Was a famous Caravaggio fed to hungry pigs? That’s what a Mafia informer told the authorities.
But, for the most part, new artists aren’t benefitting. Instead, it’s a contest for pieces that are hardly ever seen on the market. “Experts say the finest works rarely come up for sale, yet demand is increasing as newly wealthy Chinese buyers compete with financiers and Saudi sheikhs.”
The billionaire has launched an online art gallery called Sierra Fine Art LLC where he is advertising multimillion-dollar works by Andy Warhol, Pablo Picasso, and Henri Matisse for sale. Wynn’s lawyer Michael Kosnitzky told artnet News that the billionaire has already transferred a “meaningful” amount of his fabled art collection into the business to begin his new chapter.
Once, with a class of fifty students, all relatively unprepared and some quite innocent of contact with contemporary music, I tried the experiment of familiarizing them, at the beginning of the course, with Schoenberg’s Fourth Quartet, one of the composer’s most “difficult” works. My whole effort was to bring them into contact with the music, and I deferred speaking of the problem of tonality, or the twelve-tone system, until the students knew the music thoroughly. By that time—believe it or not—one could hear the opening theme of the quartet, or other passages, being whistled by students on the campus. At the end of several weeks I spoke only briefly about the technical questions involved and they fell, it seemed to me, in their proper place. My students had learned to know—some to love—the music; their ears had been conquered.
A dozen years ago, the casino mogul punctured the famous Picasso in his collection, Le Rêve, with a wayward elbow. (His peripheral vision is impaired.) So when word got out this week that another of his Picassos, Le Marin, was pulled from its scheduled auction because it had been damaged, folks wondered if poor Mr. Wynn was humming “Oops! I Did It Again.” But it seems he’s not the culprit this time, as reporter Katya Kazakina learned from a source.
The trustees of the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa, which opened in Cape Town last September, suspended executive director and chief curator Mark Coetzee had just been suspended pending an investigation after he “failed to respond to questions about the institutional practices at Zeitz MOCAA.” There had been reports of concerns about “an alliance between Scheryn Art Collection, a fund that works with collectors to purchase works, and the museum and Coetzee.”
Of course any great artist needs their champions: the curators, gallerists and institutional directors who put their boundary-demolishing work on view. So we decided to pinpoint who exactly these people are. Who will we be talking about most fervently over the course of 2018, and the years that follow? Who’s making it happen? This, from our perspective, is a gathering of the people who are truly influential in art right now.
Yes, new Pulitzer winner Jerry Saltz is on the list and Roberta Smith is not. But the list is gender-balanced and includes two nonwhite women, so it isn’t necessarily propping up the patriarchy. (The list’s compiler is female, for what it’s worth.) And each choice has a well-argued justification.
Modigliani scholar Marc Restillini (who has gotten death threats for exposing forgeries): “My worries aren’t about the number of fakes, which is going down, but about the type of forger that we’re dealing with. We have people who are more sophisticated than those of 15 or 20 years ago. … I think that the scientific community [investigating art fakes] doesn’t realize this. Its response is naïve. Instead of taking necessary steps to fight forgeries, it’s taking steps that will encourage them.”
Art dealer Jan Six now says that he has discovered a new Rembrandt, a portrait of an unidentified young man that he purchased at a Christie’s auction in London in 2016 for 137,000 pounds, or about $185,000. If he is right, “Portrait of a Young Gentleman” would be the first wholly unknown Rembrandt painting to be attributed in 44 years — and worth many millions more.
General Public aims to transform the art market as we know it. In essence, General Public produces three-dimensional reproductions of works of art, a mix between original painting and print using a special process invented by the actress working with Fujifilm. For Portia de Rossi, allowing artists to distribute high-quality replicas of their work directly to an audience is all about democratizing art and putting value in the hands of the creators. The company’s motto is “Support artists, not art.”
Charles Glass: “Within the grounds of the ancient city, nothing was as I recalled it from thirty years before. The triumphal arch was gone, its plinths silhouetted against the bare sky. The Temple of Bel had become a sea of broken stone that archaeologists believe will take a generation to piece together. The agora was unrecognisable.”
The Bode Museum in Berlin is using a Siemens Art Foundation grant to repair Old Master works that were damaged in a 1945 fire and then looted by the Red Army. Says the Siemens foundation’s general secretary, “Restoration is more important than acquisitions. If we were to buy works of this quality on the art market, then we would have to pay several times more than the amount we are investing in restoration – if they were even available.”
