Art Industry News: These Billionaire Art Collectors Are Suing HarperCollins Over a Book Linking Them to Putin + Other Stories
Plus, what's going on at the very turbulent MOCA Los Angeles, and Russian artist Yulia Tsvetkova goes on a hunger strike.
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 Monday, May 3.
Jeff Koons and Others Remember Eli Broad – Art-world heavyweights, including LACMA director Michael Govan, artist Shirin Neshat, and architect Liz Diller weighed in on the legacy of Eli Broad, who died on Friday at 87. Artist Mark Bradford remembers his “funny handshake,” while Koons reflects on Broad’s role in institutionalizing his generation of artists. (Los Angeles Times)
Behind the Turbulence at LA MOCA – Klaus Biesenbach reflects on the bumpy past year at LA MOCA, where scores of layoffs and several high-profile resignations have left tensions high. MOCA’s former human resources director, Carlos Viramontes, who quit in February, said Biesenbach was “unwilling to be the leader” and “did not know how to manage others.” For his part, Biesenbach said, “We’re coming out of a year of a lot of internal focus, pause, reflection. I’m humbly doing my best.” The museum also announced the appointment of six new trustees, including activist and advocate Frank J. Quintero. (New York Times)
Oligarch Art Collectors Are Suing HarperCollins – Four Russian billionaires have filed separate lawsuits against HarperCollins over Putin’s People, a book published in 2020 that details the rise of Vladimir Putin and the powerful people in his inner circle. Art collectors Roman Abramovich and Petr Aven are among those pressing charges. HarperCollins said the book was an “authoritative, important and conscientiously sourced work” and that it will “robustly” defend it and its author, journalist Catherine Belton. (Financial Times)
Russian Artist Goes on Hunger Strike – Russian artist Yulia Tsvetkova, who has been charged with producing and distributing pornographic material, has gone on a hunger strike to demand that her trial be made public. The feminist, pro-LGBTQ+ artist has demanded that the courts also stop delaying proceedings in a case that Amnesty international called “Kafkaesque.” Tsvetkova has been under house arrest while she awaits trial. (Monopol)
A Cy Twombly Blackboard Is Coming to Sotheby’s – One of the artist’s celebrated “blackboard” paintings—his most sought-after series—will highlight Sotheby’s contemporary art evening sale in New York this month. Untitled (Rome) (1970) was once owned by Charles Saatchi but has remained in another private collection for 30 years. (Press release)
Yoshitomo Nara Continues His Auction Tear – The Japanese artist’s installation Berlin Barack, Room 1 (2007) sold for HK$120 million ($15.5 million) at Poly Auction Hong Kong’s Modern and contemporary art sale on April 21, setting a record for a Nara installation and the second highest price for a Nara work ever sold at auction. (Ocula)
COMINGS & GOINGS
New Pinault Museum to Open May 22 – Collector François Pinault’s long-delayed private museum in Paris, the Bourse de Commerce-Pinault Collection, has a new opening date following the lifting of lockdown restrictions on cultural institutions in France. It will open its doors on May 22. (TAN)
Street Art Photographer James Prigoff Dies – The businessman-turned-photographer, who helped legitimize street art by documenting it in thousands of pictures taken around the globe, died on April 21 at home in Sacramento. He was 93. He and Henry Chalfant co-wrote Spraycan Art (1987), a foundational tome in the street art field. (New York Times)
FOR ART’S SAKE
Ugo Rondinone’s ‘Seven Magic Mountains’ Gets a Makeover – The colorful stone sculpture, which has been an Instagram fixture since its arrival in the Nevada desert in 2016, will undergo a $100,000 painting restoration. The work was last restored in 2019—but the environment’s harsh conditions require it to get constant upkeep. (TAN)
New Evidence Suggests Hans Holbein Left a Clue in a Royal Portrait – Henry VIII’s court painter Hans Holbein seems to have left a revealing clue in a miniature portrait in the Royal Collection. The work’s sitter was previously believed to be the king’s fifth wife Catherine Howard. But new research reveals that the portrait was done on a playing card, the four of diamonds. Some think the choice may allude to the fact that the sitter is his fourth wife, Anne of Cleves. (Guardian)
Protesters Rally Against Marilyn Monroe Sculpture – Palm Springs residents are up in arms over a plan to install John Seward Johnson II’s 26-foot-tall sculpture Forever Marilyn in the city to attract tourism. At a rally against the work (which hosted a number of very colorful signs), Elizabeth Armstrong, a former director of the Palm Springs Art Museum, said: “This artwork is misogyny in the guise of nostalgia.” (The Art Newspaper)
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.