Art Industry News: The Nikes Michael Jordan Wore During His Fifth-Ever NBA Game Just Sold for a Record $1.5 Million + Other Stories

Plus, Alice Cooper's unsigned Warhol fails to sell at auction and museums in Central America are facing financial peril.

Michael Jordan's Game-Worn Nike Air Ships, sold at Aria in Las Vegas. Photo: Sotheby's.

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 25.


Museums in Central America Are in Financial Peril – A recent survey from the National Autonomous University of Mexico has warned that dozens of museums across Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean face closure due to the pandemic. More than 75 percent of the 285 institutions surveyed said they were experiencing financial insecurity, and 63 percent feared they would not be able to properly maintain their facilities. Some, such as the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo Ateneo de Yucatán, have already closed. (ARTnews)

Watchdog Group Proposes the “Hunter Biden Rule” – Following speculation that foreign governments and others could seek to gain political favor by showing interest in the first son’s artwork, one government watchdog group in Virginia has asked the U.S. Treasury Department to establish what it’s calling the “Hunter Biden Rule.” The proposal would require galleries and museums to report high-value transactions to authorities much like financial institutions do in order to crack down on money laundering. (New York Post)

Sotheby’s Smashes Auction Record for Sneakers – A new record for a pair of sneakers at auction was set on Sunday as Michael Jordan’s game-worn Nike Air Ships fetched $1.5 million at a Sotheby’s auction held at the Aria Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. They were acquired by cards collector Nick Fiorella, according to the house. The earliest shoes from Jordan’s career ever to come to market, they were worn in his fifth NBA game in 1984. The kicks are not, however, the most valuable sneakers ever sold; that designation goes to Kanye West’s Nike Air Yeezy 1 Prototypes from 2008, which sold for $1.8 million via private sale in April. (Press release)

Alice Cooper’s Rediscovered Warhol Fails to Sell – Musician Alice Cooper made headlines for selling a Warhol “electric chair” silkscreen at the little-known Larsen Art Auction in Scottsdale, Arizona. But the silkscreen—which was unsigned and undocumented, although it had been given a thumbs up by at least one expert—failed to sell. A girlfriend gave Cooper the painting years ago and it had been rolled up inside a tube in his garage until recently. It carried an estimate of $2.5 million to $4.5 million. (The Art NewspaperArtlyst)


Städel Museum Gets a Big Collection Boost – The late German photographer Ulrike Crespo has bequeathed a trove of 90 works by Wassily Kandinsky, Otto Dix, and Max Ernst to Frankfurt’s Städel Museum. The impressive collection of paintings and works on paper, which includes Oskar Schlemmer’s 1931 watercolor Bauhaus Stairway, will go on view at the institution beginning November 24. (The Art Newspaper)

LACMA Gets a Major Gift of Korean Art – Los Angeles collector Chester Chang, the son of a Korean politician, and his son Cameron have donated 100 works of Asian art, including 95 works by Korean artists, to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. The gift includes paintings, calligraphies, sculptures, ceramics, lacquers, and furniture ranging from the Three Kingdoms Period to the mid-20th century. (Unframed)

Rencontres de Bamako Has Been Postponed – The 2021 edition of the art and photography festival has been postponed until 2022 due to the “socio-political and health-related conditions we are currently facing globally” as well as artists’ demand for a deadline extension on their applications. The 13th edition will now take place from October 20 to December 20, 2022, in locations across Bamako in Mali. (Press release)


National Gallery of Art Acquires a Landmark Faith Ringgold – The National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., has made a significant acquisition: Faith Ringgold’s The American People Series #18: The Flag is Bleeding (1967). The Glenstone Foundation (whose founder, Mitchell Rales, is on National Gallery’s board) gifted the painting, which is from Ringgold’s “American People” series. It is the first work by the artist to enter the museum’s collection. (ARTnews)


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