Nepali Officials Claim Works on Display at the Art Institute of Chicago Were Stolen + Other Stories

Art Industry News is a daily digest of the most consequential developments coming out of the art world and art market. Here’s what you need to know on this Thursday, March 23.


Heiress Sues Pearl Lam Over Banksy Work – Karen Lo, an heiress of Hong Kong beverage empire Vitasoy International is taking the prominent gallery owner to court, alleging that Lam did not deliver Banksy’s 2005 painting Show Me The Monet that she had purchased for £500,000 ($613,000) from her. Lo accused Lam of falsely representing that she had bought the work on Lo’s behalf, according to court documents. (Reuters)

Ezra Chowaiki on the Art World’s “Gorgeous Cesspool” – In this first person account, the New York art dealer who was sentenced to prison for wire fraud dishes the dirty secrets in the art business and life behind bars. “The business is so secretive, and so opaque, that even though lies and fraud are rampant, no one gets in trouble,” he wrote. (Airmail)

Questionable Works Donated to Chicago Museum – Some 24 objects in the Art Institute of Chicago’s Alsdorf collection were found to have incomplete provenance by today’s standards according to a national online registry of museum pieces, including four that were believed to have been stolen from Nepal and exported illegally. The Nepal Heritage Recovery Campaign is seeking repatriation of the artifacts but they believed that the Art Institute is stalling the process. (ProPublica)

Expo Chicago Launches Blockchain App – Blockchain company Valence has teamed up with the Chicago fair to launch Valence Wallet, a new app that will allow collectors to purchase works and other services, including certificates of authenticity, insurance, shipping, and payment documents. (ARTnews)


Liverpool Biennial Announces Program – Running from June 10 through September 17, the 12th edition of the biennial will be staged across the port city in northern England at new sites and venues including the historic buildings of Tobacco Warehouse and Cotton Exchange, as well as shopping mall Liverpool One, in addition to existing cultural venues. The full program comes with free events and performances. (Press release)

Pace Takes on Estates of Claes Oldenburg & Coosje van Bruggen – The mega-gallery will now exclusively represent the late artist duo and Pop Art pioneers. A major exhibition featuring Oldenburg’s drawings and sculptures along with a catalogue raisonné is slated for 2024. (ARTnews)

NADA Gets New Members – 18 galleries from 5 countries have joined the New Art Dealer’s Alliance ahead of the ninth edition of the NADA New York art fair this May. The new members include Marta (Los Angeles), The Watermill Center (Water Mill), Storm King Art Center (New York), O Gallery (Tehran), Xxijra Hii (London), and Saenger Galería (Mexico City). (Press release)

London Assembly Calls for New Statue of the Queen – City Hall politicians have unanimously agreed that a new monument honoring the late monarch should be erected in a “prominent, public location.” Earlier proposals suggested using the Fourth Plinth as a site of the monument. (Evening Standard)


We Want This Rose Wylie Streetwear – The celebrated British painter has teamed up with art marketplace Platform to launch a limited edition “ugly” hoodie featuring a screenprint of the artist’s work Black Cat (Bones) (Study). A total of 150 hoodies will go on sale on April 4. (Surface)

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Dozens More Works in the Met’s Collection Have Been Linked to Disgraced Dealer Subhash Kapoor + Other Stories

Art Industry News is a daily digest of the most consequential developments coming out of the art world and art market. Here’s what you need to know on this Monday, March 20.


NEA Report on State of the Arts – New data on the art and cultural sector shows that it had a larger impact on the U.S. GDP in 2021 than in previous years. It also grew more rapidly than the wider economy. The report was organized by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Bureau of Economic Analysis. None of the 35 cultural industries evaluated have yet bounced back to pre-pandemic levels. (The Art Newspaper)

Painters Swindled by Fake Collectors – The growing trend of fake check scams is affecting artists. In each case reported by the New York Times, artists were offered a good price for artworks by fake collectors who sent checks to cover the price of the work, plus shipping costs. The checks bounced after the artists forwarded the shipping fee by money order to a person who was arranging the delivery. (New York Times)

