Art Industry News: Famed Artist Chuck Close Is Accused of Sexual Misconduct + More Must-Read Stories

Plus, the trailer for Met Ball heist film Ocean’s 8 is here and Liu Yiqian sets another Chinese auction record.

Chuck Close Photo: Jared Siskin/

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, December 20.


The Trailer for the Met Heist Film Ocean’s 8 Is Here – The Met Gala is the backdrop for the new ensemble heist film, whose trailer was released yesterday. With the help of fellow criminals played by Cate Blanchett, Mindy Kaling, and Rihanna, Sandra Bullock masterminds the theft of a $100 million necklace worn to the gala. The film, directed by Gary Ross, premieres in the US on June 8. (Vulture)

Düsseldorf Faces Claim for Allegedly Looted Painting – A 1913 Franz Marc painting that hangs in the city’s Kunstpalast and was once in the collection of Jewish banker Kurt Grawi is at the heart of a dispute with Grawi’s heirs. The family says the painting was sold under duress; the museum says the circumstances of the sale remain unclear. (The Art Newspaper)

Chuck Close Accused of Sexual Misconduct – Two women have come forward with accusations against the renowned painter, alleging that he coaxed them into modeling nude and made inappropriate remarks and advances in the process. Close’s lawyer argued that “no sexual act ever occurred” and added, referring to his client’s health, that “if the article has its intended effect it will literally kill Mr. Close.” (Huffington Post)

Imprisoned Beijing Artist Out on Bail – The artist, Hua Yong, was arrested this past Friday after documenting mass forced evictions of migrant workers from the countryside who came to work in the Chinese capital. He was released on bail on Monday. (South China Morning Post)​


Condo London Announces 2018 Participants – The popular gallery-share model announced participating dealers for its London edition, which opens on January 13. The program will see galleries from from all over the world setting up in the British capital, including Proyectos Ultravioleta from Guatemala City, Tokyo’s Misako and Rosen, and a slew of Berlin galleries. (ARTnews)

Liu Yiqian Sets Another Chinese Auction Record – The billionaire collector Liu Yiqian, the founder of China’s Long Museum, bought an oil painting by Chen Yifei for $22 million at a China Guardian sale, setting a new auction record for a work of contemporary Chinese art sold at auction. (Global Times)

The Indian Art Market Is on the Rise – An economic boom is boosting India’s art market. In the past 19 months alone, 47 world records for Indian artists have been set at auction. Two important shows by Indian women artists on view in Paris and a planned exhibition at the Asia Society in New York next year are generating additional interest. (AFP)​


Canadian Inuit Art Center Gets $10 Million  On the heels of the news that the Inuit collective Isuma will represent Canada at the 2019 Venice Biennale, the Canadian government has dedicated $10 million to the Winnipeg Art Gallery’s Inuit Art Center, a new building due to be complete in 2020. Experts say the funds signal Canada’s increasing drive for meaningful engagement with the country’s Indigenous populations. (Press release)

Paris’s Fashion Museum Gets a New Director – Miren Arzalluz has been appointed director of the Palais Galliera. A fashion veteran, she most recently served as director of the Cristóbal Balenciaga Foundation for eight years. She will begin her new role in January for a period of five years. (Vogue)

Michigan Museum Reopens Conservation Center – The University of Michigan Museum of Art has reopened its Asian conservation laboratory. Originally founded in 1987, the lab provides conservation services for East Asian paintings on behalf of institutions and collectors around the globe. (The Detroit News)

Art Institute of Chicago Appoints New Curator – Jay A. Clarke will begin her new role as a curator in the Chicago institution’s prints and drawings department on April 1. Clarke has served as the curator of prints, drawings, and photographs at the Clark Art Institute since 2009. (Artforum)


Dallas Art Space Says It Can’t Be Fined Because It’s Art – The studio complex Ash Studios was fined $700 by the fire marshal for holding a performance without the proper certificate of occupancy. Ash Studios took the matter to court and mounted a creative defense: Its building isn’t really a building but rather a “social sculpture”—so the normal rules don’t apply. The judge denied the motion. (Dallas Observer)

A New Technique to Restore Alabaster – The Liebieghaus museum in Frankfurt is restoring the iconic Rimini Altar—one of the largest and most exquisite late Medieval sculptural ensembles made from fragile alabaster—in a high-tech fashion. The museum’s conservators are collaborating with the Louvre and the Prado to use laser technology and a custom gel to analyze and clean the altar. (TAN)

How Steven Holl Built an Art Collection by Bartering – The architect behind the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City has a West Village apartment filled with works by the likes of Zaha Hadid, Anish Kapoor, and Richard Tuttle. But Holl says that he does not collect art—he trades it for goods and services. He acquired the Kapoor work, for example, by writing an article for the artist. (New York Times)

Gucci’s New Campaign Is an Art History Mash-Up – The Italian brand has released its latest advertising campaign, titled “Utopian Fantasy.” It features models standing against backdrops by artist Ignasi Monreal that are painted in the style of art-historical titans, from Hieronymus Bosch to Jan van Eyck. After all, who wouldn’t want to wear something plucked from the garden of earthly delights? (W Magazine)

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