Art Industry News: Art-World Scammer Anna ‘Delvey’ Sorokin Is Being Granted Early Parole + Other Stories

Plus, La Biennale Paris crashes and burns at auction and a group of Black museum trustees team up to diversify museums.

Anna "Delvey" Sorokin in a courtroom during her trial in New York. Photo by Timothy A. Clary/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 on this Monday, October 12.


Black Trustees Team Up to Diversify Museums – A group of African American museum trustees including Pamela Joyner and Gaby Sulzberger have formed the Black Trustee Alliance for Art Museums. The stated aim of the alliance is “to increase inclusion of Black artists, perspectives and narratives in US cultural institutions by: addressing inequalities in staffing and leadership; combating marginalized communities’ lack of presence in exhibitions and programming; and incorporating diversity into the institution’s culture.” The organization will also collect data on the racial make up of museum collections and staff to help institutions see where they are lacking. (New York Times)

A Hot Lead in the Gardner Case Goes Cold – An Irish gangster who promised to reveal the secrets of the Gardner heist, Martin “the Viper” Foley, has disappeared. Foley had allegedly been brokering a deal for the return of the priceless masterpieces with surviving members of the gang he says stole them in history’s biggest art heist three decades ago. But the British art detective Charley Hill says that Foley, who is wanted by the Irish authorities for unpaid taxes, dropped out of negotiations suddenly this summer. (Guardian)

Art-World Scammer Anna Delvey Is Getting Parole – The fake heiress who scammed the art world, Anna Delvey (née Sorokin) is getting early parole, according to her lawyer. “Anna has paid her debt to society handsomely, and I hope society repays the favor,” her attorney Todd Spodek says. The 29-year-old is expected to be released in February, shaving off one sixth of her sentence, and will likely be exported to Germany after overstaying her visa. (New York Post)

UK Government Announces Some Recipients of Culture Bailout – The UK culture secretary Oliver Dowden has announced more than 1,300 arts organizations that are receiving a share of the government’s £1.57 billion ($1.9 billion) culture bailout. Some £257 million ($335 million) in financial support is being announced for organizations that asked for less than £1 million ($1.3 million) in the first round of applications for the Culture Recovery Fund. Arts venues receiving funds include Yorkshire Sculpture Park, which is getting £804,013 ($1 million) towards adapting its buildings to new regulations, and the National Maritime Museum in Cornwall, which is getting £485,000 ($632,000) to secure its future. (Press release)


A Dalí Portrait Heads to Bonhams – Bonhams is selling a double portrait by Salvador Dalí at its upcoming Impressionist and Modern auction in London. The surrealist work, Couple aux têtes pleines de nuages (1937), is estimated to go for £7 million to £10 million ($9.1 million–$13 million) at the sale on October 15. (Art Market Monitor)

Tate Acquires Helen Cammock Film – Kate MacGarry gallery has announced that Tate has acquired Helen Cammock’s 2014 film Changing Room for its collection, using the Frieze Tate Fund supported by Endeavor. The 14-minute film hones in on ceramic animals made by the artist’s father, George Cammock, to ask questions about identity and relationship, including how Black identity has been contested and fought over for nearly a century. (Press release)

La Biennale Paris Crashes and Burns at Christie’s – Christie’s online sale of art and antiques that would have been shown at La Biennale Paris saw underwhelming results, with just 21 of 91 lots sold. The auction banked just €1.5 million ($1.7 million) in total, falling miles shy of its presale low estimate of €7 million ($8.3 million). (The Art Newspaper)


Frank Bowling Gets Knighted – The British artist Frank Bowling, who has just joined the roster of mega-gallery Hauser & Wirth, has been knighted by the Queen of England as part of her birthday honor’s list. Bowling is one of very few Black British artists who have been knighted, and says he is “extremely proud” to accept the accolade. (ARTnews)

Vera List Center Awards Art and Social Justice Prize – The founder and director of the Conflictorium museum in Gujarat, India, Avni Sethi, has won the $25,000 Jane Lombard Prize for Art and Social Justice. Sethi founded the Conflictorium project in 2013 as a participatory museum of conflict that seeks to find community-led solutions to violence. Sethi will bring an exhibition about Conflictorium to New York in 2021. (Artforum)

National Trust to Cut 1,300 Jobs – The UK’s heritage conservation body, the National Trust, will cut 1,300 jobs due to financial pressures caused by the coronavirus. The decision was taken after a deep consultation into the state if the institution’s finances, and the general secretary of the Prospect union has said that, while “devastating,” the current plan is “a reasonable way to move forward, minimizing job losses while hopefully safeguarding the National Trust’s future.” (Guardian)


Museum of Chinese in America Gets $3 Million – The America’s Cultural Treasures initiative is giving $3 million to the Museum of Chinese in America as part of its plan to provide pandemic relief to arts organizations run by people of color. The grant is “an absolute game changer” for the museum, according to its director, and will go towards repairing and conserving parts of its collection that were at risk after a fire broke out at the museum in January. (NYT)

“Cursed” Tourist Returns Stolen Artifacts – A Canadian woman has sent back ceramic and mosaic fragments that she stole from the ancient ruins of Pompeii more than a decade ago. The woman claimed in a letter of confession, which she sent along with the artifacts to an Italian travel agent, that she has been cursed with bad luck since she took the precious historical items. “Please, take them back, they bring bad luck,” she wrote in the letter, adding that she did not want to pass the “curse” onto her children. (Guardian)

Tenant of Culture Wins Frieze Emerging Art Prize – The artistic practice of the Dutch artist Hendrickje Schimmel, Tenant of Culture, has received this year’s Camden Art Centre Emerging Artist Prize with Frieze. Tenant of Culture, who repurposes discarded materials as a comment on consumer culture, will receive an exhibition at the London institution in 2022. (Press release)

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.