Speed Read: The Top 10 Art News Stories for August 18–22

Art Basel hits a rough patch, the vintage car market revs up, and more.

The Ex-Jo Schlesser/Henri Oreiller, Paolo Colombo, Ernesto Prinoth, Fabrizio Violati 1962-63 FERRARI 250 GTO BERLINETTA; Coachwork by Carrozzeria Scaglietti; Chassis no. 3851GT; Engine no. 3851GT.
Photo: Courtesy Bonhams.

1: “Will Art Basel Lose A Major Sponsor?” and “Is Art Basel in Turmoil?
All is not well with Art Basel. Its director of new initiatives, Annette Schönholzer—who also helped launch its Miami Beach franchise—announced her departure days after the Swiss megafair learned it might lose one of its biggest sponsors, the luxury goods and tobacco giant Davidoff. This is expected to happen if Switzerland’s government passes a law placing tighter restrictions on tobacco sponsorships. Reporting on both of Art Basel’s recent hurdles, Alexander Forbes cited a source at the fair who reported tensions among its senior management.

2: “Vintage Cars Overtake Art on Luxury Asset Racetrack
Following the recent sale of a bright red 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO for $38.1 million at Bonhams, a new auction record for a car, Rozalia Jovanovic looked under the hood of the vintage car market. It turns out that classic automobiles are a much safer and more profitable asset class than fine art, and have been for some time.

3: “Gwangju Biennale President Resigns Over Censorship
After the city of Gwangju, which funds the Gwangju Biennale, sought to censor a painting satirizing Korean president Park Geun-hye from an exhibition marking the biennial’s 20th anniversary, the Biennale’s co founder and director Lee Yong-woo resigned in protest. As Benjamin Sutton reported, other artists removed works from the anniversary exhibition and the international art community threatened to cancel loans of artworks to the Gwangju Biennale Foundation unless the censored piece was reinstated.

4: “Strictly Critical Video: One Hour Looking at a Jackson Pollock Painting at MoMA
By the end of spending one hour at MoMA engaging with Jackson Pollock’s iconic One: Number 31, 1950, Blake Gopnik and Christian Viveros-Fauné had discussed everything from Pop art (Gopnik:”I actually had forgotten how much this looks like Warhol’s piss paintings”) to Freudian psychoanalysis (Viveros-Fauné: “I really doubt we’re the first people to see the vagina in the Pollock”).

5: “Robert Indiana Fans Ignore Artist’s Ferguson Protest
Tourists in Philadelphia unwittingly proved a performance artist’s point about racial violence in the US, Ben Davis wrote, when they posed for photographs in front of Robert Indiana’s LOVE sculpture where Keith Wallace had staged a performance commenting on the murder of Michael Brown by police in Ferguson, Missouri.

6: “The Future of Commercial Art Galleries, Part Two
In the second installment of Anthony Haden-Guest’s report on an artnet roundtable discussion, art dealers continue to debate the challenges faced by mid-sized art galleries. “Talking to dealers, one thing they say without exception is that the art world is changing radically,” says gallerist Stefan Stux. “It’s very high-speed. This business is not as it used to be.” The first installment of the report, “New York Dealers Discuss the Future of Galleries, Part One,” was published in June.

7: “Gucci, YSL, and More Sue Alibaba for Selling Fakes
Nobody batted an eye when a sculpture fabrication company started hawking fake Jeff Koons balloon dog sculptures on Chinese e-commerce site Alibaba, but now a consortium of luxury brands including Gucci, Bottega Veneta, and Yves St. Laurent are suing the site for making billions off the sale of fake and counterfeit goods, Eileen Kinsella reported.

8: “Why Is The Art World Enamored With LA Politician Bobby Shriver?
Ahead of the November’s elections, the biggest players on the Los Angeles art scene—from Frank Gehry and Larry Gagosian to Ed Ruscha and Michael Govan—are stumping for LA county supervisor candidate Bobby Shriver, Rozalia Jovanovic reported.

9: “Cleared of Fraud, Saatchi’s Former PA Launches Art Venture
Charles Saatchi’s former personal assistant, Francesca Grillo, who along with her sister Elisabetta was accused and eventually cleared of defrauding the mega-collector of some $1.1 million, launched a new online art site, Coline Milliard reported.

10: “Astronaut Tweets Incredible Photos From Space
We’ve noticed a growing number of art projects that involve sending art into space, but this might be the first time that someone who is already in orbit has taken up art. US astronaut Reid Wiseman is currently tweeting from the International Space Station, Cait Munro reported, and the images he’s beaming back to Earth capture astronomical phenomena in beautiful detail.

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