Art Industry News: One of the Last Living Reputed Mobsters Linked to the Gardner Heist Is Released From Prison + Other Stories

Plus, a perfume company wants to bottle the smell of your favorite museum and a hand-drawn book by Joni Mitchell will be published this fall.

At the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, empty frames now hands in the Dutch Room in place of Rembrandt’s The Storm on the Sea of Galilee and A Lady and Gentleman in Black. Courtesy of the FBI.

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 Tuesday, March 12.


The First Oslo Biennial Is a Bit Unusual – Can you call an art exhibition that unfolds over five years a biennial? According to the Oslo Biennial, you can. The Norwegian exhibition, which opens May 25, is adopting an unorthodox format that departs from the traditional event-based biennial to take place over five years across different public spaces. Twenty-six projects by artists including Marianne Heier and Lisa Tan will debut in 2019, with more to come through 2024. (Press release)

Joni Mitchell’s Hand-Drawn Book Will Be Published – Facsimiles of a hand-crafted book of lyrics, poems, and more than 30 paintings by the legendary singer-songwriter are due to be commercially published this fall. Mitchell originally created the rare book, titled Morning Glory on the Vine, in 1971 for 100 of her close friends. (Guardian)

Man Linked to Gardner Heist Released From Prison – A convicted felon and reputed mobster who is one of the last surviving “persons of interest” in the notorious Isabella Stewart Gardner heist is being released from prison. Robert Gentile, who is 82 years old, was serving time for an unrelated weapons offense. He denies knowing anything about the robbery in 1990 or the fate of the Boston museum’s lost Rembrandt, Vermeer, and other Old Masters. (Boston Globe)

Hermitage and Pushkin Museums Team Up – A series of four exhibitions in Russia will celebrate the pioneering collections of French Impressionist and Modern art assembled by Sergei Shchukin and the brothers Ivan and Mikhail Morozov in the early 1900s. The treasures were confiscated after the Bolshevik Revolution and later divided between the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow and the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg. Now, the museums are pooling the works for a landmark series at both venues, the first of which is due to open in June. (The Art Newspaper)


Sotheby’s Presents Alex Katz’s First Show in Hong Kong – Western auction houses are working overtime to cultivate markets for European and American art stars in Asia, and it appears they have found their next target: nonagenarian figurative painter Alex Katz. Sotheby’s S|2 has organized his Hong Kong debut, an exhibition of portraits and landscapes on view from March 15 to April 1 during Art Basel Hong Kong. (Press release)

Freeport Scrutiny Ends… for Now – The president of the European commission has dismissed concerns of fraud raised by a German politician over the management of Le Freeport Luxembourg. The freeport, which is owned by the Swiss dealer Yves Bouvier, came under fire when German MEP Wolf Klinz claimed the business and others like it allegedly serve as “a fertile ground for money laundering and tax evasion.” Now, the European commissioner has responded saying that “there was no evidence showing free zones… are systematically used to commit fraud.” (TAN)

Nature Morte Is Popping Up in New York – The New Delhi-based gallery behind the first dedicated commercial show of AI art is temporarily returning to New York, where it first opened in 1988, with a pop-up space in Chelsea. The gallery will present paintings by rising star Tanya Goel from April 24 through May 21 to complement its booth at Frieze New York. (ARTnews)

Phillips Expands in California – The auction house has promoted Sophia Kinell to serve as its regional representative in San Francisco, where she will focus on expanding its business in the Bay Area and beyond. She joined Phillips in 2017 after a decade at Sotheby’s New York. (Press release)


Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Donates Art to the Reina Sofía – The art collector’s foundation has donated 45 works of contemporary art to the Museo Reina Sofía in Madrid. The works by 33 artists from Latin America and its diaspora, including Teresita Fernández, Valeska Soares, and José Dávila, bolster a trove that the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros gave to the Spanish museum in January. (ARTnews)

Pittsburgh Art Institute Shutters – After struggling financially under its previous two owners, the nonprofit that bought the Art Institute campuses in 2017, Dream Center Education Holdings, announced plans to close the school, which was founded in 1921. Around 2,000 students who were enrolled online and 230 who attended in person have been left adrift by the news. “It’s a great loss to the community, but a greater loss to a creative generation yet to fully realize their potential,” a parent of one of the students said. (CBS)

Henry Taylor to Receive REDCAT Award – The multidisciplinary center for contemporary art founded by CalArts will present the figurative painter with an award honoring “individuals who exemplify the creativity and talent that define and lead the evolution of contemporary culture.” The award—designed by starchitect Frank Gehry and made by Tiffany & Co—will be presented to Taylor at downtown LA’s Walt Disney Concert Hall. (Press release)


Appeal Launched to Meet Genesis Breyer P-Orridge’s Medical Bills – The visual artist and avant-garde musician Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, who has leukemia, has been hospitalized. Jason Louv, the editor of Breyer P-Orridge’s Thee Psychick Bible, has asked supporters to donate to a GoFundMe campaign to help pay the artist’s medical bills. The Manchester-born singer-songwriter co-founded the experimental video art and music groups Throbbing Gristle and Psychic TV. (ARTnews)

This Perfume Company Wants to Bottle the Smell of Your Favorite Museum – New York’s New Museum is selling perfume created especially for the institution by the New York- and Berlin-based “niche perfumery” Folie À Plusieurs. This led Garage to wonder what other bespoke scents inspired by famous art institutions would smell like. Top notes might include Gauloise smoke and Proustian madeleines for the Louvre, hot-dog water and crisp $100 bills for the Met, and sunscreen and sweat mixed with sushi-grade ahi tuna for LACMA. (Garage)

A Spanish Artist Is Using NATO Headquarters as Her Canvas – Over the next week, the painter Bea Sarrias will plaster the inside of NATO HQ with a 64-foot-long canvas with a likeness of the “Agora,” the wide central hallway that links the wings of the Alliance. The artist says her paintings reflect “the history of the building and that of the people that work and live in it.” (NATO News)

Uniqlo Teams Up With Miranda July – The artist Miranda July has announced a collaboration with the affordable clothing retailer. Miranda July x Uniqlo launches March 18. The artist celebrated the news with an odd video on her Instagram, where she conducts a barking and adzuki bean-sprinkling ritual to transform a cardboard cutout into a T-shirt that reads “If you like like you’ll love love.” The collection is sure to have something for every manic pixie dream girl in your life. (Instagram)


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