Art Industry News: Justin Bieber Buys Kobe Bryant Tribute Art That Simultaneously Rips Off Kanye and Murakami + Other Stories

Plus, an artist is suing Disney and JR unveils a new mural in Brooklyn.

Justin Bieber, longtime Lakers fan, showing off his team bling courtside in 2010. Photo by Noel Vasquez/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, February 3.


A Teenager Who Jumped Off Vessel at Hudson Yards Has Died – A 19-year-old man believed to be Peter De Salvo, a student at Scared Heart University, jumped from the 150-foot-tall structure on Sunday. Classmates have expressed their grief at the death saying that he seemed like a happy young man. Concerns about the height of the railings were expressed in a review of the structure when it opened. (New York Times)

Artist Sues Disney Over ‘Copied’ Artwork – San Francisco-based artist Sweet Cecily Daniher is suing Disney and its subsidiary Pixar after a painting on the side of a van she lent them for an event subsequently appeared in the film Onward. A representative from Pixar had reached out to Daniher to rent her ”Amazing Vanicorn” as a prop for an event but upon seeing the promotional material for Onward the artist recognized her van. When she complained, the films’ producer “admitted to the Plaintiff that the Defendants intentionally did not inform her” that her work would be used in this way. The design has been featured on posters and a replica of the van has been made. (The Art Newspaper)

Justin Bieber Buys Kobe Bryant Tribute Art The pop singer and longtime Lakers fan has bought a work from the Los Angeles-based Idiot Box Art, run by Emily Bright and Tamara Martin, that depicts a cartoon bear wearing Kobe Bryant’s #8 Lakers jersey over a Mamba hoodie. Bieber paid $1,200 for the wooden bear, painted in acrylic, but miniature versions are going on sale for $200 a pop to benefit the Mamba On Three fund to support the other victims of the helicopter crash that killed Bryant and his daughter Gianna in January. And yes, the artwork looks exactly like a Murakami (specifically the “Kanye Bear” that Murakami designed for Kanye West’s 2007 album “Graduation,” art-ifying the bear motif the musician adopted for his “College Dropout” cover), but no, it is not a real Murakami. (TMZ)

Artist to Represent France at the Venice Biennale Under Fire for Alleged Ties to BDS – Zineb Sedira, slated to be the first artist of Algerian descent to represent France at the Venice Biennale in 2020, has been criticized over her links to the pro-Palestinian organization Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement. Sedira says she is not and has never been a member of BDS, saying, “I have never had acquaintance with this movement. I also firmly condemn any boycott and I cannot be associated with or support the BDS. I oppose BDS and any global boycott that would have the counterproductive effect of affecting and paralyzing women and men who want to live in peace.” (ARTnews)


Design Shanghai Gets Postponed – The Design Shanghai fair will now run from May 26 to 29, 2020 after being been called off due to the global outbreak of the coronavirus. It was supposed to run from March 12–15. In a statement the fair said, “After careful consideration and advice, we have made the difficult decision to postpone Design Shanghai to ensure the welfare and safety of visitors to our show, our exhibitors, and our team.” (Press release)

Photography Dealer Michael Shapiro Stages Exhibition in London – The exhibition at Richard Nagy features work by Man Ray, Imogen Cunningham, and Ansel Adams. Shapiro has spent decades amassing his expert collection. The exhibition contains 50 pictures and runs from February 6 to March 7. (Financial Times)

Inigo Philbrick Accused of Selling a Painting Without Collectors’ Knowledge – In an affidavit filed in New York’s Supreme Court collector Andre Sakhai accuses Inigo Philbrick of selling a Wade Guyton painting that he had already agreed to sell to another party. This is part of a lawsuit filed by an entity called Guzzini regarding the consignment of a Rudolf Stingel painting. Philbrick is already accused of withholding millions of dollars from the German company Fine Art Partners in a separate lawsuit (ARTnews)


Collector Leaves Dutch and British Masterworks to Museums – Artworks and furniture pieces that belonged to George Way, an avid collector nicknamed the “Oak Man” who died in June, will go to the New York State Museum and the Van Wagenen House. A few hundred objects and paintings are set to go on sale at Skinner auction house in Boston this June. (New York Times)

V&A Appoints Inaugural Photography Director – The Victoria and Albert Museum has named scholar and curator Duncan Forbes as its first-ever director of photography. He takes up the post in April 2020 and oversee the development of the V&A’s Photography Center that is set to open in 2022. (Artforum)

Crochet Pioneer Del Pitt Feldman Dies – The artist who made crochet a respected medium for fashion and art died on January 14 in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, at age 90. (NYT)

Collector Hester Diamond Dies at 91  The esteemed New York collector was a major supporter of British painter and sculptor Barbara Hepworth, and her collection included pieces by Picasso, Léger, Mondrian, and Brancusi. (NYT)


More Artifacts Recovered After Fire At Museum Of Chinese in America – The New York museum has salvaged at least 200 boxes of objects from the fire that ravaged the institution’s storage facility on January 23. Tens of thousands of pieces were thought to be lost. Menus from Chinatown’s earliest restaurants, handwritten letters, and tickets for ship passages were among the historic documents stored in the building. (AAP)

Could New Lighting Technology Transform Conservation? – Advancements in technology mean that non-invasive lighting could help limit the need for some traditional restoration techniques. Replacing traditional halogen lamps with energy-efficient LEDs means lower heat emissions and less ultraviolet or infrared radiation, both which pose threats to works of art. It also allows for higher levels of control over the way a painting appears to viewers, bringing out more nuances in the work. (TAN)

JR Prepares to Unveil Mural of 1,000 New Yorkers – Today’s the day: World-famous street artist JR will unveil his collaged mural featuring 1,000 New Yorkers on a at Domino Park in Brooklyn. The highly anticipated reveal accompanies the Brooklyn Museum’s current exhibition “JR: Chronicles,” which runs through May. (New York Observer)

Follow Artnet News on Facebook:

Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.