Art Industry News: The Majority of NFT Collectors Are, Shockingly, Mostly in It for the Money, New Survey Says + Other Stories
Plus, the search is on for the mystery man who donated $50 million in art to the Bruce Museum, and the Courtauld's director is stepping down.
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 this Wednesday, April 27.
Is Steve Grossman the Bruce Museum’s $50 Million Man? – ARTnews has fingered the collector Steven M. Grossman as the mystery donor who gifted 70 artworks to the Bruce Museum in Greenwich, Connecticut. Clues that Grossman was behind the $50 million trove include the fact that some of the works had previously been loaned to Grossman’s alma mater, the University of Vermont, by an anonymous alumnus, and that his foundation was among the four biggest donors to the Bruce Museum’s 2020 expansion campaign. (ARTnews)
Judge Assigns an Essay to Man Who Defaced LGBTQ Pride Mural – A judge delivered an unorthodox sentence to Alexander Jerich, who damaged a rainbow mural outside the Pulse nightclub in Orlando soon after it was unveiled last year. Jerich has been ordered to write a 25-page essay about the 2016 shooting at the gay club, which left 49 people dead. (New York Times)
The Majority of NFT Collectors Are Just in It for the Money – A new survey found that 82 percent of NFT buyers are motivated by investment returns rather than appreciation of digital art. ArtTactic’s survey of 595 art buyers worldwide reported that 95 percent of buyers who purchased NFTs worth $25,000 or more cited returns as the main reason for their purchase. The upshot: NFTs are “still very much a speculator’s market,” Hiscox Group’s Robert Read observed. (Barrons)
Son of Painter Charged in Capitol Riot – Vincent Gillespie, the son of postwar American artist Gregory Gillespie, has been charged with seven counts relating to his participation in the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Federal investigators claim he tussled with law enforcement who were trying to keep rioters from entering the building; Gillespie denies the charges. For years, he has been in the midst of a legal battle with his stepmother over the paintings his late father left behind. (AP)
MOVERS & SHAKERS
Bosco Sodi Opening Art Space in the Catskills – Artist Bosco Sodi is opening a 23,000-square-foot museum for international contemporary art in a former Buick dealership in the Catskill Mountains on May 21. Locals hope the space—called Assembly and situated on the town’s main street—will help revitalize a tired neighborhood. (New York Times)
FBI Repatriates Artifacts to Peru – The FBI has returned 16 stolen Peruvian artifacts, artworks, and historic documents to the Peruvian government. The haul includes three stone axe heads confiscated from the disgraced amateur archeologist Donald Miller after a 2014 raid of his 40,000-piece collection of Indigenous and South American objects. (The Art Newspaper)
Rome Prize Winners Announced – The six visual art winners of the 2022–23 Rome Prize, which supports American artists working in Rome, are: Tony Cokes, Todd Gray, Ester Partegàs, Elle Pérez, Ioana M. Uricaru, and Bradford M. Young. Alice Visentin won the prize for an Italian fellow at the Fondazione Sviluppo e Crescita CRT. (ARTnews)
Courtauld Director Retires After 18 Years – Deborah Swallow is stepping down as director of the Courtauld Institute of Art in London. Swallow earned accolades for her efforts to globalize the focus of the historically Eurocentric institution and expand its donor base and scholar network. She will remain in the position while an international search for her replacement is conducted. (TAN)
FOR ART’S SAKE
See Julian-Jakob Kneer’s Haunting New Show in Zürich – Blue Velvet Projects is exhibiting work by the Berlin-based Swiss artist Julian-Jakob Kneer through May 28. The show, called “Shooting Star,” includes new works centered on a dark doppelgänger and explores “the monstrous part of celebrity culture, neurotic narcissism, as well as the definition and the destruction of the self.” (Press release)
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