Art Industry News: Pussy Riot’s Founder Just Raised $6 Million for Humanitarian Aid by Selling a Ukrainian Flag NFT + Other Stories

Plus, an NFT vending machine has arrived in New York, and 6,000 Russian architects sign a protest letter.

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova on September 18, 2018 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Sean Gallup/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 Thursday, March 3.


An NFT Vending Machine Has Arrived in New York – Digital art platform Neon has installed an NFT vending machine in Manhattan’s Financial District. (Only in New York, folks!) Customers pay between $5.99 and $420.69 to receive an NFT in the form of a QR code printed on a paper slip—but they won’t know what they are getting in advance. “It’s for the crypto curious, the people who tried to buy cryptocurrency or they were interested in buying an NFT, but they just hit too many barriers,” Neon CEO Kyle Zappitell said. (Observer)

Around the Globe, Art Is Returning to Its Homeland – The latest in restitution news: 12 artifacts that belonged to the Taíno people, the Indigenous inhabitants of the Caribbean, were seized in Puerto Rico and returned to the Dominican Republic on February 24. Meanwhile, U.S. authorities restituted to France five gold ingots valued at $231,000 that were uncovered from an 18th-century shipwreck. (ARTnews, New York Times)

Pussy Riot Co-founder’s Ukrainian Flag NFT Sells for $6 Million – A unique NFT of the Ukrainian flag sold to a pool of donors for 2,100 ETH ($6 million). The sale was organized by UkraineDAO, a decentralized autonomous organization co-founded by Pussy Riot’s Nadya Tolokonnikova. Proceeds will go to Come Back Alive, which distributes food, medical supplies, and other services to civilians and the Ukrainian military. Notably, the sale price was initially reported as 2,250 ETH ($6.8 million), but a few donors pulled their contributions and others had issues with transferring payment. The final result still more than doubled its reserve price of 1,000 ETH. (The Art Newspaper)

The U.K. Is Discussing Cultural Sanctions for Russia – “Culture is now the third front in the Ukrainian war,” Nadine Dorries, the U.K.’s Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport writes in an op ed for the Telegraph. Culture and sport sanctions could be “equally effective as economic sanctions in isolating rough regimes,” she contends. Dorries will host a virtual summit with ministers from 11 countries to discuss further possible sanctions. (TelegraphBBC)


Yad Vashem Asks the U.S. Not to Sanction Roman Abramovich – Israel’s official Holocaust memorial and museum has asked the U.S. not to sanction Israeli Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, the organization’s second largest donor. Facing growing pressure over his links with Vladimir Putin, Abramovich plans to sell Chelsea football club, which he has owned for 19 years. (Washington Post)

Venice Biennale Vows Not to Collaborate With Russia – Russian officials, individuals, and institutions with ties to the Russian government have been officially banned from the Venice Biennale amid Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. “As long as this situation persists, La Biennale rejects any form of collaboration with those who, on the contrary, have carried out or supported such a grievous act of aggression,” the organization said. The Russian pavilion announced its closure earlier this week. (Press release)

Asymmetry Art Foundation and the Courtauld Team Up – The foundation established by Chinese collector Yan Du is joining hands with the Courtauld to launch two postdoctoral fellowships in Chinese and Sinophone contemporary art. The two-year, fully funded placement at the prestigious London art institute will begin in September; the candidate will be selected from an open call. A second fellowship starts in September 2024. (Flash Art)

6,800 Russian Architects Sign Letter Opposing the Ukraine War – The letter, published online by architecture magazine Project Russia, condemns the invasion of Ukraine. “The war devalues ​​the very essence of the activity of an architect and urban planner, no matter what country he is in,” it reads. As of March 3, the number of signatures has grown to nearly 6,800. (dezeen)


McDonald’s New Ad Campaign Will Anger Art Historians – In a new campaign that will either get someone fired or get them a raise, McDonalds has incorporated its products into famous Impressionist paintings, adding the tagline, “Meant to be classic.” The campaign was created by DDB Athens. (designboom)

Edouard Manet's <i>In the Conservatory</i>, with a twist. From DDB Athens' ad campaign for McDonald's.

Edouard Manet’s In the Conservatory, with a twist. From DDB Athens’ ad campaign for McDonald’s.

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