Have K-Pop Stars Become the Art Market’s Most Powerful Tastemakers? + Other Stories

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 this Wednesday, May 25.


See Rauschenberg as You’ve Never Seen Him Before – A slate of exhibitions organized by the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation seeks to draw attention to the artist’s lesser known later work. Gladstone Gallery is homing in on his “Venetian” and “Early Egyptian” sculpture series (1972–74) of sculpture, while Mnuchin is showing a three-decade survey. “In truth, they bring us a new Rauschenberg,” Deborah Solomon writes. (New York Times)

Superblue Teams Up With JR – The immersive art specialist Superblue is collaborating with JR and Niantic, the creators of Pokémon Go, on an augmented reality project that invites people to leave portraits and voice messages behind in places that are special to them as an extension of JR’s ongoing “Inside Out” project. The experience is being rolled out first in San Francisco, with New York City to be added in the fall. (Press release)

Are K-Pop Stars the Most Powerful Influencers in the Art World? – “I thought art had totally nothing to do with me, something highly sophisticated people enjoy,” said Lee Hwa-rang, a 26-year-old Seoul resident. “But RM dispelled that prejudice for me.” RM, also known as rapper Kim Nam-joon, is a member of the global sensation BTS—and he’s one of a number of K-Pop stars who have shared their art diets on social media and inspired droves of fans to get out to museums and galleries. This can be a double-edged sword: After K-Pop stars reveal their collections at home and on social media, galleries get inundated with inquiries, and prices for the same artists can skyrocket on the secondary market. (Korea Herald)

Indigenous Australians Seek to Buy Back William Barak Works – The Wurundjeri Corporation in Australia is seeking to crowdfund $175,000 to acquire two artworks by William Barak from Sotheby’s New York. The works, Corroboree (Women in possum skin cloaks) (1897) and a hardwood shield engraved with traditional patterns, are being sold by descendants of the De Pury family—they were acquired by Jules De Pury in 1883 while visiting cousins at Yeringberg Station, a property still owned by the Australian branch of the De Pury family today. (The Art Newspaper)


Art-Filled Elizabeth Line Opens in London – London has opened a new crossrail tube line to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. Four years and £19 billion ($23.7 billion) in the making, the Elizabeth Line and its 10 new stations are full of ambitious art commissions by the likes of Yayoi Kusama, Sonia Boyce, and Richard Wright. (TAN)

Korean Art Dealer Expands to New Art Hub Hyeryung Ahn is embarking on a major expansion of her Leeahn Gallery in the city of Daegu, South Korea. Though she also operates a location in the growing international art hub of Seoul, she is doubling down on Daegu with a 15,000-square-foot renovation due to open in 2023. (New York Times)

The Met Launches a New Digital Project – The Metropolitan Museum of Art is teaming up with the World Monuments Fund on a digital project to coincide with the planned reopening of its African, Ancient American, and Oceanic galleries. The program, which aims to enhance the $70 million overhaul set to open in 2024, will use photographs and other archival material to tell the stories of 10 historic sites in sub-Saharan Africa. (TAN)


An “Unburnable” Handmaid’s Tale Hits the Auction Block – Sotheby’s is offering a unique edition of Margaret Atwood’s oft-censored book The Handmaid’s Tale that was printed using fireproof materials. Proceeds from the sale will go to PEN America’s efforts to fight the national crisis of censorship, book banning, and book burning in the U.S. See the author test out the book’s resistance to a flamethrower in the delightful promo video below. (Press release)

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Art Industry News: Have K-Pop Stars Become the Art Market’s Most Powerful Tastemakers? + Other Stories

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