The Art Angle Podcast: How Rupert Murdoch’s Son Became Art Basel’s Savior

On this week's episode, art business editor Tim Schneider reveals why James Murdoch may just be the saving grace of Art Basel.

James Murdoch, photo by Getty Images. Courtesy Artnet News.
James Murdoch, photo by Getty Images. Courtesy Artnet News.

Welcome to the Art Angle, a podcast from Artnet News that delves into the places where the art world meets the real world, bringing each week’s biggest story down to earth. Join host Andrew Goldstein every week for an in-depth look at what matters most in museums, the art market, and much more with input from our own writers and editors as well as artists, curators, and other top experts in the field.

 

 

Earlier this summer, rumors emerged that a member of the Murdoch media dynasty—most (in)famous for building the far-right Fox News—may be sniffing around a major investment in the MCH Group, the financially beleaguered parent company of mega-fair Art Basel. Initial fears that the interested party was ultra-conservative family patriarch Rupert Murdoch soon gave way to official news that it was instead his son James, a billionaire in his own right who has been referred to as “the smart one in the clan.”

The media scion’s interest represented a lifeline for the MCH Group, which had been battered by an extended run of strategic miscues even before this year’s global shutdown forced it to begin canceling or postponing its lavish slate of international gatherings. But the prospect of an alliance raised a whole other set of questions: Who exactly is James Murdoch? How similar is he to his climate-change-denying, Trump-supporting father? And why on earth would he want to pump roughly $80 million of his fortune into a Swiss company best known for producing trade fairs for expensive artworks and watches?

On this week’s episode of the Art Angle, Artnet News art business editor Tim Schneider joins Andrew Goldstein to dissect the MCH Group’s rocky last three years, the controversial career arc of Murdoch the younger, and how his influence as the new “anchor shareholder” could reshape the future of Art Basel.


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