From Basquiat’s Secret Messages to the Dismissal of the Knight Landesman Lawsuit: The Best and Worst of the Art World This Week

Catch up on what you missed—fast.

Jean-Michel Basquiat. © Edo Bertoglio. Courtesy of Maripol. Artwork: © The Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat. Licensed by Artestar, New York.


Basquiat’s Hidden Messages – A conservator discovered previously unknown invisible markings on a Basquiat painting that the artist made with UV paint.

New Year, New Shows! – From the young Picasso in Basel to a Leonardo da Vinci anniversary at the Louvre, here are 19 shows you don’t want to miss across Europe in 2019.

Monet Could Fetch Millions – Sotheby’s is offering a painting of Venice by Claude Monet that could sell for up to $35 million this February.

Welcome to the Public Domain – On January 1, copyright protections for scores of artworks created in 1923 expired, releasing images of works by Picasso, Matisse, Duchamp into the public domain to be freely reproduced.

Chris Burden Goes Off Broadway – The SoHo Playhouse in New York is staging two artist-inspired plays, focusing on the radical performance art of Chris Burden and offering an operatic adaptation of Jackson Pollock’s abstraction.

Conservation Revelation – Female conservators in Rome are on a mission to save Renaissance artworks from being damaged and forgotten.

Celebrating African American Artists – Phillips is opening a selling exhibition featuring more than 60 African American artists, with work spanning more than 50 years—but with one big name missing.


Defamation Case Dismissed – Former Artforum staffer and #MeToo cause célèbre Amanda Schmitt saw a judge throw out her court case against Knight Landesman, a onetime publisher of the magazine, who still retains partial ownership.

Sculptor Nicola L. Has Died – The French artist Nicola L., whose career was defined by a conceptual approach to depicting the female body in sculpture, furniture, performance, and painting, passed away at age 81.

30 Works Seized From Former Argentine President – A court ordered more than $4 million-worth of paintings be taken from Cristina Fernández de Kirchner as part of an ongoing probe into alleged corruption.

Uffizi Director Shames Germany – Eike Schmidt is criticizing his native Germany for not returning a Nazi-looted Dutch painting to the Florence museum.

Smithsonian Shuttered – As the government shutdown continues, all 19 of the Smithsonian museums are closed throughout New York and Washington, along with the National Gallery of Art.

Taxing Tourists – As tourists flood the city of Venice, they’ll be subject to an increased tax for the privilege this spring—which may also impact the thousands who will visit the Biennale, opening in May.

Self(ie) Sabotage – Just how much havoc do visitors wreak on artworks as they pose for a perfect pic? We’ve ranked the nine most memorable cases.

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