Art Industry News: One of Iran’s Most Celebrated Living Artists Is Facing a Reckoning + Other Stories

Plus, artist Sarah Sze manages to get around France's travel ban and UK police recover a $3 million stolen vase.

Aydin Aghdashloo in 2014. Photo: Tasnim News Agency.

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 26.


Jerusalem Museum to Sell Hundreds of Objects – Israel’s ministry of culture has tried to halt the planned sale of 268 art and archeology objects from the collection of Jerusalem’s Museum of Islamic Art at Sotheby’s on October 27. The foundation that owns the museum has reportedly entered into negotiations with the auction house to postpone the sale, although it remains scheduled for tomorrow on Sotheby’s website. (Haaretz)

UK Police Recover $3 Million Stolen Vase – The Met police in the UK have arrested two men in connection to the theft of a $3.3 million Ming Dynasty vase that was stolen from a collection in Switzerland last year. The vase was recovered in London last week, and the suspects were arrested on suspicion of handling stolen goods. They have been released on bail until mid-November. Authorities, who suspect gang involvement, are calling the arrest a “significant step forward” in the investigation into the high-profile theft of the 15th century treasure, which will be returned to its home in Switzerland. (Courthouse News)

Top Iranian Artist Is Subject to a #MeToo Reckoning – A celebrity artist with political ties in Iran is facing allegations of sexual misconduct spanning 30 years. Thirteen women—including one who was 13 years old at the time—have come forward to accuse the 79-year-old artist Aydin Aghdashloo, marking the conservative society’s reckoning with the #MeToo movement three years after it first gained traction in the US. Many of the women are former students of the artist, and some are journalists who have reported on Iran’s cultural scene. Aghdashloo has denied wrongdoing, and his lawyer says he is taking legal action against one of his accusers. (New York Times)

Legal Challenges to Deaccessioning Mount (and Fall) – Finalization of the Everson Museum of Art’s controversial sale of Jackson Pollock’s Red Composition was delayed after a petitioner filed a legal challenge with the New York State Department of Education, asking it to investigate whether the work’s deaccession met New York regulations. The work sold at Christie’s on October 6 for $13 million. The auction house says the petitioner has since abandoned the claims against Everson, as well a similar claim made against the Brooklyn Museum. (Hyperallergic)


Dallas Art Fair Preps Hybrid Model – The Dallas Art Fair—recently under fire for not refunding exhibitors for its cancelled 2020 fair—will hold a hybrid physical and digital event called Four x Five from November 11–25. The physical iteration will include four galleries (including mega-gallery Perrotin) showing work at Dallas Art Fair Projects in person; an additional five galleries will also present work online at the digital selling platform Culture Place. (Press release)

Film Exec’s Collection Offers a Piece of Hollywood History – More than 600 items from the late Paramount Studios film executive Robert Evans’s collection sold at Julien’s Auctions on October 24. Highlights include personally inscribed photographs by Helmut Newton, from In Robert’s Garden (1991) which sold for $237,500, to “Saddle II” Hotel Lancaster, Paris (1974), which fetched $125,000. (Press release)

Artnet Auctions’ Photographs Sale Hits a High – Artnet Auctions’ Important Photographs sale fetched $693,000, a 112 percent increase over the equivalent sale last year. The average transaction was $38,000, up 63 percent year over year. One third of lots exceeded their high estimates, including Richard Avedon’s David Beason, Shipping Clerk, Denver, Colorado, July 25, 1981, which sold for $120,000 (high estimate: $90,000) and Chris Levine’s Lightness of Being, which achieved $96,000 (high estimate: $35,000). Other top sellers included works by Vik Muniz and Peter Beard. (Artnet Auctions)


UK Government Announces First Round of Grants Over £1 Million – The most recent and largest round of grants has been announced as part of the UK’s cultural bailout plan, with payments of up to £3 million going to 35 institutions and theaters. Organizations outside London will receive 70 percent of the funds. (Press release)

France Makes Border Exemption for Sarah Sze – Sarah Sze’s “Night Into Day” is on view until March 7 at the Fondation Cartier in Paris—and, against the odds, she was there to install it herself despite the US travel ban. “They had to say that I was absolutely necessary, to put up this crazy thing,” she said. The show comprises two major installations, a pendulum and a planetary hanging work. (Guardian)


The Getty Analyzes Its Internship Program – The Getty Foundation has released a report on the impact of its diversity-focused Marrow Undergraduate Internship Program, which has been running since 1993. According to the findings, 32 percent of the interns went on to work in the arts. Of those, 92 percent attribute their career choice to the internship program. (Press release)

Art Exhibit Honors Chadwick Boseman – Anderson, South Carolina—the hometown of the famous actor and star of Black Panther, who died of cancer in August—has organized a group art show in his honor. The outdoor exhibition includes work by 20 artists from South Carolina depicting Boseman’s life and celebrating his work. (WTOP)

Tanzanian Curator Reveals That the ‘Stolen’ Beuys Is a Replica – The Joseph Beuys sculpture that was allegedly stolen from a German exhibition last week and sent to a Tanzanian museum is actually a replica, according to the Museum Iringa Boma’s curator. The original work is safely tucked away in a back room at the German venue. But while the theft was staged, the curator says the action was meant to make a real point about the urgency of restitution, and to “open people’s minds…. The whole project is food for thought. We need more people to get involved.” (YouTube)

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