Antiquities Linked to Subhash Kapoor at the Met – The Indian Express has listed works of art that are still in the collection, which are linked to the disgraced dealer who is serving jail time in Tamil Nadu, India, on charges of burglary and theft of antiquities. The list includes 18 sculptures and 59 paintings. Manhattan’s district attorney has already handed back hundreds of artifacts connected to Kapoor. (Indian Express)

U.K. Museum Visitor Numbers – At U.K. museums, visitor numbers are up post-pandemic and many museums in the nation saw numbers increased by more than 200 percent in 2022, according to the annual figures from the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions. Museums and galleries in the U.K. reported an overall increase of 158 percent in footfall; heritage and cathedral sites followed with a 55 percent increase. (Museums Association)


Belgium’s AfricaMuseum Gets a New Director – Diplomat Bart Ouvry has been named head of the AfricaMuseum, whose contentious collection displays have often caused controversy due to Belgium’s egregious colonial history. He will leave his role as European Union ambassador to Mali to take up the role. (Le Journal des Arts)

Bracelet Donned by Dietrich Could Fetch $4.5M – A “Jarretière” diamond-and-ruby studded bracelet by Van Cleef & Arpels worn by Marlene Dietrich in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1950 film Stage Fright is hitting the auction block at Christie’s this June. Estimated to fetch up to $4.5 million, the bauble comes from the collection of Anne Eisenhower, granddaughter of the late president. (Robb Report)

Rachel Rossin Joins Magenta Plains – The mixed media artist, who has become a force in the realm of virtual reality has joined the gallery stable. Rossin’s work is currently on view in the Whitney Museum’s lobby as part of the exhibition Refigured. (Press release)


You Can Bring Ai Weiwei’s Middle Finger Anywhere – The Chinese  activist and artist’s famous digit is now available to superimpose anywhere on-the-go, thanks to the power of Avant Arte. The work riffs on Ai’s famous work Study of Perspective, and is on view as part of thea artist’s show at the Design Museum in London; screenprints of thea Ai Weiwei’s Middle Finger in Red (2023) are being sold for 24 hours on Avant Art’s platform starting March 30. (Press release)

Public submission. Courtesy

Public submission. Courtesy

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Four Artists Have Been Shortlisted for the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize. See How Their Works Unpack Themes of Identity and Power

Photographs tend to flatten—in multiple senses of the word—the subjects they depict. But do they have to?

The medium’s capacity for complex, multidimensional depiction is front of mind for Bieke Depoorter, Samuel Fosso, Arthur Jafa, and Frida Orupabo—the four artists nominated for this year’s prestigious Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize 2023. Their work is on view now in a show at the Photographers’ Gallery in London.

Now in its 27th iteration, the annual £30,000 ($36,000) prize recognizes outstanding photographic artworks or exhibitions presented in the preceding year. The winner, who will be announced in a ceremony set for May 11, will join an impressive list of previous recipients, including Deana Lawson (who won in 2022), Susan Meiselas (2019), Trevor Paglen (2016), and Paul Graham (2009). This year’s runners-up will each receive £5,000 ($6,000).   

Depoorter, a Belgian artist whose work often probes the power dynamics between photographer and subject, was chosen for her 2022 show “A Chance Encounter” at C/O Berlin. Among the two projects she presented there was Michael (2015-present), an installation that explores the inner life of a man Depoorter met on the streets of Portland, Oregon in 2015.

Last year’s career-spanning survey of Fosso at the Maison Européenne de la Photographie in Paris qualified him for the Deutsche Börse prize. For five decades now, the influential African photographer has turned his camera on himself, donning elaborate costumes for coded self-portraits that reflect on the performance of identity. 

A series of piecework photo-sculptures represents the contributions of Orupabo, who was nominated for her exhibition “I have seen a million pictures of my face and still I have no idea” at Switzerland’s Fotomuseum Winterthur. Using imagery culled from both colonial archives and contemporary picture-sharing platforms, the Norwegian Nigerian artist creates collages of black female bodies that are both dense and fragmented. 

Jafa, who rounds out the group of shortlisted creators, similarly draws from disparate sources for his own library of pictures, though how that material manifests in his work varies widely. The American artist’s 2022 exhibition “Live Evil” at LUMA in Arles, France featured photographs, sculptures, and large-scale installations, as well as signature films like The White Album (2018).

