Art Industry News: Why Art Crime Is Easy, But Profiting Off of It Is Hard + More Must-Read Stories

Plus, meet a four-year-old Canadian art prodigy and see how Dia has transformed Beacon, New York over the past 15 years.

Dutch art historian and art detective Arthur Brand, Hoorn mayor Yvonne van Mastrigt, and Ad Geerdink director of the Westfries Museum at a press conference on artworks stolen from the museum in 2005.
Photo: Olaf Kraak/AFP/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 this Wednesday, June 27.


Super-Teacher Brings Artists to Schools – Art teacher Andria Zafirakou, who won a $1 million prize from the Varkey Foundation awarded to the world’s best teacher, is fundraising to bring leading artists, musicians, and academics to schools in deprived areas. Mark Wallinger, Gavin Turk, and Michael Craig-Martin are among the artists backing the initiative. (Evening Standard) ​

How Dia Gave Beacon a Big Boost – Fifteen years after the Dia Art Foundation turned a former Nabisco factory into a $50 million museum of contemporary art, the town of Beacon in upstate New York has benefited from increased tourism—but some fear overdevelopment. Meanwhile, Dia:Beacon plans to add 1,000 square feet of space within its existing building and restore the exterior of the factory to mark its birthday. (Curbed)

Stealing Art Is Easy—Selling It Is the Problem – Here’s the good news, if you’re an art thief: According to art crime expert Noah Charney, fewer than two percent of art thefts end with the recovery of the stolen work and the prosecution of the criminal. But that doesn’t mean art crime is a solid career path. Thieves often steal art thinking they can sell it—but it’s very difficult to unload a hot artwork unless you’ve lined up a buyer in advance. “There really is no Plan B,” Charney says. “Unless it’s gold.” (Bloomberg)

Four-Year-Old’s Abstract Art Sells BigChild prodigy Advait Kolarkar makes abstract paintings from a creative corner of his home in New Brunswick, has been offered a solo show at the City Gallery in Saint John, and has already sold $55,000 worth of art to buyers around the world. A win for snarky parents everywhere who claim, “my four-year-old could paint that.” (BBC)


Five New Galleries Join ADAA – The Art Dealers Association of America has added five new galleries to its 180-member nonprofit: Honor Fraser Gallery (Los Angeles), Kayne Griffin Corcoran (Los Angeles), Jessica Silverman Gallery (San Francisco), Franklin Parrasch Gallery (New York), and Venus Over Manhattan (New York). (Press release)

Frieze London Releases Exhibitor List – Frieze London and Frieze Masters have revealed the participants for this year’s edition, which runs from October 5 to 7. A total of 160 galleries will set up shop in Frieze London’s white tent and another 130 will pop up at Frieze Masters. The fair has also announced a new themed section, “Social Work,” focused on female artists working during the ’80s. (ARTnews)

Lynn Chadwick’s Family in Court Battle – The children and widowed wife of the esteemed British sculptor, who died in 2003, are locked in a battle over his estate. Chadwick’s daughter believes his remaining collection should be divided up among his children, while his wife wants it to be handled by the company Lypiatt Studio Ltd, of which she has a 52 percent controlling stake. (Evening Standard)

London Art Week Opens – The biannual London Art Week gets underway tonight through July 6 in the city’s traditional fine art district. Ancient sculptures, Old Master drawings, and post-Impressionist paintings are all within walking distance. (Press release)


Bauhaus Museum Announces Opening Date – The new €25 million ($29 million) Bauhaus Museum Dessau is slated to open on September 8, 2019, almost three years after its foundation stone was laid in December 2016. The museum will house the world’s largest collection devoted to the Bauhaus school after Berlin. (Monopol)

Mike Nelson Wins Royal Academy’s Top Prize – The twice Turner Prize-nominated artist and Royal Academician has won the prestigious £25,000 ($33,000) Charles Wollaston Award for his work at the RA’s 2018 summer exhibition. Nelson’s rubble-filled sleeping bag, Untitled (Public Sculpture for a Redundant Space), is a commission originally seen on New York’s High Line in 2016. (artnet News)

Ellsworth Kelly Award Winner Announced – The Mary S. Byrd Gallery of Art at Augusta University in Georgia has won the $40,000 annual grant administered by the Foundation for Contemporary Arts. The gallery is the third recipient of the by-invitation-only award, which is endowed by the Ellsworth Kelly Foundation. It will use the money for a show of work by the Atlanta-based sculptor Bojana Ginn in fall 2019. (Press release)

UK Artist David Spiller Has Died – The British pop artist known for his depictions of Disney characters and his zesty freehand texts died earlier this month, London’s Portland Gallery has confirmed. Spiller studied under Frank Auerbach, was influenced by Dubuffet, and often included song lyrics from the likes of Bob Dylan and the Beatles in his work. (Announcement)


How One Artist Supported Dozens of His Peers – The Portuguese sculptor Pedro Cabrita Reis collected works by artists including Joana Vasconcelos early on in their careers. Now owned by an electricity company, highlights of the 400-strong collection he amassed in the ’90s will go on view at MAAT in Lisbon. (New York Times)

Native American Textiles Gifted to US Museums – Saint Louis-based collectors Paul and Elissa Cahn have donated 156 weavings and related Native American and South American artworks to the Minneapolis Institute of Art and the Saint Louis Art Museum. The Cahns began collecting in the ‘80s with the intention of enriching museums’ holdings of Native weavings, particularly work by Pueblo, Mexican, and Aymara artists. (Press release)

Russia Opens Exhibition Center for Icons – The Ovchinnikov Ikonoteka space, named after the restoration expert Adolf Ovchinnikov, will trace the history of copying icons in Russia to save them from age or Soviet anti-religious drives. Launched by the Grabar Conservation Center in Moscow, the space will show religious icons made by the restorer between 1958 and 2016. (The Art Newspaper)

NPG Director Moonwalks With Culture Minister – Universal Music communications head Jonathan Badyal snapped London’s National Portrait Gallery Director Nick Cullinan giving the UK culture secretary Matt Hancock a master class in moonwalking last night at the opening of the gallery’s blockbuster “Michael Jackson: On the Wall” exhibition. (Twitter)

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