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 on this Thursday, March 9.
Turkey Loses Bid to Keep Artifact – The U.S. court of appeals’s second circuit has upheld a district court’s decision that Turkey is not the owner of a 6,000-year-old marble idol. Called “the Stargazer,” the 5,000-year-old antiquity had been in the U.S. for 50 years before Turkey tried to have it restituted, and was on view at the Met. Turkey has been fighting auction house Christie’s and the piece’s private owner, Michael Steinhardt, for years. (Courthouse News)
Miriam Cahn Painting Sparks Controversy – Palais de Tokyo has responded to a viral ruckus on Twitter about a work in Cahn’s solo show at the museum. Some viewers misinterpreted a work that depicts a prisoner being forced to perform a sexual act while in bondage, mistaking the prisoner as a child, and reading the work as pedophilic. The museum clarified that the painting depicts adults and is a comment on the Ukraine war, in particular the atrocities that took place in Bucha. “The repetition of violence during wars is not intended to shock but to denounce,” said Cahn. (Twitter) (ARTnews)
Sotheby’s and Dmitry Rybolovlev Agree to Mediation – Attorneys for both sides have agreed to mediation but the matter may still move forward to a trial if the talks are not successful. Last week a judge advised both sides to try to avoid an “expensive, risky, and potentially embarrassing” trial to decide whether the auction house “aided and abetted” an alleged fraud perpetrated by Swiss art dealer Yves Bouvier. The charges center on the propriety of the price markups Bouvier made on a series of multimillion dollar art transactions for masterpieces by Leonardo da Vinci, Amedeo Modigliani, Pablo Picasso and others. Mediation will proceed under purview of a different judge than the one originally appointed however, as Magistrate Judge Lehrburger’s niece happens to be a lawyer at Sotheby’s law firm. (Court documents)
French Government to Consider Impact of French Tax Hike – France’s committee of professional art galleries has begun to create an impact study of a proposed tax hike. An E.U.-wide rule, which was quietly approved last April and will not take effect until 2025, could impose a 20 percent sales tax on artworks. The news has rattled the French art market, where art sales and the market’s boom have benefitted from a reduced tax rate of 5.5 percent. The working group is concerned that it will lead to an artificial inflation of prices, the penalization of artists, and fewer museum acquisitions. (Press release)
MOVERS & SHAKERS
Phillips New Now Sale Brings in $8.4 Million – Works by Jean-Michel Basquiat, John Chamberlain, and Jason Boyd Kinsella were among the highlights of the New York sale on March 8. Susan Chen’s He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not, sold for more than three times its estimate, at $35,560, and sale records were achieved for Daisy Dodd-Noble and Tammy Nguyen. (Press release)
Yayoi Kusama to Debut New Infinity Room – A new Instagram-appealing “Infinity Room” by the nonagenarian artist is slated to open this May at David Zwirner Gallery in New York. The exhibition, titled “I Spend Each Day Embracing Flowers” marks the ten-year anniversary of Kusama exhibiting with Zwirner, and is the artist’s largest to date. (ARTnews)
FOR ART’S SAKE
National Portrait Gallery to Display Mural Honoring Women – Artists Jann Haworth and Liberty Blake have been commissioned for a massive work featuring 130 female luminaries of British art and culture. Titled Work in Progress, the massive piece is modeled after the famed Beatles album cover for Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, and includes silhouettes of undersung women throughout history, from the 19th century abolitionist Ellen Craft to nurse Dame Elizabeth Anionwu. (Guardian)
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