Art Industry News: Meet the Purple Magazine Intern Who Scammed New York’s Art Scene + More Must-Read Stories

Plus, Leon Black is appointed chairman of MoMA's board and art critic Christopher Knight calls for big changes at MOCA.

Anna Delvey attending the first Tumblr Fashion Honor presented to Rodarte at the Jane Hotel on September 9, 2014. Photo by Dave Kotinsky/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 30.


MOCA Needs a Fresh Start – So says art critic Christopher Knight, following the news that the Los Angeles museum’s director Philippe Vergne will step down from his post. “MOCA… has been without an effective director going on 20 years,” he writes. Rumors have swirled that the Baltimore Museum director Christopher Bedford may be next in line—but Knight says, “it is far too soon to tell whether Bedford has the elusive director’s gene.” (Los Angeles Times)

#MeToo Flash Mob Hits the Architecture Biennale – French architect Odile Decq staged a demonstration at the Giardini during the kickoff of the Venice Architecture Biennale to protest harassment in the field. She was joined by around 150 women, including the architect Farshid Moussavi and Martha Thorne, the chief executive of the Pritzker Prize, who read out a manifesto. (Architects Journal)

How New York Fell for an Intern’s Fantasy Club – A woman who went by the name of Anna Delvey climbed her way to the top of the New York art scene. Now she is now in jail at Rikers Island, having been charged with grand larceny. Big talk and bounced checks have caught up with the former Purple magazine intern, who sought to con lawyers and banks into giving her loans for an ill-fated art center on Park Avenue. (The Cut)

Pistol Used to Kill Alexander Hamilton Goes on Display – Ahead of the opening of the Hamilton musical at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC, the pistol Aaron Burr used to shoot the founding father in their 1804 duel will go on display at the National Postal Museum. It will be shown next to Hamilton’s pistol, although historians are unable to tell definitively whose pistol is whose. The guns are usually on view in JP Morgan Chase’s New York headquarters. (Washington Post)


Thomas Dane to Represent Anthea Hamilton – The Turner Prize nominee, whose sculpture and performance piece is currently filling Tate Britain’s Duveen Galleries, is now represented by Thomas Dane of London and Naples. The gallery is planning a solo show of her work in 2019 and will present it at Frieze London this fall. (ARTnews)

Japanese Auction House Expands to Hong Kong – Tokyo Chuo Auction wants to be listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange in order to fund its expansion into the territory. Founded in 2010 by Ando Shokei, a Japanese national born in China, the auction house specializes in Chinese and Japanese antiquities. (South China Morning Post)

Jessica Silverman Represents John Houck – The artist, who is included in the latest Hammer Museum’s “Made in LA” biennial, will be represented in San Francisco by Jessica Silverman. Marianne Boesky Gallery represents him in New York and Aspen. (ARTnews)​


Leon Black Named MoMA Board Chair The billionaire collector and founder of Apollo Global Management is taking over from Jerry I. Speyer, who has been chair of MoMA since 2007. A longtime board member, Black notably loaned his version of Edvard Munch’s The Scream to the museum after he purchased it in 2012. Meanwhile, Ronnie Heyman will take over as board president as Marie-Josée Kravis becomes president emeritus. (ARTnews)

Sobey Art Award Announces Shortlist – The shortlist for Canada’s largest art award has many firsts: three out of the five artists (Joi T. Arcand, Jeneen Frei Njootli, and Jordan Bennett) are of Indigenous heritage. Frieze Art Award winner Kapwani Kiwanga is the first person of color to make the list. The remaining candidate is digital artist Jon Rafman. The winner will be announced November 14. (Canadian Art)

Art Basel’s Parcours Lineup Announced – Samuel Leuenberger has selected 23 works—including pieces by Nina Beier, Elmgreen & Dragset, Pierre Huyghe, and Caroline Mesquita—for Art Basel’s outdoor section installed in the central Münsterplatz. An evening of performances by Ad Minoliti and Keren Cytter, among others, will be staged on June 16. (Artforum)

Georgia O’Keeffe Museum Gets a New Curator – Ariel Plotek, formerly the curator of modern and contemporary art at the San Diego Museum of Art, is moving to Santa Fe to become the museum’s new curator of fine art. The museum has recently hired two other curators as part of a new strategic initiative. (Press release)



Vienna to Debut a Sculpture of Sigmund Freud – The doctor is in! A large-scale bronze statue—a posthumous cast of an earlier sculpture by Oscar Nemon—is due to be unveiled at the Medical University of Vienna on June 4. (Psychology Today)

Jimmy Page Fights to Protect His Art and Historic Home – The Led Zeppelin guitarist’s long-running battle with his pop-star neighbor Robbie Williams continues. Page spoke out against Williams’s application to dig a basement pool because he worried the vibrations from construction might endanger his art collection and the structure of his William Burges-designed house in London’s Holland Park. (Mail Online)

Haroon Mirza Builds Marfa-Henge – The British artist has created Stone Circle, a solar powered henge near Marfa, Texas, which will host a concert and light show every full moon. The first of Mirza’s “solar symphonies” will be held on June 28. (Guardian) 

Liu Jiakun’s Serpentine Pavilion Is Unveiled in Beijing – London’s Serpentine Galleries’ first summer pavilion in China has opened and it’s already a hit with Beijing’s in crowd. Designed by Jiakun Architects, it is in WF Central development in the historic Dongcheng district. The public space will host cultural events over five weekends in the summer before it comes down on October 31. (Press release)

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