Art Industry News: Government Filings Show Donald Trump Made $1 Million From Selling His NFTs + Other Stories

Plus, former Chicago Art Institute staffer pleads guilty to theft and billionaire collector Mitchell Rales enters the field to buy the Washington Commanders.

Former United States President Donald Trump. Photo by Shane Bevel/NCAA Photos via Getty Images.
Former United States President Donald Trump. Photo by Shane Bevel/NCAA Photos via Getty Images.

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 17.


EmRata on Art in Her Life – Growing up surrounded by the art created by her father, the painter and sculptor John David Ratajkowski, Emily Ratajkowski, now a mother herself, sits down with him to talk about her own art practice, and how art becomes key to her parenting philosophy. “Fortunately, you were and are so good at encouraging and nurturing creative impulses,” she tells her father. “So much of making art or having opinions about art—even having taste—requires risk. You have to put yourself out there.” (Cultured)

Former Art Institute Chicago Staffer Pleads Guilty to Theft – Michael Maurello, a former payroll manager at the Chicago-based institution pleaded guilty to misappropriating some $2 million in museum funds. Maurello will be sentenced on September 14, where he faces up to 20 years in prison and finds up to $250,000. (Chicago Tribune)

Trump Made $1 Million in NFT Sales – The former U.S. President has earned as much as $1 million from selling the 45,000 digital collectibles featuring his likeness, according to government filings. The NFTs were released in December and sold out within a day. (CoinDesk)

Conservationist Warns of Over-Restoration Schemes – Buyers of antiques have been warned of possible tricks from unethical dealers, who might make over-restoring furniture with modern additions look older than they are and put on a much higher price tag. (Observer)


Mitchell Rales Will Buy the Washington Commanders – The billionaire art collector is reportedly part of a group led by billionaire private equity investor Josh Harris to acquire the NFL franchise Washington Commanders from owner Dan Snyder for a record $6 billion. Former NBA star Magic Johnson is also part of this group. (ARTnews)

Kunsthalle Wien Gets New Director – British curator Michelle Cotton, currently program director at MUDAM in Luxembourg, has been named the new director of the Austrian institution and will take over in summer 2024. Croatia-based curatorial collective What, How & for Whom, which has been leading Kunsthalle Wien as directors since 2019, was ousted in 2022. (ArtReview)

MOCA Appoints José Luis Blondet As Senior Curator – José Luis Blondet will join the Museum of Contemporary Art as senior curator beginning on May 1. Blondet previously served as the curator of special initiatives at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art from 2015. (Press release)


Jerry Saltz Teaches Comedian to Do Art Criticism – Gianmarco Soresi showed off his art critic potential with the help from the Pulitzer Prize-winning art critic. “You don’t have to tell us if you like it or not. That’s the key. What I am interested in is what you see and how you see it,” Saltz told the comedian. Soresi was then handed over an image of Katherine Bernhardt‘s Swimming with Sharks (2015) and began his art critique debut. Soresi’s remarks definitely impressed the renowned art critic. “That is one of the most beautiful reviews of Katherine Bernhardt that I’ve heard,” Saltz noted. (YouTube)

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