Although it was the highest auction price ever for a work sold at Sotheby’s, equally noteworthy is that the painting also carried the highest guarantee ever given by the company. This meant that the auction house was willing to assure a minimum price to the owner, potentially risking millions. Sotheby’s was able to offload that risk to a third party, who became the buyer at the auction.
“It’s the art world’s equivalent of a man struck twice by lightning. On Friday, the 1943 Pablo Picasso painting Le Marin (‘The Sailor’), valued at $70 million, was ‘accidentally damaged’ at the presale exhibition of Christie’s Tuesday evening auction of Impressionist and Modern art.” Christie’s won’t say so publicly, but the owner of the painting is reportedly former casino magnate Steve Wynn, who made headlines when he stuck his elbow through Picasso’s Le Rêve back in 2006.
While there was praise for the faculty (and sympathy for their heavy workloads), there was blistering criticism of administration and, especially, of the decrepit physical plant. Said one grad of her damaged studio, “Facilities entered the space after it flooded, and cut into the walls with my ceramic sculptures still on the shelves. I returned to my studio to find a pile of my broken artwork on the ground, with no forewarning. I spent more money than I have to have my most valuable possessions destroyed.”
“Almost 9,000 pieces [out of nearly 11,000] will go to the American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center, with others headed to 10 Smithsonian Institution museums, several universities and the U.S. Supreme Court. The distribution marks the final stage of the dismantling of the famed Washington institution. Under a controversial 2014 deal, the National Gallery of Art had first dibs on the entire collection and ended up acquiring about 40 percent of the 19,493 works.”
“It’s an intensely personal vision that begins with [artist Trenton Doyle] Hancock’s youth. When you walk into Moundverse Infants, you’re overwhelmed by bright reds, greens and yellows meant to evoke both a toy store and the tile in Hancock’s grandma’s bathroom. ‘I’m obsessed with my own childhood,’ Hancock says. ‘I’ve actually tried to turn that into a superpower.'”
Author Olivia Laing, who’s being painted by artist Chantal Joffe: “How do you catch reality, the actual minute? I wanted to see what would happen if I wrote about her while she was painting me, if we could survey each other at the same time in an act of simultaneous witnessing.”
The National Gallery announced on Thursday it will not pay a penalty itself for withdrawing the 1929 work The Eiffel Tower from auction, the proceeds of which it had planned to use to buy a Jacques-Louis David painting from a Quebec church. The gallery said an unidentified donor had agreed to pay an undisclosed amount to Christie’s auction house to release the work.
Well, okay, if he does it himself, it’s not exactly a forgery. But here’s the story of a couple who rushed to buy Duchamp’s then-reviled Nude Descending a Staircase (No. 2) from the 1913 Armory Show, only to find that someone else had beaten them to it, and how they ultimately convinced Duchamp to make them another one.
“A new body dedicated exclusively to resolving art disputes, the Court of Arbitration for Art (CAA), will be formally launched 7 June in the Hague by the Netherlands Arbitration Institute (NAI) and the nonprofit Authentication in Art. Instead of being decided by judges and juries, cases will be heard by arbitrators who are seasoned lawyers familiar with industry practice and issues specific to art disputes. Scientific and provenance experts, who are often essential to proving authenticity and title to an artwork, will be appointed by the court rather than hired by the disputing parties.”
“Al-Ula [province] is home to Al-Hijr, a Unesco World Heritage Site since 2008, currently closed to tourists and visited only by a privileged few. Located in north-west Saudi Arabia, it consists of spectacular canyons and rock-carved tombs around Mada’in Salih, once known as Hegra. The oasis was a trading outpost of the Nabataean kingdom, 550km south of its capital, Petra, in modern-day Jordan. It includes remains of the Lihyanite culture and the Roman occupation. … The ten-year deal [to develop the area for international tourism] gives France an exclusive role in a project potentially worth tens of billions of euros in an area almost the size of Belgium.”
“The new curatorial activism builds on the heritage of critical museology, but also reflects its failure. Rather than adapting museums to serve a wider audience, they argue that museums should actively shape their audiences by impressing on them the gospel of social justice. It devalues collections and condescends to visitors.”