Arthur Jafa, Bloods II (2020). © Arthur Jafa. Courtesy of the artist and Gladstone Gallery.

This year’s four shortlisted artists were selected by a jury of five industry experts: Anne-Marie Beckmann, director of the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation; Natalie Herschdorfer, director of the Photo Elysee in Switzerland; Mahtab Hussain, an artist based in Britain; Thyago Nogueria, head of contemporary photography at the Instituto Moreira Salles in Brazil; and Brett Rogers, director of the Photographers’ Gallery.

“Our shortlist for the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize 2023 exemplifies photography’s resounding power and resonance right now,” said Rogers in a statement. “Each artist addresses subjects which drive forward debate about the nature of the medium, and the role it plays in history and society.” 

See more pictures from the 2023 Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize nominees below.

Frida Orupabo, A lil help (2021). Photo: © Frida Orupabo, courtesy of the artist and Galerie Nordenhake.

Samuel Fosso, Autoportrait (1976). Photo: © Samuel Fosso, courtesy of the artist and JM Patras.

Bieke Depoorter, We walked together, Portland, Oregon, USA (2015). Photo: © Bieke Depoorter/Magnum Photos, courtesy of the artist.

Samuel Fosso, Self-Portrait (Angela Davis) (2008). Photo: © Samuel Fossoc courtesy of the artist and JM Patras.

Arthur Jafa, Ex-Slave Gordon 1863 (2017). Photo: Andrea Rossetti, © Arthur Jafa, courtesy of the artist and Gladstone Gallery.

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Pussy Riot’s Nadya Tolokonnikova Is Curating an Auction of Feminist Works to Benefit Reproductive Healthcare

In honor of International Women’s Day on March 8, Pussy Riot cofounder Nadya Tolokonnikova is curating “My Body My Business,” a benefit auction of feminist works by women artists at Sotheby’s New York.

There is art by living legends such as Marina Abramović, Cindy Sherman, and Jenny Holzer, as well as younger artists such as Jen Stark and Sarah Meyohas, with estimates ranging from just $1,500 for a 1987 Sherman photograph to as high as $35,000 for Stark’s animated NFT Cosmic Bloom. Proceeds will support Planned Parenthood Federation of America and other organizations that provide sexual and reproductive healthcare, including abortion access.

“I spent two years in jail fighting for feminism in Russia, and it hurts me to see reproductive rights being taken away in the U.S.,” Tolokonnikova said in a statement.

The artist has previously raised money for the Center for Reproductive Rights through an NFT sale with TikTok star Salem Ilese’s viral song “Crypto Boy,” and for her own reproductive rights charity portal, LegalAbortion.Eth, through the Matriarchy Now project with Rolling Stone photographer Ellen von Unwerth. (The latter also has work in “My Body My Business.”)

Ellen von Unwerth, <em>Crash, New York</em> (2004). Photo courtesy of Sotheby's New York.

Ellen von Unwerth, Crash, New York (2004). Photo courtesy of Sotheby’s New York.

The Sotheby’s sale, which kicks off on March 7 and runs through March 14, is a collaboration between the auction house and Unicorn DAO, Tolokonnikova’s initiative to support Web3 art by women-identifying and LGBTQ+ artists, who make up only five percent of digital art sales.

Featuring both physical and digital art, the sale will offer NFTs by pioneering crypto artist Olive Allen and the Rewind Collective, which offered free art historically-inspired NFTs at a 2021 Christie’s sale of work by female Abstract Expressionists. Bridging the divide between the two realms will be a print by Nancy Baker Cahill titled Slipstream Series, Terrortory, which comes with an accompanying NFT.

To help the organization raise money in the crypto space, Planned Parenthood Federation of America has created its own crypto wallet, PPFA.eth, courtesy of the blockchain-based 501(c)(3) charity Endaoment.

Jen Stark, <em>Cosmic Bloom<em>. Courtesy of Sotheby's New York.

Jen Stark, Cosmic Bloom. Courtesy of Sotheby’s New York.

“In these unprecedented times, it’s essential for people to band together in support of sexual and reproductive health and rights—including abortion access,” Dawn Laguens, chief of global strategy and innovation at Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said in a statement, noting the support the organization has “received from leaders within the tech space.”

