Frieze Eyes Expansion in South Korea, and Other News

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The COEX convention center in Seoul, South Korea

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Frieze will stage a fair in Seoul next year as South Korea’s art market continues to flourish.

South Korea’s increasingly expanding art market—outposts of big-name galleries include König, Lehmann Maupin, Perrotin, and Pace—got another boost with the announcement that Frieze has chosen Seoul for its fourth city, joining Los Angeles, New York, and London. Showcasing 100 galleries in partnership with the Galleries Association of Korea, the inaugural Frieze Seoul is slated to run September 2–5, 2022. Its arrival signals a genuine competitor for Art Basel Hong Kong, which opens this week. Dal-Seung Hwang, who chairs the association and runs Keumsan Gallery, says the fair “will confirm Seoul as a hub of the global art market, and South Korea a major destination for the art market in Asia.”

Employees at the Whitney Museum have been taking steps toward forming a union.  

The Whitney Museum’s employees are the latest batch of museum workers who are taking steps toward forming a union. They’re also organizing under the wing of the United Automobile Workers, a union not immediately associated with the art world. The proposed bargaining unit includes roughly 180 curators, conservators, editors, and porters who filed with the National Labor Relations Board by the Technical, Office, and Professional Union, Local 2110 UAW. “We believe in the institution,” Karissa Francis, a visitor services assistant at the museum who helped organize the effort, told the New York Times. “And we believe that if our voices are heard the quality of our lives will be better.” The effort is the latest in a wave of organizing in which staffers at the New Museum, Guggenheim Museum, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, have moved toward forming unions. 

Paulo Mendes da Rocha. Photography by Andre Scarpa

The International Union of Architects gives the UIA Gold Medal to Paulo Mendes da Rocha.

Paulo Mendes da Rocha has been awarded this year’s UIA Gold Medal by the International Union of Architects. It’s the latest accolade received by the acclaimed Brazilian architect, who received the Pritzker Prize in 2006 and the Venice Biennale Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement in 2016. The jury commended Mendes da Rocha, now 92, as a career-long iconoclast, saying in a statement that his award “exemplifies a lifetime of achievement spanning seven decades that emphasized architecture as a public act.” Some of his notable projects include the Brazilian Sculpture Museum, the Museum of Portuguese Language, and new facilities of the National Coach Museum in Lisbon.

The millennial-friendly paint upstart Backdrop gets acquired by F. Schumacher & Co. 

Last week, F. Schumacher & Co. (FSCO) announced that it would acquire the paint upstart Backdrop, a digital-first brand co-founded by husband-and-wife team Caleb and Natalie Ebel. It marks the heritage brand’s initial foray into paint; the FSCO portfolio currently includes carpet brand Patterson Flynn Martin and lifestyle magazine Frederic. Terms of the deal weren’t immediately disclosed, but it comes at the same time that heritage British paint brand Farrow & Ball was acquired by Danish coatings manufacturer Hempel for around $607 million.

The Journey of Humanity by Sacha Jafri

The entrepreneur who bought the world’s largest painting will open a dedicated museum.

The British artist Sacha Jafri’s unprecedented sale of his work, The Journey of Humanity, for $62 million—the second most expensive painting ever sold at auction by a living artist—is turning some heads. The piece, which also happens to have claimed the Guinness World Record for the largest art canvas, at 17,000 square feet, was purchased by French-Algerian businessman Andre Abdoune, who plans to build a museum in Dubai to show it in. The entrepreneur says the inspiration for the cultural institution will be Houston’s Rothko Chapel—a place to contemplate art and human rights. To that end, some of the proceeds will reportedly go to organizations such as Unicef, Unesco, the Global Gift Foundation, and Dubai Cares.

Chicago’s Joyce Foundation awards $75,000 grants to fund four projects by BIPOC artists.

Every year, the Joyce Foundation in Chicago awards $75,000 grants to support BIPOC artists in presenting ambitious work in the Great Lakes region. This year’s recipients include the writer and director Sydney Chatman; the painter Daniel Minter; the Brooklyn-based artist Kameelah Janan Rasheed, and multidisciplinary artist and architect Santiago X. Mia Khimm, director of the Joyce Foundation’s culture program, describes the work by this year’s recipients as “visionary in scope and uniquely rooted in their respective communities. With the events of the past year, the importance of collective healing came to the fore, resulting in four distinct projects that—despite differences in medium, concept, and location—each work in full partnership with community members and organizations to create meaningful actions and spaces for grappling with racial injustice and its effects, and honoring individual and collective resiliency during and after Covid-19.”

Terence Riley, former MoMA curator who helped launch the Pérez Museum, has passed away.

The architect and curator Terence Riley, who had a major impact on the Museum of Modern Art, has passed away. He served as the Philip Johnson Chief Curator of Architecture and Design from 1992 to 2015, which meant he worked alongside Johnson and staged a remake of his 1932 show “Modern Architecture: International Exhibition.” He then went on to stage the landmark “Mies in Berlin,” a meticulously researched survey of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s early career, in 2001. He departed MoMA to become the director of the Miami Art Museum five years later, but stepped down before Herzog & de Meuron’s final designs for the institution, now the Pérez Art Museum Miami, were unveiled in 2010. Since then, he had focused primarily on Keenen/Riley Architects, the design firm he founded alongside John Keenen with offices in New York and Miami.

Today’s attractive distractions:

Tesla’s Cybertruck may be less popular than its new Hot Wheels edition.

Here’s an uncanny AI version of self portrait aficionado Vincent Van Gogh.

A giant KAWS hot air balloon will take flight over China, Turkey, and Spain.

Can’t make it to Venice? This new tool lets you explore the entire Biennale.

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