art fair

From Vermeer’s Concealed Cupid to the Nirvana Baby’s Lawsuit: Best and Worst of the Art World This Week


Rising Star Search – Artist Dominique Fung is an emerging artist on everyone’s radar, and she details the rocky road to art world acceptance.

Breakfast with… Basquiat? – Tiffany’s newfangled ad campaign features American royalty Jay-Z and Beyoncé dripping in jewels in front of a baby blue Basquiat canvas.

Visa Enters the NFT Game – The behemoth company just bought a $150,000 Crypto Punk, indicating its interest in the growing crypto sphere.

Experts Uncover a Hidden Cupid – Researchers have uncovered and restored a long-lost cupid painting hidden beneath one of Vermeer’s most famous canvases.

Impressionist Immersion – Three separate companies are banking on immersive Monet experiences to entice crowds.

Hirst’s NFT Project Is Booming – Damien Hirst’s NFT ploy, pitting physical artworks against their crypto counterparts, has already made $25 million.

A Storage Unit Surprise – An Ohio-based storage unit yielded two paintings by Ireland’s most prestigious Impressionist painter.

Noah Horowitz Switches Teams – The former Art Basel exec is joining Sotheby’s to help build relationships with galleries and dealers, further blurring the lines between primary and secondary markets.

Mafioso Arrested – Raffaele Imperiale was arrested in Dubai for his alleged involvement in a brazen museum heist 20 years ago.

Brooklyn Museum Workers Mobilize – Workers at the Brooklyn Museum are the latest to vote for unionization by an overwhelming margin.

Seeking Nirvana, and Money – The man who was photographed as a baby for Nirvana’s famed Nevermind album cover is suing the band after it declined to participate in his art show.

Afghan Culture Workers In Peril – Amid the country’s mass exodus, hundreds of artists are signing an open letter urging the US government to accept Afghan culture workers as refugees.

Dealer Busted for Swindling Buyers – A Manhattan antiquities dealer was arrested for selling “cookie cutter” fakes to unsuspecting collectors.

Dark Little Stormclouds – On this week’s Art Angle podcast, Ben Davis speaks to the director of an eye-opening new documentary that delves into the bitter fight over Bob Ross’s legacy.

Admission Fee Required – If you’re planning a day trip to Venice, prepare to pay an entrance fee for the privilege.

German Dealer Sentenced for Forgeries – Ernst Jockels was sentenced to two years in prison for hawking fake Günther Uecker artworks.

PAD Pulls the Plug – The London-based art and design fair has axed its 2021 edition, citing travel concerns among the surging covid variants.

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Art Dealers at Intersect Aspen Say the Pop-Up Fair Was a Roaring Success—and a Great Chance to Finally See Collectors Again

The absence of most in-person art fairs in the past year and a half appears to be making the white-hot art market even hotter.

That’s the takeaway from the opening day of the pop-up Intersect Aspen art fair, which takes place in a city overrun with billionaires.

The fair, which features 30 galleries from 26 cities and was described by one fairgoer as “tiny but exquisite,” attracted a bevy of collectors, including Andrea and John Stark, Janna Bullock, and heiress Elizabeth Esteve.

Sales were fast and furious, organizers said. Galerie Gmurzynska, whose director Isabelle Bscher made a concerted effort not to presell works (as galleries often do at major fairs), sold a Joan Miró painting, Tête (1979), for $2 million in the first hour of the opening day.

Two days later, Gmurzynska reported selling another work, a small Picasso titled Compotier avec raisin (Pigeons) (1927) for over $1.5 million.

Image courtesy Intersect Aspen.

Image courtesy Intersect Aspen.

“Where better to be than Aspen?” asked Christine Berry of New York’s Berry Campbell Gallery. “We have a renewed appreciation for being at an art fair in person.”

Seattle dealer Greg Kucera reported selling work by Chris Engman for $5,000 and by Humaira Abid for $8,000. The gallery is also showing two new works by Deborah Butterfield that were made specifically for Intersect Aspen, and are on view for the first time.

“The fair opened on Sunday morning at 10 with a bang,” New York dealer Nancy Hoffman said. “Starting with energy is key to the success of the event, and this is a success. This is our first in-person fair since the pandemic, and it has been great so far, positive on all levels. The right size, the right place, the right audience, the right fair director and organization.”

Hoffman said responses have been strong to the gallery’s booth theme of wild flowers, which is inspired by Aspen’s floral landscape. With prices for works ranging from $1,800 to $75,000, she said the gallery sold works priced from $5,000 to $30,000.

Installation view of Edward Cella Art & Architecture at Intersect Aspen. Image courtesy Intersect Aspen.

Installation view of Edward Cella Art & Architecture at Intersect Aspen. Image courtesy Intersect Aspen.

