Art Industry News: Meet the Multitalented Young Artist Who’s Now the Breakout Star of ‘Uncut Gems’ + Other Stories
Plus, experts wonder if the Dresden jewel heist was an inside job and the Outsider Art Fair will showcase works collected by famous artists.
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, January 6.
Six People Arrested for Suspected Fontainebleau Heist – Five Spaniards and one Chinese citizen were detained on December 29 in France after being accused of having planned the theft of valuable items from the Chinese Museum of the Castle of Fontainebleau in the south of Paris back in 2015. The six suspects have been known to the police for other robberies and drug trafficking in Spain. They are now in jail awaiting trial. (El Pais)
Louvre Attendance Dips Despite Leonardo – The Louvre’s attendance dipped slightly in 2019 after a record year in 2018. Visitor numbers fell to 9.6 million, down from 10.2 million, despite the Paris museum opening its blockbuster Leonardo da Vinci exhibition at the end of October. The museum’s director, Jean-Luc Martinez, explained that since the summer, the Louvre has aimed to cap attendance at around one million visitors a month in an effort to improve the experience at the notoriously crowded institution. He urges people to book their tickets online to avoid being turned away at the door. (RTBF)
The Breakout Star of Uncut Gems Is Also an Artist – Before Julia Fox became a breakout star in the cult film Uncut Gems (which also includes another art-world cameo), she was a visual artist. One solo show featured her paintings on silk colored with her own blood. The 29-year-old’s career portfolio includes stints as a dominatrix, author, fashion designer, and photographer. Fox was also one of the women who called out the artist Chuck Close for alleged sexual misconduct during a photo shoot. (He apologized for inappropriate behavior.) “You have to use your pain as your gift,” Fox says. “If you’re able to take something really negative and repackage it as something positive, you’ve nailed it.” (Hollywood Reporter)
Was the Dresden Heist an Inside Job? – An Israeli security company investigating the heist at Dresden’s Green Vault has turned its inquiry inward, scrutinizing the museum’s own security staff, the German newspaper Bild reports. The CGI Group has passed on information to German police that indicates the audacious theft could have been an inside job. Bild quotes an unnamed source who claims that cell phone data and camera footage show that a museum employee “passed security-relevant information to one of the suspects.” The diamond-encrusted objects stolen in the heist, including the $12 million Dresden White diamond, are still missing. (Telegraph)
Outsider Art Fair Will Showcase Famous Artists’ Picks – Want to collect like your favorite artists? Then buy outsider art. From January 16 to January 19, New York’s Outsider Art Fair will present a selection of work by self-taught artists collected by the lines of Maurizio Cattelan, Nicole Eisenman, Jenny Holzer, Nicolas Party, Cindy Sherman, and Laurie Simmons, among others. The star artists are lending paintings, sculptures, and other works by artists including Vahakn Arslanian, Morton Bartlett, Hawkins Bolden, and Eugene Von Bruenchenhein. (Artfix Daily)
An Artist Tries to Recreate Cattelan’s Banana at Another Fair – If you missed the opportunity to buy an edition of Maurizio Cattelan’s Comedian at Art Basel Miami Beach, never fear: another artist has taken the liberty of creating his own version, on sale now at the 32nd Las Olas Art Fair in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The work by Roy Rodriguez is available for $100,000—which is $20,000 less than Cattelan’s, but quite a bit for a little-known artist. No word on whether Rodriguez has gotten a buyer to bite. (WSVN)
COMINGS & GOINGS
Curator Christoph Vitali Has Died – The well-known Swiss curator, who led the Schirn Kunsthalle in Frankfurt, the Haus der Kunst in Munich, and the Fondation Beyeler in Basel over the course of his long career, died in Zurich on December 18. Vitali, who has been called the “Maestro of all art managers” for his many leadership roles, was 79. (Artforum)
Steve Martin Donates to an Unlikely Museum – The American art collector, comedian, and banjo enthusiast donated a unique banjo with his name inscribed to the American Banjo Museum in Oklahoma City. Martin—who has organized shows and donated works to art institutions including the Hammer and the MFA Boston—was inducted into the banjo museum’s Hall of Fame in 2015. (KJRH)
FOR ART’S SAKE
Medical Experts Help Solve an Art-Historical Mystery – Secrets lying inside a significant 20th-century mask from the Ivory Coast have been revealed through an unlikely process: a CT scan. The male ceremonial Senufo helmet mask contains tree pods and skeletal remains from a small lizard, among other probably symbolic materials. The piece is the central focus of the exhibition “Not Visible to the Naked Eye: Inside a Senufo Helmet Mask” at the Dallas Museum of Art, on view until March 2021. (The Art Newspaper)
Russell Crowe Calls for Action Against Wildfires Raging in Australia – The art collector and actor used his “on-screen moment” at the Golden Globes on Sunday to call attention to the bushfires in Australia. “The tragedy in Australia is based on climate change,” said Crowe, who had actor Jennifer Aniston read out his acceptance speech while he remained in Australia with his family because of the fire. “We must act on the basis of scientific evidence, convert our global workforce to renewable energy and learn to respect our planet as the unique and wonderful place it is,” he said. (Monopol)
Should the Isabella Stewart Gardner Raise the Reward for Missing Art? – A Dutch art detective has criticized the FBI and the Boston museum for its strategy to recover the stolen art in America’s most notorious heist. There is currently a $10 million reward for the recovery of all 13 Old Masters stolen in 1990. Art detective Arthur Brand thinks that there should be rewards for individual works instead, and that there should be no restriction on the works’ condition. However, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum’s director of security, Antony Amore, dismissed Brand’s suggestions, which he first made on social media. Amore told the Boston Herald: “We have no comment on some guy’s [bleeping] Twitter.” To refresh your memory (have you seen them?), take a look at some of the works at large below. (Boston Herald)
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