Art Industry News: Artists of Color Say Aspen’s Very White and Very Self-Congratulatory Art Fests Are ‘Jarring’ and ‘Gross’ + Other Stories

Plus, Boris Johnson defends his £100,000 art-buying spree and a 19th-century Chinese wooden table sells for 200 times its estimate.

Guests mingle at the Pine Creek Cookhouse during a lunch and performance organized the Aspen Art Museum as part of its ArtCrush week of activities.

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 Monday, August 9.


Florida Couple Consigned Questionable Giacometti Works at Sotheby’s – Sotheby’s has sued Bettina von Marnitz Thut and her husband Frederic Thut, as well as their Florida auction house Fine Art Miami, alleging that the couple falsified provenance documents to consign three fake Giacometti works that went on to sell for a combined $1 million in 2016 and 2017. One buyer began to suspect the works were fake back in 2018. Sotheby’s has demanded the Thuts refund the money. (ARTnews)

How COVID Made Museums More Accessible Workplaces – Disabled museum workers say they have benefited from the uptick in remote meetings and investment in digital platforms prompted by the pandemic. A new study also found that surveyed museums now wish to recruit more disabled staff. (We will not mention the fact that it’s a bit depressing that it took a once-in-a-century virus to prompt these institutions to engage more deeply with disability issues.) (Museum Association)

The Aspen Art World Wants to Be Seen as Progressive; It’s Awkward – All eyes were on Aspen last week when the mountainous resort town hosted an art fair and splashy fundraiser. But for some, the self-congratulatory celebration rang a bit hollow. Artists of color who attended described the affair as somewhat “weird,” “jarring,” and even “gross.” Precious Okoyomon, a star of the week, commented that “the unbearable whiteness was too much,” noting also there was an “undercurrent of what keeps this [area] alive”—namely, service workers of Mexican or Indigenous heritage. (Vulture)

Boris Johnson Defends Spending £100,000 on Art – The U.K. prime minister spent nearly £100,000 ($138,730) on a pair of artworks for 10 Downing Street. A painting by Cathy Wilkes cost £70,200, while a series of works by photographer Willie Doherty ran up £18,775. Critics say the purchases were inappropriate given the government’s current spending cuts and tax hikes. A spokesperson for the P.M. said the majority of the funding comes from donations rather than taxpayer funds. (Evening Standard)


Chinese Wooden Table Sells for More Than 200X Estimate – A 19th-century table from China was estimated to sell for £1,000 ($1,387), but ended up fetching £278,000 ($385,590) at Bellmans in the U.K. The altar table, which was made for the Imperial palace, sold to a buyer from mainland China. (Evening Standard)

Jadé Fadojutimi Makes Vogue UK’s List of Influential Women – The 28-year-old British painter, who works with Pippy Houldsworth Gallery in London, is the only visual artist to make the list. Other honorees include actress Kate Winslet and Spotify exec Sulinna Ong. (Evening Standard)

Van Gogh Landscape Could Fetch Over $40 Million – Van Gogh expert Martin Bailey offers the inside scoop on a painting depicting olive trees and cypresses that could become one of the priciest Van Goghs at auction in years when it hits the block at Christie’s New York on November 1. The work is from the estate of oilman Edwin Cox(The Art Newspaper)


See the Wrapping Begin on the Arc de Triomphe – Christo’s first major posthumous project is underway in Paris. Workers have covered the Arc de Triomphe in scaffolding and are working around the clock to encase the structure in fabric ahead of the project’s inauguration on September 18. (Monopol)

The Arc de Triomphe being prepared before the wrapping of the monument. Photo: Stephane de Sakutin / AFP via Getty Images.

The Arc de Triomphe being prepared before the wrapping of the monument. Photo: Stephane de Sakutin / AFP via Getty Images.

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