Art Industry News: A British Man Who Pocketed Fragments on an Archeological Tour Faces the Death Penalty in Iraq + Other Stories

Plus, Beeple misses his first "Everyday" in 15 years, and a Danish artist vandalizes an Asger Jorn painting.

The Ahwar of Southern Iraq, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. © Qahtan Al-Abeed

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 Tuesday, May 3.


Shanghai Residents Protest Lockdown With Art – Frustrated Shanghai residents, who have been under a rigid lockdown since late March, are protesting the strict measures through acts of civil disobedience and art projects. Art students at Tongji University are circulating posters with blue and red stripes—a veiled reference to a complaint about insufficient food deliveries typed out by a student in red and blue text—as a symbol of dissent. (Wall Street Journal)

Asger Jorn Work Vandalized in Political Attack – Danish artist Ibi-Pippi Orup Hedegaard was arrested after he filmed himself vandalizing a painting by Danish Situationist Asger Jorn at Museum Jorn in Silkeborg on Sunday. Ibi-Pippi defaced The Disquieting Duckling (1959) with a likeness of his own face and signed his name on the canvas in black permanent ink, claiming in a post on Facebook that the act was meant to raise debate on the question of authorship and that he was following in Jorn’s footsteps. Jorn’s duck was itself painted on a found canvas of a pastoral scene. (Artforum

British Man Could Face Death Penalty for Smuggling Artifacts Out of Iraq – A 66-year-old British tourist is facing the death penalty in Iraq after he lifted some stone fragments from an archaeology tour in Eridu and attempted to remove them from the country. Jim Fitton’s family said that he had “no knowledge” that the fragments were of historic significance and are “terrified” that he now faces execution for illegally smuggling historical items out of Iraq. Fitton will be tried on May 7. (BBC, ARTnews)

How Vogue Monetizes the Met Gala – The Met Gala is the primary fundraiser for the Met Costume Institute, the only department at the museum tasked with raising its own budget. But it’s also an important business opportunity for Vogue. For one thing, the magazine charges $1 million for two six-second advertisements on its livestream of the event. (Business of Fashion)


Bored Ape Yacht Club Founders Launch Metaverse – BAYC founders Yuga Labs created a frenzy on Saturday when they launched a sale of virtual land related to their forthcoming metaverse game, Otherside. They swiftly raised $320 million in crypto, the largest offering of its kind—and in the process, triggered one of the highest-ever spikes in transaction fees on Ethereum. (Bloomberg)

The Vatican Will Create an NFT Gallery – The Vatican is partnering with VR company Sensorium to open an NFT gallery so that audiences around the world can enjoy its collection of art and other objects. The gallery, which will be viewable through VR and on desktops, is expected to launch later this year. It remains unclear whether the Vatican and its nonprofit Humanity 2.0 will be selling any of the works from the collection as NFTs. (ARTnews)

Mellon Launches Artist Employment Program in Puerto Rico – The Mellon Foundation is working with the Centro de Economía Creativa in San Juan on a project that aims to bring more stable employment opportunities to artists and culture workers across Puerto Rico. The three-year, $8 million initiative will give 25 local cultural organizations the budget to hire at least one full-time artist (at a salary of around $58,000) as well as a $20,000 annual grant to fund programming. (ARTnews)

Couple Leaves Surprise $45 Million Gift to Detroit Organizations – The late Iowa philanthropists Harriet and J. Locke Macomber left $45 million in endowment money to eight nonprofit organizations in Des Moines. The BWA Foundation, the Des Moines Art Center, the Des Moines Symphony, Drake University Law School, Orchard Place, United Way of Central Iowa, St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral, and the YMCA of Greater Des Moines will all be given annual funding in perpetuity thanks to the unexpected gift. (Detroit Register)


Beeple Misses His First Everyday in 15 Years – The irrepressible NFT artist recently celebrated the 15th anniversary of his Everydays series, for which he has released an original artwork each day, without fail. To mark the occasion, he went on the Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon to create an artwork live. But alas, he failed to post that work online, amounting to his first-ever missed day. “I have literally had recurring nightmares about missing an everyday and now this ‘nightmare scanario’ [sic] has finally happened and on this day of all days,” Beeple wrote. (Instagram)


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