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The week in art news – Frieze buys the Armory Show and Expo Chicago

14 July 2023

The Frieze franchise has announced it is adding two of the US’s longest-running art fairs to its portfolio: the Armory Show in New York, which it has already acquired, and Expo Chicago, the sale of which is due to close next month. The acquisition will take Frieze’s total tally of fairs up to seven, including four in the United States. Both fairs will continue to operate under their own brands and with their current teams. The Armory Show, which was founded in 1994 and takes place in September, will continue to be led by its executive director Nicole Berry. Expo Chicago, which takes place in April, will continue under the directorship of Tony Karman, who founded the fair in 2012. ‘We feel we’re only scratching the surface of the opportunity to play a bigger part in the ecosystem,’ Simon Fox, the chief executive of Frieze, told the New York Times. ‘These are both iconic, historic fairs with deep roots into their communities. It was a wonderful opportunity for us to invest further in the US art scene and play a bigger role in that.’

An installation by the Italian Arte Povera artist Michelangelo Pistoletto has been destroyed in a suspected arson attack in Naples. Venus of the Rags, which juxtaposes a statue of the Roman goddess of love with a monumental heap of tattered clothes, was first created in 1967; several versions of the work exist in museums around the world. This latest iteration was installed just two weeks ago in the Piazza del Municipio as part of the city’s recent artistic revitalisation campaign. According to the Corriere della Sera, police have arrested a 32-year-old man after examining surveillance camera footage of the neighbourhood.

Following reports of financial difficulties, Simon Lee Gallery has been placed under joint administration with the business advisory firm BDO LLP. The court order came after a petition from Barclay’s and follows news that the gallery, which has operated for over 20 years, was nearly dissolved over a tax dispute. The gallery has more than 40 artists on its roster, including Christopher Wool. Last month, the Golden Lion-winning artist Sonia Boyce parted ways with Simon Lee after only two years of representation. It has not yet been announced whether the gallery, which has outposts in London and Hong Kong, will remain open to the public during the administration process.

The Burrell Collection in Glasgow has been named Art Fund Museum of the Year 2023. The museum, which houses more than 9,000 artworks and antiquities amassed by the Scottish shipping magnate William Burrell and his wife Constance, reopened in March 2022 after a six-year, £68m refurbishment and redisplay. It attracted more than 500,000 visitors in the year after its opening and contributed over £20m to the city’s economy. The museum was one of five finalists: Leighton House in London, the MAC in Belfast, the Natural History Museum in London and Scapa Flow Museum in Orkney. Each finalist received £15,000, while the Burrell took home £120,000.