Art Industry News: Another Art-World Scammer Is Discovered Preying on the Italian Riviera + More Must-Read Stories

Plus, White Cube now represents Danh Vo and star curator Omar Kholeif abruptly leaves his post at the MCA Chicago.

Larissa Watson, from @larissa.watson1 via Facebook.

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 Thursday, June 7.


German Museum Battles Auctioneer – Berlin’s Märkisches Museum is fighting to recover a glass goblet looted at the end of World War II that recently reappeared on the block at the Viennese auction house Im Kinsky. The auctioneer called off the sale but returned the goblet to the consignor, not the museum. Now, the consignor has rejected the museum’s offer of a $6,000 finder’s fee and is planning to sell the goblet for $57,000. (The Art Newspaper)

Newsprint Uncovered Beneath Picasso Painting – Using infrared technology, researchers have discovered that Picasso painted Mother and Child on the Beach on top of a copy of the French daily paper Le Journal, which the artist often read. The newsprint from the January 18, 1902 issue might have been used to cover older layers of paint. The painting will go on display in the Musée d’Orsay in Paris. (Monopol)

Artist Accused of Being the “Portofino Pirate” – Move over, Anna Delvey. The artist and designer Larissa Watson is alleged to have spent three months scamming luxury resorts on the Italian Riviera, having left hotels and restaurants without paying and later trying to steal a luxury motorboat. Dubbed the “Portofino Pirate,” the 50-year-old artist had a solo show in a Dublin gallery last December that featured paintings depicting “feelings derived from a dream world.” (Daily Mail)​

Australia to Build Massive Contemporary Art Gallery – The state government of Victoria is teaming up with the National Gallery of Victoria to build the country’s largest contemporary art gallery in the city’s new arts quarter. The gallery will be built on the site of the former Melbourne headquarters for Anheuser-Busch. The revitalized Melbourne Arts Precinct, of which this new venue will be a centerpiece, is expected to open in 2025. (TAN)


Iran’s Rising Art Market Faces New Problems – Iran’s first art fair, Teer, opens in Tehran this month with 11 participating Iranian galleries. But the 40 percent drop in the value of Iranian toman against the US dollar in the space of a month is having a chilling effect, adding a new layer to ongoing challenges. (TAN)

White Cube Will Represent Danh Vo – Fresh off his solo exhibition at New York’s Guggenheim, the Vietnam-born artist, who grew up in Denmark and is now based in Mexico City and Berlin, will be represented by White Cube in addition to Marian Goodman, Xavier Hufkens, Kurimanzutto, and Galerie Chantal Crousel. (Press release)

Pierre Bergé’s Art Heads to Auction – The eclectic collection of Yves Saint Laurent’s business partner and former lover will go on sale this fall. The 1,200 lots reveal Bergé’s “super cultivated” tastes and his “inquisitive mind,” says Mario Tavella, the chair of Sotheby’s Europe. They include manuscripts, antiquities, 10 works by Bernard Buffet (another lover), and a Picasso sculpture. (Guardian)

The Fine Art Society Will Leave Its Historic Home – After more than 140 years, the Fine Art Society is moving out of its gallery in London’s Mayfair. The New Bond Street space will be taken over by Halcyon Gallery. (Antiques Trade Gazette) ​


Global Curator Abruptly Leaves MCA Chicago – Omar Kholeif left the museum on June 4, stepping down from his role as senior curator and director of global initiatives after less than three years. Kholeif says he wants to spend more time on freelance projects, including writing books and working on the Sharjah Biennial, Abu Dhabi Art, and the V-A-C Pavilion at the 58th Venice Biennale. (Newcity)

David Roberts Foundation Announces Its Next Collaboration – Under the leadership of newly appointed director Fatoş Üstek, the David Roberts Art Foundation will stage its first in a UK-wide program of group exhibitions at the Mostyn gallery in north Wales. Opening on July 14, the 40 participating artists include Pierre Huyghe, Carol Bove, and Theaster Gates. (Press release)

Frieze’s Summer Sculpture Park Returns – Sculptures by 25 artists will be installed in London’s Regent’s Park for three months, from July 4 until the end of Frieze Week in October. Yorkshire Sculpture Park director Clare Lilley selected work by John Baldessari, Elmgreen & Dragset, and Kiki Smith, among others. Two emerging galleries are also able to participate for the first time with financial support from art handling firm Mtec. (Press release)


A Profile of Our Own Kenny Schachter – The dealer-collector-writer confesses that he was a bad tie salesman and a bad lawyer whose life changed when he went to an auction of Warhol’s belongings and discovered the art world. With a $10,000 loan from the bank, he became a dealer. The rest is a maverick’s history, which he is mostly writing himself (including, perhaps, his own obituary, which would be “fiercely critical,” he says). (O32c Workshop)

Charlie Brown Show Is Coming to London – Charles M. Schulz’s original cartoons will be shown alongside contemporary art and design inspired by the Peanuts gang in “Good Grief, Charlie Brown!” at London’s Somerset House in October. An earlier Peanuts-inspired show hit New York this past spring. (Press release)

V&A Asks for Help on Mary Quant Show – The Victoria and Albert Museum is appealing for lost hot pants, miniskirts, tights and makeup by Mary Quant ahead of its show about the designers’ work. The exhibition, scheduled to open in spring 2019, will show how Quant took swinging London from the boutique to the British main street, and then JC Penney in the US, to make it affordable. (Press release)

City of St Albans Gets an Art Gallery – The St Albans Museum in Hertfordshire, in the south of England, opens on June 8 in the cathedral city’s former town hall. A partnership with the University of Hertfordshire, it features Susie MacMurray’s site-specific commissioned installation, Masquerade, in the Assembly Room, which references the public and private roles of women who have danced in the former ballroom. (UH Arts)




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