Art Industry News: The Founders of a Popular ‘All-Female’ NFT Project Turned Out to Be Three Russian Men + Other Stories

Plus, curator Vivian Crockett joins the New Museum, and the underbidder on that $69 million Beeple just spent $500,000 on an NFT of a rock.

An NFT by Ryoji Ikeda at Sotheby's preview. (Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP 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 Wednesday, August 25.


Beeple Underbidder Paid $500,000 for an NFT of a Rock – Crypto investor, Beeple underbidder, and sometime art collector Justin Sun recently announced that he bought an NFT of a rock for $500,000. (We know, we know, art people buy ridiculous things too, but come on!) Bloomberg’s Jared Dillian likens the ridiculous heights reached by the NFT craze to the attitude toward currency inflation in Weimar Germany, writing, “The defining financial feature of 2021 is that money is so easy and speculation is rampant, just as it was in Germany in 1920.” (Bloomberg)

Thousands Sign Petition to Keep Archaeology Program at U.K. School – More than 4,000 people have petitioned to keep the archaeology program at Worcester University in England after it announced plans to drop the course in response to a “very low” number of applicants in recent years. The school is among a growing number no longer offering archaeology, which academics have decried as “nothing short of cultural vandalism.” (BBC)

Three Men Were Behind an “All-Female” NFT Project – After it emerged that three Russian men were behind the creation of an “all-female” NFT project that dropped earlier this month and promptly generated $1.5 million, the value of the project tanked—and the bros behind the “Fame Lady Squad” apologized for misleading buyers. In an effort to give back to the NFT community, they transferred the smart contract for the project (which includes any earnings) to digitalartchick, a popular NFT personality, who passed it on to a team of female NFT collectors. (Insider)

Attempted Treasure Thief Gets Three Years – A 28-year-old Dutch man has been sentenced to three years in prison for acting as a lookout in the attempted robbery of gold treasure from the Rheinisches Landesmuseum in Trier last October. (Monopol)


New Museum Names New Curator – The New Museum in New York has hired Vivian Crockett as its newest curator. She will begin the role in January. Crockett previously served as assistant curator at the Dallas Museum of Art in Texas, where she focused on work by Latinx artists and artists of the African diaspora. (ARTnews)

Eduardo F. Costantini Revealed as Lam Buyer – The Argentine real estate developer has revealed himself as the buyer of Wifredo Lam’s Omi Obini (1943) and Remedios Varo’s Armonía (Autorretrato Surgente) (1956) at Sotheby’s last June. The collective purchase of $15.8 million set records for both Latin American modernists. Costantini plans to put the works on view in his private museum, Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires. (ARTnews)

Von Bartha Will Open a New Gallery in Copenhagen – Von Bartha gallery is opening a new space in Copenhagen, Denmark, this winter. Located inside a historic lighthouse and directed by Mamie Beth Cary, it will be the gallery’s first space outside of Switzerland. Meanwhile, Von Bartha plans to close its space in Engadin after a final exhibition in November. (Press release)


Damien Hirst’s NFT Sales Have Teeth – Damien Hirst’s first NFT collection, “the Currency,” is swimming along as expected, minting the artist more than $25 million as of August 23. Recently, the artist spotted a pattern in a graph plotting the price movements of his “tenders,” a fin-like spike that inspired him to doodle a little shark. How cute. Paddles at the ready? (Instagram)


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