From Art-World Outrage Over Juergen Teller’s Rihanna Shoot to Christie’s Cause to Celebrate: The Best and Worst of the Art World This Week

Catch up on what you missed—fast.

Juergen Teller took this photograph of Rihanna for Vogue Paris, but the style is similar to the work of Mickalene Thomas. Photo courtesy of Vogue Paris.
Juergen Teller took this photograph of Rihanna for Vogue Paris, but the style is similar to the work of Mickalene Thomas. Photo courtesy of Vogue Paris.

BEST👍

Anonymous No More – Artist Susan Unterberg, the previously unnamed financial backer behind the foundation Anonymous Was a Woman, is finally accepting her well-deserved credit for doling out more than $5.5 million in charitable funds to female artists over the years.

Gallerists Released in Iran – Two Iranian art dealers are back home after being released from prison in Tehran on $10 million bail. The husband and wife were detained in 2016 for a slew of charges including espionage and possession of alcohol.

Art-World Scammer Heads to the Screen – The celebrity grifter Anna Delvey, who scammed art-world A-listers and is now in prison, is finally getting her wish to be famous. Shonda Rhimes will produce the juicy story for the producer’s first foray at Netflix, and early reports say Jennifer Lawrence may be interested in the role.

Jonathan Gold’s Performance Art Career – The city of Los Angeles is remembering the colorful food critic Jonathan Gold, who, in addition to shining a light on the city’s eclectic and nuanced food scene, also had a brief run as a performance artist, working for a time with Chris Burden.

Mapping an Art Scene – How did a quaint corner of London become a fully fledged art hub? One artist is documenting the journey of Shoreditch’s rise from a hotbed of grungy artists to a gentrified art playground.

A Deluge of de Koonings? – A New York-based art dealer bought a storage locker for a song and found what he claims are original works by Abstract Expressionist painter Willem de Kooning, who routinely garners million-dollar prices at auction.

Christie’s Breaks Out the Champagne – Thanks to the record-breaking Rockefeller collection sale earlier this year, which bested previous records as the highest-earning single-owner auction ever, Christie’s has reported its best half-year results ever.

WORST👎

Too Close for Comfort – Celeb photographer Juergen Teller has been accused of ripping off the artist Mickalene Thomas for his latest Vogue Paris shoot featuring Rihanna, with the Twitterverse lambasting his “bad copies” of Thomas’s work after photos from the magazine were posted online.

Remembering FEMEN’s Artist Force – Oksana Shachko, the outspoken feminist co-founder of Russian political protest group FEMEN, was found dead in Paris this week. Born in Ukraine, the 31-year-old artist entered political activism after leaving her religious-based art studies, becoming known for staging confrontational, performative actions.

An Antiquity Returns Home – A seven-figure sculpture dating back to 500 BC is returning to Iran, thanks to a New York Supreme Judge’s ruling. The work was dramatically removed from the ritzy TEFAF fair last fall, and suspicions that it had been looted proved correct.

More Money, More Problems – Photographer Lauren Greenfield’s new film Generation Wealth surveys her career documenting the wealth-obsessed lives of Americans who are seemingly oblivious to the gross economic inequalities and societal upheaval swirling around them.

Students Against the Art Institutes – The Art Institutes system of higher education is coming under fire, following a recent announcement that 18 of the group’s campuses would close by year’s end—resulting in throngs of students petitioning the school organization that left them debt-ridden and without career prospects.

Censorship Satire – Facebook continues to censor images by Flemish painter Peter Paul Rubens, so the Antwerp museum devoted to the Baroque master made a video ridiculing the website’s absurd policies.


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