Though Pussy Riot is known for their performance art, Tolokonnikova is contributing a new sculptural work, Fragile Masculinity Genesis, of a candle in the shape of an eggplant emoji, to the auction.

The artist has also made a video, titled Nadya Means Hope, in which she wears a white balaclava and lights the candle. London’s Cultural Institute of Radical Contemporary Arts will screen the work on digital billboards in London, New York, and Los Angeles from March 8 through April 5.

Pussy Riot (Nadya Tolokonnikova), <em>Nadya Means Hope</em>. Photo courtesy of CIRCA, London.

Pussy Riot (Nadya Tolokonnikova), Nadya Means Hope. Photo courtesy of CIRCA, London.

The Sotheby’s auction takes its name from a neon pink light work by activist artist Michele Pred. She coined the titular phrase at former President Donald Trump’s inauguration in 2017, carrying a police body shield emblazoned with the words “My Body My Business.”

“We are in a state of emergency for bodily autonomy in this country,” Pred said in a statement. “It is urgent that everybody gets involved in reproductive justice by voting, donating their time (or money), and marching on the streets!”

Michele Pred, <em>My Pussy My Riot</em>. Photo courtesy of Sotheby's New York.

Michele Pred, My Pussy My Riot. Photo courtesy of Sotheby’s New York.

Pred and Tolokonnikova will be in conversation at a launch event for the sale Sotheby’s on Tuesday, March 7. And on International Women’s Day, Pred will be staging one of her participatory feminist art parades at the U.N. with Tolokonnikova and other activist artists.

They will also be launching a 48-hour Instagram auction for a collaborative work, My Pussy My Riot, one of Pred’s signature neon-illuminated handbags, with the light-up title phrase courtesy of Tolokonnikova. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the National Network of Abortion Funds.

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Artist Wangechi Mutu on Honoring the Spirit of the Natural World in Her Fantastical Works

Right now the New Museum has been transformed into an otherworldly scene, all thanks to Wangechi Mutu. Blending folklore and science in a striking manner, the artist’s big show gives us massive bronze sculptures of fantastical hybrid creatures astride sea creatures, surrounded by luminous works on paper depicting still more fantastical beings. It’s the first time that the museum has ever given its entire building over to a single artist. And it’s a tour-de-force for the Kenya-born Mutu.

“I’ve always been a city girl with a nature brain,” Mutu says in an exclusive interview filmed as part of Art21’s series Extended Play. “I’ve always loved animals, plants, and insects.” That much is clear, considering the figures that populate her imagery: attenuated female forms with faces of leaf fronds, the beings are celestial and yet literally sculpted from the earth, and rooted in it.

In the video interview, which originally aired back in 2021, the artist traces the themes of her artistic practice, which are informed by her childhood in Africa where she attended all-girls Catholic school. At school in the 1970s and ’80s, children were taught British history, but not the traditions, heritage, or culture of their own community. “We hadn’t even looked at our own histories,” she explained. “There isn’t one particular way of seeing things. And in fact, when there is a singular voice or singular story, it tends to be domineering, problematic, and often fictional.”

When Mutu moved to New York City to pursue her art, she began working in collage, drawing on source material like fashion and wildlife magazines to anchor her own watercolors. That early work led her to study the history of photography and consider how it grew on a parallel trajectory with colonization. “The ‘other’ was photographed, and packaged, and consumed,” she argues. “Your image essentially became who you were.”

And so, Mutu began to create other, alternate identities through hybridized forms “combining humans and animals.” That notion, she says is “as old as the human mind.” Through her unique blended forms, Mutu creates a world of multiple perspectives, histories, and futures—and it’s thrilling.


Watch the video, which originally appeared as part of Art21’s series Extended Play, below. “Wangechi Mutu: Intertwined” is on view at the New Museum in New York through June 4, 2023. 

This is an installment of “Art on Video,” a collaboration between Midnight Publishing Group News and Art21 that brings you clips of news-making artists. A new season of the nonprofit Art21’s flagship series Art in the Twenty-First Century is available now on PBS. Catch all episodes of other series, like New York Close Up and Extended Play, and learn about the organization’s educational programs at


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