Art Industry News: Frieze Masters May Have Had Looted Antiquities for Sale + More Must-Read Stories

Plus, Basquiat’s 'Jim Crow' sells for $17.7 million in Paris and museums are preserving objects from the Las Vegas shooting.

David Cahn in 2009. Photo: Joe Schildhorn, ©Patrick McMullan.

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 Monday, October 23.


Holland Cotter on Omer Fast’s Controversial Show  The artist’s video about August Sander and the Nazis is worth seeing, writes the Times critic. But it is overshadowed by the “bizarre” surrounding installation of a derelict Chinatown bus waiting room, which Cotter says “reads as nasty condescension.” (New York Times)

Can the Newseum Survive the Era of Fake News? – The Newseum in Washington, DC, has run up a deficit every year since it opened a splashy new building on the National Mall in 2008. One problem: journalists don’t seem to have as much disposable income to offer in support of institutions as art collectors do. Now, the museum’s future is in doubt. (New York Times)

Archaeologist Says Possible Loot on Sale at Frieze Masters  Two vases once in the possession of disgraced dealer Gianfranco Becchina were on offer at the London fair earlier this month, according to archeologist Christos Tsirogiannis. They were consigned to dealer Jean-David Cahn by the city of Basel, which says it received permission to sell the objects from the carabinieri. (Guardian)

Titanic Letter Sets a Record at Auction  The passenger may have never reached New York, but a letter he wrote on board the night before the ship sank has sold for £126,000 ($166,0000) at Henry Aldridge & Son auctioneers. The author told his mother that “if all goes well, we’ll arrive in New York on Wednesday.” (Guardian)


Winston Churchill’s Final Painting Goes to Auction – A sought-after work painted by the former Prime Minister at his family home in Kent will be sold at Sotheby’s British art evening sale in London on November 21. The Goldfish Pool at Chartwell (1962), which Churchill gave to a bodyguard as a gift, carries an estimate of £50,000–80,000. (Press release)

Duchamp’s Mona Lisa Fetches $750,000 – Marcel Duchamp’s sly reproduction of Mona Lisa—complete with a penciled-in beard and mustache—sold for €632,500 ($750,000) at Sotheby’s in Paris at a sale of works from the collection of Arthur Brandt. (Guardian)

Sotheby’s Includes a Ferrari in Contemporary Sale – Auctioneers are continuing to stretch the definition of contemporary art. After Christie’s decided to include Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi in its postwar and contemporary sale next month, Sotheby’s has opted to put Michael Schumacher’s 2001 Ferrari, chassis no. 2011 (est. $4–5 million), in its equivalent auction. (FT)

Basquiat’s Jim Crow Sells in Paris – Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Jim Crow (1986) sold for €15 million ($17.7 million) at Christie’s evening sale of works from the collection of Jean-François and Marie-Aline Prat. The painting, which had not been seen publicly since 1993, set a new record for the artist in France. (Press release)


Thaddaeus Ropac to Represent Valie Export – The Austrian performance artist known for her taboo-breaking work will be represented by Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac in Paris. An exhibition of her series “Body Configurations,” organized by Caroline Bourgeois of the Pinault Collection, will open at the gallery on January 13. (Press release)

Paul Kasmin to Represent Jane Freilicher’s Estate – The New York gallery will represent the estate previously overseen by Tibor de Nagy Gallery. Its first solo show of the American painter, who died in 2014, is scheduled to open in April. (ARTnews)

Oklahoma City Museum Taps New Curator – Roja Najafi has been named the new curator at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art. She previously served as a professor of Modern and contemporary art at the University of Texas at Austin, Austin Community College, and Rice University. (Press release)

MOCA Toronto Names New CEO – Heidi Reitmaier, the former director of education at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, is the next executive director and CEO of Toronto’s Museum of Contemporary Art. She will take up the mantle from Chantal Pontbriand in January. (The Star)


Dennis and Debra Scholl Donate Aboriginal Art – The Miami-based collectors have donated 200 Aboriginal Australian artworks to three institutions: the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Frost Art Museum, and the Nevada Museum of Art. The trove includes work by Paddy Bedford, Warlimpirrnga Tjapaltjarri, and Gulumbu Yunupingu. (ARTnews)

This Baroque Masterpiece Is Hiding in LA – Lost for more than a century, an 18th-century portrait by Mexican painter Miguel Cabrera, nicknamed “Spanish Girl,” has apparently been hiding in an LA home since the 1950s. A LACMA curator has been pondering its location since 2015, when she received a letter, written in the voice of the little girl in the painting, stating that the work was fewer than two miles from the museum. (LA Times)

Memorials From Vegas Shooting to Be Preserved – Items commemorating the victims of the October 1 shooting—including roadside memorials, tweets, and news stories—will be preserved by a number of museums and agencies to document the tragedy for future historians. (Las Vegas Review Journal)

See Pictures of the Yves Saint Laurent Museum in Marrakech – The €15 million ($17.6 million) museum opened last Thursday in the Moroccan city that inspired the legendary designer—and drew 1,000 visitors in the first three hours. The brainchild of Saint Laurent and his partner Pierre Bergé, the museum was funded by the 2009 sale of their legendary art collection. (AFP)

Photo: Nicolas Mathéus, courtesy Musée Yves Saint Laurent.

Photo: Nicolas Mathéus, courtesy Musée Yves Saint Laurent.

Photo: Nicolas Mathéus, courtesy Musée Yves Saint Laurent.

Photo: Nicolas Mathéus, courtesy Musée Yves Saint Laurent.

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