Art Industry News: Vito Schnabel Arrested for Shroom-Dealing at Burning Man + More Must-Read Stories

Plus, German Pavilion curator Susanne Pffefer will lead the MMK Frankfurt and a possibly nude Mona Lisa is found in France.

In this photo provided by the Pershing County Sheriff's Office, Vito Schnabel is seen in a police booking photo after being charged with Unlawful Possession of a Controlled Substance September 3, 2017 in Lovelock, Nevada. Schnabel was released on bond. (Photo by Pershing County Sheriff's Office via 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 this Friday, September 29.


Saudi Artists Speak Out Over New Driving Law – Manal AlDowayan, a leading Saudi artist, has welcomed the royal decree allowing Saudi women to drive, calling it is a step forward for the ultra-conservative Middle Eastern state. Meanwhile, the artist Abdulnasser Gharem dismissed the development as “just PR.” (The Art Newspaper)

Nude Mona Lisa Sketch Found in France – A French art expert has said that the “Monna Vanna”—a charcoal portrait of a nude woman, which remained in the same collection for more than 150 years and was previously attributed to Leonardo da Vinci’s studio—could in fact be a sketch of the Mona Lisa by the Renaissance master himself. (BBC)

Long Island Town Says It’ll Take Columbus Statue – Some Democrats in New York are considering advocating for the removal of the statue of Christopher Columbus in Manhattan’s Columbus Circle. Republicans from the Long Island Town of Oyster Bay have told them: “If you don’t want it, we’ll take it here.” (New York Times)

Vito Schnabel Arrested for Shrooms at Burning Man – The contemporary art dealer (and ex of Heidi Klum) is facing up to five years in prison after he was arrested at Burning Man on September 3 in possession of magic mushrooms, a psychedelic and Schedule I controlled substance. Charged with distribution and manufacture, Schnabel has pled not guilty. (TMZ)



Thomas Dane to Launch in Naples – The gallery is opening its first branch outside London on the sunnier shores of Naples in January. Part residency, part project space, and part exhibition space, the gallery will be on the first floor of a 19th-century mansion. The first show includes works by Bruce Conner, Steve McQueen, and Catherine Opie. (Press release)

Rybolovlev’s Lawyer Speaks – Tetiana Bersheda has released a statement defending her reputation, saying, “I have never asked for any favors and I have committed no illegal acts.” The lawyer is at the center of the Ministry of Justice scandal linked to Dmitry Rybolovlev, which is being dubbed Monaco-gate. (Art Market Monitor)

Linda Macklowe Accused of Lowballing Her Art – The Guggenheim and Met trustee has had her enviable contemporary art collection, which she will keep after her divorce from billionaire Harry Macklowe, appraised at $625 million. Her soon-to-be ex-husband alleges that the collection, which includes pieces by Andy Warhol and Mark Rothko, is really worth closer to $1 billion. (Page Six)


Susanne Pffefer to Lead MMK Frankfurt – Pfeffer, who organized the Golden Lion-winning German pavilion by Anne Imhof at the 2017 Venice Biennale, will leave her position as director at Friederianum in Kassel to head the Museum of Modern Art in Frankfurt. (DPA)

Linda Blumberg to Step Down From ADAA – The Art Dealers Association of America announced that Blumberg will step down as the organization’s first executive director. During her 11 years of service, she organized legal seminars and panels for members and oversaw the ADAA’s annual fair, the Art Show. (Press release)

Akron Museum Gets $8 Million Grant  The Akron Art Museum in Ohio has landed an $8 million grant from the Knight Foundation, the biggest gift in the museum’s history. The grant will support museum operations, additions to the permanent collection, and efforts to grow its audience. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

Toyin Ojih Odutola Is Barnard’s Artist-in-Residence – A few weeks ahead of the opening of her solo exhibition at the Whitney Museum on October 20, Ojih Odutola joins Barnard College as an artist-in-residence. The Nigerian-American artist is known for her pen-and-ink sketches that deal with racial identity. (Press release)


Artist Prosecuted for Flashing the Mona Lisa – Deborah de Robertis, the performance artist known for exposing her genitals in museums, will face trial on October 18 on charges of sexual exhibitionism and assault after spreading her legs in front of the Mona Lisa. De Robertis has been arrested before for similar stunts at the Musée d’Orsay and elsewhere. (AFP)

Pompeii Plans Contemporary Art Collection – Officials at the ancient Roman site are inviting contemporary artists including Laure Prouvost, Jimmie Durham, and Adrian Villar Rojas to create sculptures using archaeological fragments from the city. Their work will go on display at the Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Donnaregina (Madre) in Naples beginning November 18. (TAN)

Docent-in-Your-Pocket App Disappoints – Smartify, an app billing itself as the Shazam of the art world, isn’t exactly as advertised. Its image recognition technology only identifies art from the collections of approximately 30 museums, providing the user with little more than the information already on the display label, and a link to the artist’s Wikipedia page. (Fast Company)

Laurie Simmons and MILLY Launch Planned Parenthood T-Shirt – MILLY creative director Michelle Smith and artist Laurie Simmons have created a limited edition t-shirt for Planned Parenthood in celebration of its centenary. The shirts went on sale September 26, with all proceeds going to Planned Parenthood. (Press release)​

Photo: Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images.


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