Another Eye-Popping Restoration Fail to Damien Hirst’s Not-So-‘Beautiful’ Track Record: The Best and Worst of the Art World This Week

Catch up on this week's news—fast.

At left, the 15th-century statue of Virgin Mary before being "restored" (right) by a local woman in Asturias, Spain. Photo DSF/AFP/Getty Images.


The Story Behind Art Basel Cities – artnet News’s Andrew Goldstein spoke to Art Basel Cities’ creator Patrick Foret about bridging the divide between local and international art worlds, using creativity to spur economic development, and highlighting the unique culture of Buenos Aires.

Hidden Treasure – Archaeologists working in the Cressoni Theater in Italy discovered a hidden cache of gold coins that could be worth millions. The coins were found inside a jar that was buried on the grounds of the former theater, and experts say that they are relics from Rome’s Imperial Era.

Hockney Could Hit a High-Water Mark – A painting by David Hockney set to be sold at Christie’s fall postwar and contemporary auction could earn him the title of most expensive living artist. The 1972 painting has a presale price tag of $80 million, and if it fetches that price, Hockney would oust Jeff Koons from the top spot.

Frieze LA Heats Up – For its first foray onto the West Coast, Frieze has unveiled an exhibitor list chock-full of blue-chip galleries and a sensational host committee dotted with A-list celebrities including Tobey McGuire, Serena Williams, and Salma Hayek.

Warhol’s World – The fifth volume of Warhol’s catalogue raisonné covers just two years of the artist’s prolific output but contains some contains some major revelations that Warhol expert Richard Polsky delves into for us.


Makeover Mishap – An amateur artist in Spain has painted over a 15th-century statue of the Virgin Mary in cornea-melting neon colors—yet another restoration fail that has critics recalling the notorious “Beast Jesus” from 2016.

Pussy Riot Member May Have Been Poisoned – One of the members of the Russian protest and performance group fell ill after appearing at a court hearing, and his friends and fellow Rioters have posted statements on social media that contend Pyotr Verzilov may be the victim of poisoning.

Double Exposure? – A photojournalist is accusing artist Hank Willis Thomas of plagiarism, claiming that Willis Thomas’s artistic changes to the original photograph don’t meet meet the bar set out in fair-use guidelines of being “transformative.” Willis Thomas often uses commercial advertisements and other found imagery, which he uses as the foundation of his re-contextualized artworks; the photograph in question captures a group of school children and police officers as the apartheid era waned in South Africa.

Survey Says… MFA Grads Have It Rough – A new study has bad news for creatives. The report by financial company Bankrate reveals that college graduates with a degree in fine arts comprise a group with the highest unemployment rates, and the lowest annual salaries.

“Beautiful Inside My Head Forever”? Maybe. Outside His Head? Not So Much. – To commemorate 10 years since Damien Hirst’s jaw-dropping single-artist sale in 2008, Tim Schneider crunched the numbers from the historic event to see how the artworks have appreciated over time. It turns out “forever” may have been an overstatement.

Contractor Says Glenstone Went Off the Rales – The private Glenstone Museum is facing a lawsuit brought by the Virginia-based contractors who carried out the $200 million renovation for Mitchell and Emily Rales’s newly reopened institution in Maryland. The lawsuit alleges that the project was mismanaged and disorganized.

Kanye Gets Schooled – The mercurial singer attracted attention when he posted on Twitter that he’d be teaching a class at two Chicago-based art schools, but both institutions refuted his claim, saying it was news to them. Later in the week though, the rapper showed off his artistic chops with drawings he made documenting his daily meetings.

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