From the Island Life of a Fugitive Art Scammer to a Van Gogh Ransom Picture: The Best and Worst of the Art World This Week

Catch up on this week's news, fast.

Bungalows of Iririki Island Resort Hotel on Efate Island, Port Vila, Vanuatu. Photo by Eric Lafforgue/Art In All Of Us/Corbis via Getty Images.
Bungalows of Iririki Island Resort Hotel on Efate Island, Port Vila, Vanuatu. Photo by Eric Lafforgue/Art In All Of Us/Corbis via Getty Images.


Inigo Philbrick Nabbed in the South Pacific –  Companions dished on the disgraced dealer’s life on the lam on the remote isle of Port Vila, Vanuatu, from his tennis lessons and pet adoptions to its abrupt conclusion. 

Artists Rejoice as Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben Products Are Being Retired —  A long history of artistic critiques presaged this week’s decision by conglomerates Quaker Oats and Mars to do away with branding rooted in racist caricatures. 

New York Galleries Can Officially Begin To Reopen — For the first time since mid-March, galleries in the metro-area can—under strict social distancing orders—begin to reopen to the public. But expect masks and curbside delivery for now!

Holy Mackerel! – A granite Virgin Mary statue pulled from a river might be a 700-year-old religious icon 

An Auction-House Pro Connects Museums with Corporations — Long-time Sotheby’s executive Joe Dunning is launching a firm to help match museums with financial need with corporations seeking to provide sponsorship.

An Activist’s Words of Advice — Artist and Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors recently unveiled a new performance in honor of Ahmaud Arbery. She also shared some advice for art-world activists.

A New York Gallery Offers Relief to Protestors — HOUSING gallery just opened in the Lower East Side, but the new space has already put its uniquely activist approach into action.

Art Basel Online Edition Sparks Brisk Sales — At the virtual stand-in for the famed Swiss fair, galleries made five- and six-digit sales. A few break-out sales surprised too, including a day-glo Keith Haring that reached $4.75 million at Gladstone.


Museums’ Ties Police Departments Emerge — Though the Walker Art Center and the Minneapolis Institute of Art quickly cut ties with the Minneapolis Police Department after the death of George Floyd, other museums including the MCA and the Met are more tight-lipped about ending their relationships with police forces.

A Letter Detailing Van Gogh and Gauguin’s Brothel Trip Fetches a Lofty Sum — The Van Gogh Museum shelled out $236,000 for a letter about the friends’ visit to a local brothel addressed to Van Gogh’s brother. 

UK Creative Industry Braces for £74 Million Loss A startling new report predicts one in five creative jobs in the nation will be lost following months of lockdown. 

Did A Theme Park Rip Off Chris Burden? — The late artist’s estate has filed suit against an Indonesian park for an installation that a perhaps little too inspired by the artist’s famed Urban Light 

Germany Stands by Religious Symbolism — Typically progressive Germany is sticking with a huge new Christian cross atop its new Humboldt Forum, a museum that claims it aims to project the spirit of pluralism. 

A Stolen Van Gogh Ransom-Style Photoshoot — A hostage-style photograph of a Van Gogh painting that was snatched from a Dutch Museum in March has been circulating in the criminal underworld.

Swindling Art Heiress Arrested In Lisbon — Alleged fraudster Angela Gulbenkian has been taken into custody in the Portuguese capital after failing to appear for UK court dates relating to her history of shady art dealing. Accusations against her include bilking a collector out of a $1.4 million Yayoi Kusama.

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