Art Industry News: Takashi Murakami Pauses His NFT Sale So He Can Have More Time to Figure Out How They Work First + Other Stories

Plus, TEFAF scraps its antiquities-focused fall fair in New York for good and another museum commits to returning its Benin Bronzes.

Takashi Murakami. Photo: Ricardo Miyada. ©Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

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, April 12.


Another Museum Commits to Returning the Benin Bronzes – The National Museum of Ireland says it intends to return 21 Benin bronzes looted from Nigeria in the 1890s, including armlets, wooden paddles, figures, and a staff made of bronze, ivory, and wood. The works entered the collection in the 19th century and “do not reflect contemporary collecting practice or ethics.” No restitution has been formalized to date, but the museum says the process is underway. (Evening Standard)

Turkey Fights to Reclaim Idol From Christie’s – A 6,000-year-old marble idol known as the Guennol Stargazer is at the center of a lawsuit between the Turkish government and Christie’s. The auction house sold the piece for $14.4 million in 2017 before the buyer backed away. While it remains locked inside an auction-house vault, a U.S. district court is working to determine the rightful owner. Turkey claims the idol was taken in violation of a 1906 decree against any antiquity being removed from the country. (New York Times)

Kate Moss Is Getting Into the NFT Game – The supermodel is minting three different videos of herself as non-fungible tokens. Moss said that the model intrigued her as she “can participate in directly and be in control of” her own image. Like other NFT makers, Moss can write the terms and conditions of the NFT, which could allow her to have some control or rights over subsequent resales—which is an issue for models in the fashion industry. Bidding opens on Foundation tomorrow. (The Cut)

How Joe Biden Uses Art to Convey Coded Messages – Just as presidential fashion can offer subliminal clues and statements, so can presidential art. Biden has been flanked by carefully chosen artworks of late for photo shoots and events. During his St. Patrick’s Day address, he stood near a bust of Robert F. Kennedy, the late Irish-American former senator. While on the phone with the Texas governor in February during the state’s historic winter storm, Biden was accompanied by a painting of the signing of a treaty ending the Spanish-American war, conveying a message of bipartisan peace. (USA Today)


Takashi Murakami Withdraws NFTs – The Japanese artist has paused an in-process sale of NFTs he created in order to do additional research on the best way to sell and package them securely. “I sincerely apologize to those who have already put in their bids, but I hope you will understand the logic behind this withdrawal, the aim of which is to later allow you to enjoy my NFT works more conveniently and with peace of mind,” he wrote. (Instagram)

TEFAF Scraps Fall Fair in New York – The New York fair will scrap its fall event in New York, which focused on art and antiques, for good, and focus instead only on its spring event, which presents Modern and contemporary art. The next edition of TEFAF New York will be held at the Park Avenue Armory in spring 2022. (The Art Newspaper)


Art Dealer Turned Sleuth Martina Batan Dies – The prominent New York art dealer, who represented the likes of Joseph Beuys and Chris Burden, died at 62 from a series of strokes. Much of Batan’s life was spent trying to solve the murder of her brother, who died in 1978 at 14. Her quest became the subject of a poignant documentary. (New York Times)

Prominent Collector Norman Stone Dies – The fashion-forward San Francisco arts patron and collector died on April 2 at the age of 82. He was renowned for the contemporary art collection that he built with his wife, Norah, who died in 2019. They owned, among other works, Jeff Koons’s 1996 Balloon Dog and a version of Marcel Duchamp’s L.H.O.O.Q. (ARTnews)

Photographer June Newton Has Died – The wife of famed German photographer Helmut Newton—and a leading creative in her own right—died at age 97 on Friday in Monte Carlo. Under her pseudonym Alice Springs, June Newton rose to acclaim for her own photographic practice and shot iconic images of celebrities including Yves Saint Laurent, Robert Mapplethorpe, and Angelica Huston. (WWD)


Activists Arrested for Swiping Jefferson Davis Monument – New Orleans police arrested two people and were seeking a third in the theft of a Confederate monument to Jefferson Davis. The people were members of an anti-racist activist group, White Lies Matter, that confessed to stealing the memorial chair in Selma, Alabama, last month and threatened to turn it into a toilet. They said in a statement the monument had been returned unharmed. (Washington Post)

This French Organization Is Lending Artwork to the Public – If you live in France, you now have the chance to borrow works of art from local collections and hang them at home thanks to a creative new project called Une Oeuvre a la Maison (A Work at Home). Loanable works are under €10,000 and not extremely fragile. Potential participants can find out how to become an art host via Instagram. (Le Figaro)


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