Art Industry News: Attorney General Accuses Trump of Illegal Art Purchase + More Must-Read Stories

Plus, a Banksy work is stolen from a Toronto show and the Noguchi Museum director accuses Walmart of copying.

Portrait of Donald Trump, found hanging in the Champions Lounge at Trump National Doral Resort. Photo: Enrique Acevedo, via Twitter.

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 Friday, June 15.


Walmart Copy Upsets Noguchi Museum – Brett Littman, the director of the Isamu Noguchi Museum in New York, has written a letter calling out Walmart for selling a knock-off version of the Japanese-American artist’s 1947 coffee table. Littman said he would write the retail giant and the manufacturer to cease the fabrication and sale of the tables “as it is an infringement of our trademark and trade dress rights.” (Curbed)

The Man Who Can Spot a Master Forgery – James Martin, the founder of Orion Analytical who now works for Sotheby’s, reveals that he was such a good copyist as a student that his conservation professors worried that if they “taught me all the science, I’d be a natural forger.” Last year he analyzed more than $100 million worth of art for the auction house in New York and he’s setting up a lab in London. (Guardian)

Trump’s ‘Self-Dealing’ Art Is Back in the NewsThe New York Attorney General’s investigation into the Trump family’s illicit use of its own charitable foundation is bringing his art purchases back into focus. A $10,000 portrait Trump bought of himself and then hung at one of his golf courses is one in “at least five self-dealing transactions” that violate tax regulations, according to the attorney general’s office. (New York Times)

Gerhard Richter’s Pendulum Swings in a German Church – The artist has donated his version of Foucault’s Pendulum to a deconsecrated church in Münster. The kinetic piece, which will swing permanently as the earth rotates, “represents a small victory for science,” Richter said. (The Art Newspaper)​


Rosa Parks’s House Heads to Auction – The artist Ryan Mendoza is selling the house where the Civil Rights activist lived in Detroit, which he turned into a work of art. He hopes the “national treasure” will go for a seven-figure sum. Some of the proceeds from the auction at Guernsey in New York will support a foundation that preserves Rosa Parks’s legacy. (Guardian)

Art Prizes Attract Collector Attention at Art Basel – Numerous dealers at Art Basel are capitalizing on the fact that some of their artists have won prestigious prizes, including Goodman Gallery, which is showing El Anatsui (who won the Praemium Imperiale), Kiluanji Kia Henda and Kapwani Kiwanga (Frieze Awards), and Hank Willis Thomas (Guggenheim Fellowship). (TAN)

Banksy Show Gets Burgled – An unidentified work was stolen on Saturday ahead of the opening of the street artist’s unauthorized retrospective “The Art of Banksy,” organized by dealer Steve Lazarides in Toronto. Police have released a video of a male suspect leaving with a painting. (CBC)

Judge Reverses Caillebotte Export Bar – A Canadian judge has overruled a cultural export review panel. He decided the experts were unreasonable and must reconsider why they blocked Heffel auction house from exporting the French artist’s 1892 painting Iris bleus, jardin du Petit Gennevilliers, which it sold to a British gallery in 2016. (Globe & Mail)​


Harvard Art Museums Hires a New Chief Curator – Soyoung Lee has been named incoming chief curator of Harvard’s art museums, beginning in September. Lee is leaving the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where she worked for 15 years in various curatorial positions in the department of Asian art. (Press release)

London’s Showroom Lures Director From Creative Time – Elvira Dyangani Ose, currently senior curator at New York’s Creative Time, will head to the London nonprofit arts space The Showroom in the fall. She succeeds Emily Pethick, who has been director for 10 years. (Press release)

LACMA Announces Art + Tech Lab Award Winners – Four artists have received LACMA’s award for art projects engaging in emerging technology. They are Jen Liu, Diana Thater, Sarah Rara, and Tahir Hemphill. Hemphill will create a neural network trained on his data project Hip Hop Word Count. (Press release)

Shirley Tse Will Represent Hong Kong in Venice – M+ and the Hong Kong Arts Development Council announced that Hong Kong-born and Los Angeles-based artist Shirley Tse will represent Hong Kong in the 58th Venice Biennale. Tse’s new work will be curated by Christina Li. (ArtAsiaPacific)


Mucha’s Masterpiece Finally Finds a Home – Czech Art Nouveau painter Alfons Mucha’s Slav Epic has been moved many times over the years. It survived World War II hidden away from the Nazis under a pile of coal. Finally, the set of 20 large narrative paintings will receive their own exhibition hall inside Prague’s Lapidarium. (Press release)

Photographer Ralph Gibson Receives Légion of Honor – The US photographer has received one of France’s most prestigious recognitions, given to him by the French Culture Minister Françoise Nyssen. Gibson also announced that he has arranged to donate several hundred images and contact sheets that comprise the “strongest” photos he’s taken of France. (Les Nautes de Paris)

Veteran Artist Buries Himself Under a Tasmanian Street – The 73-year-old Australian performance artist Mike Parr is sketching and meditating for three days while buried in a steel container under a road in Hobart, Tasmania. Called Underneath the Bitumen the Artist, the work is a memorial to the indigenous victims of British colonial violence. Parr’s work is part of the Dark Mofo festival, organized by David Walsh’s Museum of Old and New Art. (CNN) (Instagram)

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