Art Industry News: Inside Pussy Riot Cofounder Masha Alyokhina’s Epic Escape From Russia Disguised as a Food Courier + Other Stories

Plus, Daniel Wildenstein’s estate agrees to pay a $17 million settlement to the IRS, and the U.K. Museum of the Year shortlist is out.

Russian political activist and member of the anti-Putinist punk rock group Pussy Riot, Maria Vladimirovna "Masha" Alekhina, also known as Maria Alyokhina. Photo by Joel Saget/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, May 11.


Daniel Wildenstein’s Estate Must Pay $17 Million Tax Settlement – The estate of art dealer Daniel Wildenstein has settled a dispute with the IRS over the family’s assets and will now pay around $17 million in taxes. The IRS argued that the influential art-dealing family did not pay the proper estate tax upon Daniel’s death, failing to account for artworks in Wildenstein’s trust as well as works in storage that had resided in the U.S. for many years. (ARTnews)

Christopher Knight Weighs in on Ohio Museum’s Deaccessioning Spree – The L.A. Times critic has decried the Toledo Museum of Art’s decision to deaccession more than $48 million worth of art at Sotheby’s on May 17 in order to diversify its collection. Knight argues that the sale, which includes work by Matisse and Cézanne, represents an “unconscionable” trickle-down effect of Reagan-era reforms favoring privatization. (L.A. Times)

How a Pussy Riot Founder Escaped Russia – Masha V. Alyokhina, who became famous when her art collective Pussy Riot staged a protest against Putin at Moscow’s Christ the Savior Cathedral in 2012, was sentenced to 21 days in a penal colony last month in response to her ongoing performative protests. Deciding it was time to leave Russia, she disguised herself as a food courier to evade police and left her cell phone behind as a decoy. She is now safe in Vilnius, where more members of Pussy Riot are arriving by the day. (New York Times)

The New Yorker Profiles Matthew Wong – The New Yorker has profiled the late self-taught artist, rendering a moving portrait of the gifted but suffering Canadian painter who died by suicide at 35. His mother Monita hopes to reconstitute his studio in a building in Edmonton that will house the Matthew Wong Foundation. (New Yorker)


Artist Declines Prize Tied to Russian Gas – Lithuanian artist Emilija Škarnulytė turned down the GASAG Art Prize, which is sponsored by a Berlin energy supplier, in protest of Germany’s reliance on Russian energy amid the war in Ukraine. The Berlinische Galerie, which was due to host an exhibition of the winning artist, plans to leave the gallery space empty as a gesture of “respect.” GASAG donated the unclaimed prize money to the museum. (Press release, Instagram)

Art Institute Adjuncts Push to Join Union Effort – Non-tenure-track faculty at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago will join the college’s ongoing unionization effort. Some 200 lecturers and adjuncts posted a letter announcing the decision on Tuesday. They decried “intolerable” working conditions, including a two-tier system of compensation and benefits that is “creating a permanent underclass of contingent faculty.” (ARTnews)

Shortlist Announced for Museum of the Year – The five U.K. museums shortlisted for Art Fund’s Museum of the Year prize are: Museum of Making (Derby), Horniman Museum and Gardens (London), People’s History Museum (Manchester), the Story Museum (Oxford), and Ty Pawb (Wrexham). The winner of the £100,000 prize will be announced on July 14. (Press release)


Artnet News Pro Invites You to “Ask an Art Advisor” – What’s the smartest way to spend $20,000 on art? Is it a bad idea to help a big client avoid paying sales tax? How do I get an invite to a gallery dinner? Every month in “Ask an Art Advisor,” our go-to expert Wendy Goldsmith invites you to share your most pressing questions about navigating the art market—and she’ll offer frank answers drawing on decades of experience.

Do you have a query of your own? Email [email protected] and it may get answered in an upcoming article on Artnet News Pro. (Artnet News)

Artnet News Pro columnist Wendy Goldsmith.

Artnet News Pro columnist Wendy Goldsmith.

Follow Artnet News on Facebook:

Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.

artnet and our partners use cookies to provide features on our sites and applications to improve your online experience, including for analysis of site usage, traffic measurement, and for advertising and content management. See our Privacy Policy for more information about cookies. By continuing to use our sites and applications, you agree to our use of cookies.

Subscribe or log in to read the rest of this content.

You are currently logged into this Artnet News Pro account on another device. Please log off from any other devices, and then reload this page continue. To find out if you are eligible for an Artnet News Pro group subscription, please contact [email protected]. Standard subscriptions can be purchased on the subscription page.

Log In