Early SoHo Dealer Dies, the Pandemic’s Toll on Art Workers, and More: Morning Links from April 14, 2021

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The Headlines

EVEN AS SOME NATIONS BEGIN TO REOPEN, THE TOLL OF THE PANDEMIC is still being calculated. A new survey found that a staggering 43 percent of people working in the museum field in the United States lost income as a result of the crisis, the Art Newspaper reports. The average decline in earnings was 31 percent, according to the American Alliance of Museums report, which surveyed more than 2,500 in March. Researchers found that the number of jobs in the U.S. nonprofit arts and recreation sector fell by 36 percent between February 2020 and the end of the year. It’s estimated that it will be more than two years before they return to pre-pandemic levels.

JEFFREY PALEY, ONE OF THE FIRST DEALERS TO SET UP SHOP IN SOHO, has died at the age of 82, the New York Times reports. Paley, the son of CBS founder William S. Paley (whose astonishing art collection went to the Museum of Modern Art), opened the Paley and Lowe Gallery on Wooster Street in Lower Manhattan in 1969, the year after Paula Cooper famously opened on Prince. It was early in showing future giants like Pat SteirJoan Snyder, and Mary Heilmann. Paley lived an action-packed life. He spent time as a reporter for the New York Herald Tribune, a columnist based in Europe, and an investor. He was also a collector of Indian miniatures; the Metropolitan Museum of Art showed his holdings in 1974.

The Digest

Architect Frank Gehry is working on a boatload of building projects around the world, and he will have a show of sculpture at Gagosian’s Beverly Hills branch in June that will include an Alice in Wonderland tea party piece, inspired by his 5-year-old granddaughter. [The New York Times]

Singapore’s art world is lamenting the loss of the Substation, the nation’s first independent art center, which will close in July after more than 30 years in operation. “The Substation gives a lot of support to a lot of out-of-bounds topics and gives a voice to communities that don’t have a voice, like the migrant worker community,” one local artist said. [South China Morning Post]

Two Georges Seurat studies will appear on the block at Christie’s in May with an estimate of $10 million–$15 million. The Pointillist painter completed them as preparation A Sunday on La Grande Jatte (1984–86). A pretty good painting! [ARTnews]

Critic Adrian Searle has given Damien Hirst’s current outing at one of Gagosian’s London branches—part of a yearlong “takeover” of the space by the artist—two stars out of five. The exhibition includes a Coke vending machine and photorealistic paintings of butterflies. Many of the works “just look tired and lacking in any urgency,” Searle writes. [The Guardian]

Music moguls and art collectors Jay-Z and Diddy have endorsed Studio Museum chairman Ray McGuire in his run for New York City mayor. Primary elections will take place in June. [Page Six]

The Chrysler Museum and the Hampton University Museum in Virginia have been awarded a $500,000 Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant to create a three-year fellowship for African-American curators and conservators. [The Virginian-Pilot]

The Kicker

THE ARTIST NANCY HOLT IS FINALLY RECEIVING WIDER ACCLAIM for her decades of work. In 2018, the Dia Art Foundation purchased her Sun Tunnels, which reside in rural Utah, and now the late artist is the subject of a solo show at Lismore Castle Arts in Waterford, Ireland, the Guardian’s Dale Berning Sawa writes. Holt began Sun Tunnels in 1973, the same year her husband, land artist Robert Smithson, died in a plane crash in Texas, at the age of 35. Smithson’s fame long overshadowed her own, and women making earthworks have historically been sidelined in histories of the movement. “It’s that classic thing—that female artists were just invisible,” Lisa Le Feuvre, the director of the Holt Smithson Foundation, said. “They were there, they were doing things, and they weren’t seen.” [The Guardian]

Thank you for reading. We’ll see you tomorrow.

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