Cheat Sheet: Jeff Koons Sued for Plagiarism, Roman Abramovich Loses Millions, and More

The top art news stories from December 15–19.

VIEWER’S CHOICE
Jeff Koons is being sued for plagiarism, and this isn’t the first time. Alexander Forbes reports on the impending lawsuit, which comes from Franck Davidovici, a French publicist who, in 1985, created an advertisement for the clothing brand Naf Naf that he claims was copied for Koons’ 1988 sculpture Fait d’Hiver, that was part of the “Banality” series. Why Davidovici waited over twenty years to file the suit is a mystery, but it doesn’t look all that good for Koons, who has lost two of the previous three copyright infringement cases filed against him over the years.

BIG QUESTIONS
artnet News editor-in-chief Ben Genocchio poses the question: “Will the contemporary art sold today be of any value in 100 years?” After all, short-term market values have little bearing on the long-term value of art, because in the long run, it’s art historical values that matter, which are subject to review and change gradually over time through consensus. Wouldn’t you love to know what tomorrow’s art historical analyses will make of some of today’s market darlings?

OUCH
Art collector Roman Abramovich reportedly lost $450 million dollars in about 48 hours thanks to recent economic turmoil in Russia that had the ruble tumble to its lowest value in over a decade. What kind of impact will the major bucks shed by Abramovich and other Russian collectors have on the high-end art market? Only time will tell, but Abramovich still has a whopping $12.8 billion in the bank, so don’t cry for him and girlfriend Dasha Zhukova yet.

MARKET NEWS
Sotheby’s set a new world record for a photography auction, thanks to a single-owner sale of 175 photographs from the collection of the late financier Howard Stein. The auction grossed $21,325,063, beating its presale estimate of $13–20 million, and blowing away the previous record, set in 2006 by a Sotheby’s sale of photographs from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which made a total $15 million.

PEARLS OF WISDOM
Former president turned painter George W. Bush has some tips for aspiring artists. First of all, “never paint your wife or your mother.” This comes from personal experience attempting to do a portrait of his wife Laura, who did not appreciate the outcome of the gesture. Second, always maintain an air of mystery: “People are surprised [I can paint]. Of course, some people are surprised I can even read,” he mused.

NEWS TO KNOW
Did Leonardo da Vinci Paint the Mona Lisa Twice?

Jim Carrey Is . . . a Painter?

Graffiti Artist KORN Dies After Falling Through Window

Zabludowicz Foundation Boycotted Over Arms Dealing Connection

Burt Reynolds Art Collection and Memorabilia Sold at Auction

Stephen Colbert Commissions JR Mural, Claims to Be Banksy


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