreement, the Brooklyn Museum. (The arts journal)

Guggenheim Creates Conservation Mentorship Program – The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York City has promoted Francesca Esmay to the position of Director of Collections Engagement, Custody and Maintenance. The longtime conservator will establish a new 10-week paid mentorship program for three BIPOC undergraduate or graduate students to study museum conservation. (ARTnews)

The Queer | Art Prize for recent work goes to Anaïs Duplan The New York-based association awarded its annual prize of $ 10,000 to Anaïs Duplan. Poet, curator and artist won for his 2020 publication Blackspace: On the poetics of an afrofuture, a collection of interviews, essays and ekphrastic poetry. (ARTnews)


Check out this 717 gigapixel photo of Rembrandt Night watch The Rijksmuseum has created the largest and most detailed photograph of a work of art ever made as part of its curation and ongoing research into Rembrandt’s work. Night watch. Click on here and zoom in to examine the tiny dust particles and microcracks in the paint for yourself. (Press release)

Courtesy of the Rijksmuseum.

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