Art Industry News: Leonardo DiCaprio Sold Off His Warhol Drawing of a Cat for $140,000 to Aid the Bahamas + Other Stories

Plus, police release a photo of the getaway car from the Dresden jewel heist and the art forgery industry is on the rise.

The actor Leonardo DiCaprio. / AFP / ANGELA WEISS.

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 Thursday, December 12.


The Rise of the Art Forgery Industry – In the past four decades, art forgery has become the third-highest-grossing criminal trade in the world, behind drugs and weapons, according to UNESCO. The sheer amount of money circulating in the global art market ($67.4 billion in 2018) and the ease of forging modern paintings (sales brokered online and for lower-profile assets often skip the due diligence process) is fertile ground for forgers. What’s more, there is often a disinterest in catching criminals because in many cases, the alleged “victims” actually benefit from the con, Vice contends, because they were using the art to move money around. (Vice)

Police Release a Photo of the Getaway Car From Dresden’s Jewel Heist – Investigators are still searching for clues in the heist of priceless diamonds from Dresden’s Green Vault; two and half weeks after the two robbers broke into the museum through a window and took off with jewelry and other diamond-encrusted pieces, police have released a photo of the getaway car, a white Audi A6, the same one that was later found on fire in a parking lot. (Monopol)

Leonardo DiCaprio’s Warhol Drawing Sold for $140,000 – The actor Leonardo DiCaprio’s Warhol, Cats/Pink Sam, fetched $140,000 at Sean Penn and Lenny Kravitz’s CORE x Let Love Rule gala for the Bahamas in Miami. The event raised more than $3.2 million for the cause, and DiCaprio also put down $35,000 on a package that included a private dinner by the Argentine chef Francis Mallmann and a stay at the Faena Hotel. (Page Six

Here’s How the Berkshire Museum Is Using Its Art Money – The Berkshire Museum recently reported to the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office exactly how it is using profits from its controversial deaccessioning of 22 works from its collection last year. The art sale missed its target of $55 million, which the museum attributes to the legal challenges that scuppered the original (and heavily marketed) auction plans. The Berkshire Eagle‘s investigation editor thinks this was compounded by the bad press the sale was getting, discouraging people to bid. Most of the money that was made is being used to plug the museum’s recurring deficit, as well as capital projects. Around $3 million is required by the AG’s office to be used “for the good of the collection.” (New England Public Radio)


White Cube Will Represent the Bram Bogart Estate – The gallery has announced the representation of the estate of Dutch-born Belgian artist Bram Bogart (1921−2012), whose layered works blur the line between painting and sculpture. In January, White Cube will open a solo exhibition of works the artist made between the 1960s and early 1990s at its Mason’s Yard location. (Press release)


Ruby City Names Elyse A. Gonzales Director – The San Antonio museum has named Elyse A. Gonzales its new director. The David Adjaye-designed contemporary art center opened last month and houses a 900-work collection of the late artist and philanthropist Linda Pace. Gonzales most recently served as acting director of the University of California, Santa Barbara’s Art, Design & Architecture Museum. (Artforum)

Hammer Museum Names New Board Members – The institution at UCLA has named three new board members: Apple Music’s Larry Jackson, philanthropist and collector Carla Emil, and Creative Artists Agency’s Joel Lubin. (The Hollywood Reporter)


London Has a Museum of Neoliberalism – The Museum of Neoliberalism opened in the Lewisham borough of South London last month. The project looks at the history, artifacts, and effects of the neoliberal era. There is a bottle of an Amazon worker’s urine and an installation of iPhones scrolling through articles showing the marketing of private life, including a piece from Bloomberg asking, “Could your stress levels be affecting the economy?” (Prospect)

Artist Shantell Martin Teams Up With Model Karlie Kloss to Encourage Girls to Code – British artist Shantell Martin has designed a limited-edition hoodie to benefit the nonprofit Kode With Klossy. The “Kode More” hoodie is imprinted with coding symbols, and profits from the $52.50 garment will go towards Kloss’s coding training program for young women. (WWD)

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