Half Gallery sold out a booth of works by Hiejin Yoo (prices ranged from $12,000 to $20,000), Young Lim Lee (priced around $8,000), and Umar Rashid (priced around $25,000). Director Erin Goldberger said she was using the opportunity to meet new clients, see old clients, and talk about the artists on view with visitors.

Goldberger said many of the collectors at the fair have not been back to New York since the start of COVID, so this is the first time many are seeing artworks from galleries they work with in person.

Emmanuel Perrotin sold works by Daniel Arsham from two different series, including one featured prominently in the booth, Quartz Eroded Basketball Hoop (2021), which sold for a price in the range of $60,000 to $90,000.

Edward Cella Art and Architecture gallery sold a painting by Wosene Worke Kosrof, House Full of Words (2014), for $46,000, with strong interest from buyers in additional works.

“I’m pleasantly surprised by the quality and intelligence of the collectors, who are geographically dispersed throughout the country,” said gallery owner Edward Cella.

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For Dealers Unable to Travel Internationally, Art Basel Hong Kong Has an Intriguing Option: The Ghost Booth

These days, it seems like every missive from art-fair organizers confidently predicting a set of firm dates is invariably followed by news of yet another postponement. But organizers of the Art Basel Hong Kong fair, due to take place from May 21 to 23, have dreamed up a new approach to remain on schedule: offering exhibitors the opportunity to participate in the fair even if travel restrictions make their physical attendance impossible.

Enter: the ghost booth.

According to a letter sent to exhibitors today from director Adeline Ooi, dealers now have the option to amend their proposals to present “a small curated exhibition within a standalone booth.” They can choose between a booth measuring either 15 by 20 square meters or 20 by 25 square meters that will be staffed by assistants appointed by Art Basel.

“We hope that this satellite option allows exhibitors to continue their onsite presence without physically attending the show,” the letter states.

Since the pivot to purely virtual editions largely been deemed a failure by collectors and participants alike, this option—call it the ghost booth—just might be a viable stopgap as vaccines are distributed and lockdowns begin to lift piecemeal.

The smaller size ghost booth will have a flat rate of $9,500; the larger option is priced at $11,500. Art Basel said each size would be fully equipped and include an assistant to “facilitate connection between visitors and the gallery.” Depending on the number of galleries that take them up on the option, the booths might be either grouped together or sprinkled across the show.

There is, however, one catch: “Exhibitors must ensure that a gallery sales representative remains on-call at all times throughout the opening hours of the show.” (The only thing better than traveling to Hong Kong is being available on Hong Kong hours during East Coast time, right?)

Interested exhibitors must submit amended proposals—which may “deviate significantly” from their original applications—by March 4.

Organizers also reminded exhibitors of an existing “joint-booth option” within the main galleries sector, where two or more exhibitors can participate in a single booth of any size.

Art Basel Hong Kong is currently scheduled to take place at the Hong Kong Exhibition and Convention Centre from May 21–May 23, 2021.

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From Bernie Sanders Memes to Art Basel’s Postponement: The Best and Worst of the Art World This Week

Behind Botticelli’s Beauty – You may think you know the celebrated artist’s work, Primavera, but we’re here to highlight some lesser-known facts about the painting.

It’s the Final Countdown – In 2016, artist Matthew Barney installed a giant clock counting down the days until Trump left office. Now, it’s finally gone dark.

Trump Balloon Heads to the Museum – The Museum of London has acquired the giant “Trump Baby” blimp that soared over the city as part of a protest during his presidency.

Berning Up the Internet – The star of this week’s inauguration was none other than Bernie Sanders, who ended up getting photoshopped into a slew of art-historical memes.

Honoring Madame Vice President – Seven artists of color created a moving video to celebrate her historic victory.

A Royal Discovery – Archaeologists in Egypt discovered more than 50 painted sarcophagi and the temple to an ancient queen.

Inside Biden’s Oval Office – One of the first orders of business when Biden took office was to switch out Trump’s art—and we’ve decoded all the symbolism of the new administration’s aesthetic.

What We Hope for in 2021 – Midnight Publishing Group News asked artists, curators, and gallerists what changes they hope to see in the industry this year.

Robert Storr Takes Aim – As he publishes a new book of essays, the esteemed curator and critic is taking shots at art-world heavyweights.

Art Basel’s Swiss Edition on Ice – The juggernaut art fair has opted to postpone its IRL edition in Basel until September, and to roll out online viewing rooms in the meantime.

Fire in Brussels – A fire broke out at the Center for Fine Arts in Brussels, though firefighters managed to tamp down the flames before any art was damaged.

Trump Pardons Art Dealer – In one of his final executive acts, former president Trump pardoned art dealer Helly Nahmad, who was sentenced to prison in 2014 for co-organizing an illegal gambling ring.

Dealer Convicted of Selling Fake Albers – A Milan-based art dealer was convicted for attempting to sell a forged Josef Albers painting that the artist’s foundation deemed fake years ago.

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