Art Industry News: ‘Hunter Biden’s Artwork Is Actually Good and Will Be Worth a Lot,’ According to the NY Post, Which Tried to Destroy Him + Other Stories

Plus, Johann König opens a showroom in Monaco, and cartoonists are up in arms that they were passed over for a Pulitzer.

Hunter Biden attends the World Food Program USA's Annual McGovern-Dole Leadership Award Ceremony at Organization of American States in 2016 in Washington, DC. Photo: Paul Morigi/Getty Images for World Food Program USA.

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 Wednesday, June 16.


Why Was No Pulitzer Awarded for Cartooning? – The three artists shortlisted for a Pulitzer Prize in editorial cartooning this year were “mystified” and “insulted” that no winner was chosen in the category. The reason? The board for the prize could not come to a consensus. Cartooning organizations globally are up in arms given the challenging political year in which these artists created their work. (Washington Post)

Scholars Reignite Albrecht Dürer Altar Debate – Art historians have reignited an argument over whether a 500-year-old altar in a German church contains a panel painted by Albrecht Dürer. The attribution of the panel depicting stories of John the Baptist and the Passion of the Christ has been debated for years given elements it shares with the Northern Renaissance artist’s style and similarities between the facial expression of St. John’s executioner and a portrait Dürer painted of his mother. (ARTnews)

Experts Kind of Like Hunter Biden’s Art – Wait, is Hunter Biden’s art actually kind of good? Yes, according to experts surveyed by the New York Post following Artnet News’s own interview with the first son. (Notably, this triple-bylined report comes from the same paper that published an explosive—and unverified—story based on emails from Biden’s laptop.) “I think it’s pretty strong—I like it,” said Mark Tribe, chairman of the MFA Fine Arts Department at the School of Visual Arts. Even mega-collector Jeffrey Gundlach said on Twitter that he felt the work was “not bad at all.” But not everyone is a fan. Referring to one work that resembles bacteria under a microscope, art consultant Martin Galindo said, “Oh, my God, that looks like COVID.” (New York Post)

Does the Queen Own a Looted Benin Bronze? – In news that may or may not be shocking, the Queen of England owns a bronze head of an oba that was first seized by British troops in 1897 during the bloody punitive expedition in Benin. After the looted work was traded on the international art market, it was acquired for Nigeria’s national museum in Lagos some time before 1957—but in 1973, the then-Nigerian president plucked it from the collection as a diplomatic gift to the Queen. The Royal Collection is leaving it up to its trustees to determine whether they would consider offering the object back to the Edo Museum of West African Art in Nigeria. (The Art Newspaper)


Christie’s to Pop Up in Aspen and the Hamptons – Christie’s is joining the wave of blue-chip galleries and auction houses opening temporary locations in the Hamptons and Aspen. Christie’s Southampton, which opens this month, will occupy a 5,600-square-foot building on 1 Pond Lane; its Aspen outpost opens July 3 with a street-art inspired show, “Basquiat to Banksy.” (Press release)

König Opens Showroom in Monaco – Don’t worry, there’s action in European vacation destinations, too: Dealer Johann König is opening a showroom at Villa Nuvola in Monaco. The space will show a cross-section of the gallery’s roster of international artists beginning June 18. (Instagram)


Virginia Museum to Repatriate Aboriginal Art – The Kluge-Ruhe Museum at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville will return 17 religious and ceremonial objects acquired by Edward Ruhe, a professor who visited Australia in the 1960s. In conversation with the Australian government, the museum identified the original aboriginal communities from which the objects were taken; some members recognized them from use in ceremonies 50 years ago. (WVTF)

Malta Is Getting Biblical for the Venice Biennale – The Malta pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2022 will feature a site-specific recreation of Caravaggio’s seminal altarpiece The Beheading of St. John the Baptist by the collective Diplomazija Astuta. The team includes curators Keith Sciberras and Jeffrey Uslip, artists Giuseppe Schembri Bonaci and Arcangelo Sassolino, and composer Brian Schembri. (Newsbook)


Pests Moved Into Museums During Lockdown – Curators have invented a card game to educate staff on how to crack down on the bugs that have invaded museums during lockdown. “Save the Museum!” includes cards that can help staff who may not have a background in conservation identify hazardous pests. The game is being distributed to 140 collections in the U.K. thanks to funding from Historic England. (TAN)

Libbie Mugrabi Says Her Ex Damaged Art Promised to Her in Divorce – Libbie Mugrabi has filed a suit to reopen her divorce settlement with David Mugrabi, alleging that her ex-husband deliberately damaged works by Jean-Michel Basquiat and Andy Warhol that were awarded to her by a judge. The socialite is asking the court to invalidate their separation agreement so that they can renegotiate an appropriate settlement. (Page Six)

Marian Goodman Celebrates Her Birthday – Veteran gallerist Marian Goodman celebrated her 93rd birthday yesterday. Happy birthday, Marian! Thanks for making a good name for Geminis everywhere. (Twitter)

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