From the Secretary Who Stole a Klimt to Obama’s Portrait Drama: The Best and Worst of the Art World This Week

Catch up on the week's news—fast.

A mysterious figure walks past the painting "The Kiss" by Austrian artist Gustav Klimt. (Photo: ALEXANDER KLEIN/AFP/GettyImages)


Cutting Through the Weeds – artnet News’s critic Ben Davis takes a look into the real meaning behind Kehinde Wiley’s foliage-festooned official portrait of Barack Obama, and his insights are surprising.

Curator of Cambridge – Princess Kate will be organizing a show at the National Portrait Gallery in London, bringing her art-history thesis from University of St. Andrews to fruition with a show of 19th-century photography.

Move Over, Alexander McQueen – A divine draftsman, indeed: the Met’s “Michelangelo: Divine Draftsman and Designer” exhibition drew more than 700,000 visitors, unseating 2011’s “Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty” from the top 10 most-visited exhibitions list.

Tips for the New Museum Triennial – The newly opened “Songs for Sabotage” is an ambitious gloss on how young artists view politics, culture, and society, and we’ve got a primer on the big ideas to bone up on beforehand—plus, Rachel Corbett spotlights five rising stars you should get to know.

Leonardo DiCaprio’s Bright Idea – The art-friendly actor successfully lobbied for an eco-friendly update to Chris Burden’s Urban Light installation at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and now his foundation has paid for all 309 incandescent lights to be swapped with more energy-efficient LED bulbs.

5Pointz Produces a Historic Payout – The landmark 5Pointz graffiti case came to a dramatic conclusion when the presiding judge awarded the artists a whopping $6.5 million in the wake of the building ownership’s decision to whitewash their work.

A New Era at Newfields – artnet editor-in-chief Andrew Goldstein spoke to museum director Charles Venable about how the museum-like cultural amalgam known as Newfields can harness the power of Instagram, serve up exhibition-themed cuisine, and make art more fun in the pursuit of higher ticket sales and foot traffic.



Former Museum Director “Did Not Mislead the Board” – Laura Raicovich, ex-director of the Queens Museum, spoke to artnet News about accusations that emerged in a harsh report put forth by the museum following her resignation in late January.

The Hirshhorn Holsters Its Gun Art – The Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, DC, removed a work by Krzysztof Wodiczko after the news of the devastating mass school shooting in Florida; the work, originally created in 1988, projects an image of two hands, one holding a candle and the other holding a revolver.

The Klimt in the Cupboard – A former secretary at an Austrian museum pilfered and squirreled away a drawing by Gustav Klimt, hiding it in her desk drawer for years. The news only came out after the woman’s death, when she fessed up in her will.

Obama’s Portrait Drama – The unveiling of the official portraits of former President and First Lady Barack and Michelle Obama was a viral topic on social media, with the haters and superfans alike sounding off.

UK Museums Face Money Problems – A new report shows that museums in the United Kingdom have meager access to public funding, and may have to unload treasured artwork to stay solvent.

documenta’s Financial Fiasco – The quinquennial exhibition is in the doghouse again, this time with the German government, which is expanding a criminal investigation to determine if public funds were embezzled to pay for the multimillion-dollar deficit.

Trump Has Returned to Terrorize the NEA – Once again, President Trump is threatening to slash funding for arts organizations, taking aim at the NEA and NEH, and drawing ire from organizations across the cultural landscape.

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