Art Industry News: NBCUniversal Exec Ron Meyer Sues Two Dealers for $10 Million Over Fake Rothko + Other Stories
Plus, two art-world power couples got hitched and protesters greeted guests at MoMA's reopening gala to decry its board members' investments.
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 21.
Jennifer Lawrence and Cooke Maroney Get Hitched – Giving hope to art gallery directors everywhere, Gladstone Gallery’s Cooke Maroney tied the knot with Jennifer Lawrence over the weekend in perhaps the most high-profile art-boy union in a string of such love connections. It’s no surprise that the event was star-studded affair, with guests including Kris Jenner, Adele, and Nicole Ritchie, as well as Sienna Miller and her partner Lucas Zwirner, head of content at his father David Zwirner’s gallery. Unfortunately for us, the paparazzi were less interested in Cooke’s side of the aisle, so we’ll have to wait a bit longer to find out what art-world figures attended. (Apple News)
Barcelona’s Museums Close Due to Strike – Barcelona’s most famous landmark, the Sagrada Familia church, was forced to close during a general strike that swept the region on Friday, October 17. The strike followed protests, some of which turned violent, after a Madrid court handed down long prison sentences to pro-Catalan independence politicians. The strike forced several museums and cultural institutions to close, including the museum of contemporary art, MACBA, which cancelled the opening of its Charlotte Posenenske exhibition. (El Pais)
Hollywood Exec Sues Dealers for $10 Million Over a Fake Rothko – Universal Studios vice chairman Ron Meyer is suing two art dealers for allegedly selling him a fake Rothko. The Hollywood exec is claiming $10 million in damages from Jamie Frankfort and Susan Seidel for, he says, duping him in 2001 into buying the painting for $945,000. Meyer was shocked to learn in January that the canvas, which had pride of place in his home, “has virtually no value and never will,” his lawyer said. (Hollywood Reporter)
Activists Disrupt MoMA’s Reopening Party – Protests put a damper on MoMA’s reopening gala on Friday, as dozens of activists gathered outside the New York museum to demonstrate against billionaire trustees Larry Fink, CEO of investment firm Blackrock, and Steven Tananbaum, founder of GoldenTree Asset Management. Protesters are seeking to use the museum’s reopening to call attention to Fink’s financial links to private prisons and Tananbaum’s hedge fund’s role in the Puerto Rican debt crisis. (Artforum)
Volta Art Fair Has New Owners – The art fair, which has editions in New York and Basel and specializes in midsize dealers, has new ownership. Will Ramsay, the owner of Pulse and the Affordable Art Fair, has acquired the fair from Merchandise Mart Properties, which continues to own the Armory Show. Volta’s 2020 New York edition—which follows its abrupt cancellation last year—is due to take place at Metropolitan West, near its former home on Pier 90. (ARTnews)
Lee Radziwill Sales Total $1.2 Million – Collectors snapped up the personal belongings of Lee Bouvier Radziwill, the former princess, style icon, and sister of Jackie Kennedy. The sale at Christie’s New York brought in $1.27 million, with 96 percent of lots sold, and included such curios as three pairs of designer sunglasses, which went for $3,750. (Art Daily)
COMINGS & GOINGS
Tate Announces New Head of British Art – The director of the leading London nonprofit Chisenhale Gallery, Polly Staple, is stepping down to become the Tate’s head of British art. The curator also previously served as the director of Frieze Projects. (Press release)
Dasha Zhukova and Stavros Niarchos Get Married – Jennifer Lawrence and Cooke Maroney aren’t the only high-profile art-world couple to have recently gotten hitched. The Russian art collector Dasha Zhukova and Stavros Niarchos, a member of a Greek shipping and art collecting dynasty, tied the knot in Paris last weekend in front of guests including Larry Gagosian and artist Dustin Yellin. The former wife of Roman Abramovich and co-founder of the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art in Moscow was first linked with Niarchos when they were spotted at Art Basel Miami Beach in December 2017. (ARTnews)
FOR ART’S SAKE
Semi-Naked Anti-BP Protest Lands at the NPG – Visitors to the National Portrait Gallery in London were greeted on Sunday afternoon by semi-naked activists posing on the floor in the fetal position as other demonstrators poured oil onto their bodies. The protest, organized by Extinction Rebellion, aims to draw attention to the London museum’s links with the fossil fuel company BP. “We cannot be artists on a dead planet,” one activist said. “Oil means the end, but art means the beginning.” (Guardian)
German Artist Makes Anti-Brexit Protest Effigy – The Düsseldorf studio of sculptor Jacques Tilly delivered a massive float to this past weekend’s anti-Brexit protest in London. The comical sculpture featured a puppet of Prime Minister Boris Johnson being held aloft by his special advisor, Dominic “Demonic” Cummings. The controversial advisor was depicted wearing a Nazi-style armband with the slogan “Get Brexit Done.” Tilly’s satirical float was the centerpiece of an estimated million-person march in London calling for a second referendum. (Northern Echo)
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