How the New Heist Movie ‘Inside’ Turns Art Into a Thief’s Worst Enemy

Welcome to the Art Angle, a podcast from Midnight Publishing Group News that delves into the places where the art world meets the real world, bringing each week’s biggest story down to earth. Join us 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.

In a new feature film called Inside, an art heist goes terribly wrong for a thief named Nemo.

Nemo is played by the world-renowned actor Willem DaFoe, well-loved by the art world already for his performance in the 2018 film At Eternity’s Gate, where he played Vincent van Gogh.

In the ultra-contemporary plot of Inside, Dafoe’s character Nemo is not a world famous artist, he is a rather anonymous robber whos after a self-portrait by Egon Schiele. The artwork is not where it is supposed to be inside the ultra-modern penthouse he’s just broken into. Carefully laid plans seem to be going awry. Precious minutes are lost. Then, the alarm system locks down, leaving Nemo sealed off from the world while in the center of Manhattan. If you haven’t seen Inside yet, be advised that there are spoilers scattered throughout this episode.

So, Nemo is now stuck in a resplendent box of glass, steel, and concrete, with little more than some exotic fish, luxury furniture, and a multimillion dollar art collection. On-screen alone for practically the entire film, DaFoe’s character begins to battle against the degradation of his body and spirit—to deal with the latter, the artworks in the apartment become something like a central character, as does Nemo’s own blossoming creativity.

The artworks in the apartment, which were carefully curated, drive the plot and deepen the themes. There is a 1999 work by Maurizio Cattelan, a large photograph of a man taped to the wall with tons of duct tape, sarcastically titled A Perfect Day. There is also David Horvitz’s 2019 neon that hangs over the character’s struggle, with a sort of torturous prescience: it says “All the time that will come after this moment.” To build out the idea of a real art collection, there are more emerging stars. Kosovan artists Petrit Halilaj and Shkurte Halilaj’s work for the 2017 Venice Biennale is worn by Nemo when the penthouse’s temperature drops. And a video work by Julian Charrière and Julius von Bismarck from 2016, which was filmed at the exclusion zone surrounding the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, is among the artworks in the film that conjure questions around humanity, planetary survival, and climate crisis—which is an undercurrent theme of the movie.

On this week’s episode, European editor Kate Brown speaks to the film’s director Vasilis Katsoupis and art curator Leonardo Bigazzi about this captivating and claustrophobic feature, which had its world premiere at the Berlinale film festival last month and is about to hit theaters in the United States.


Listen to more episodes:

The Art Angle Podcast: The Triumphant, Tragic Life of Nazi-Era Artist Charlotte Salomon

The Art Angle Podcast: Hito Steyerl on Why the Metaverse Has Already Failed

The Art Angle Presents: How Three Artists Envision What a Goddess Means Today

The Art Angle Podcast: Hilma af Klint Pioneered Abstract Art. But That Is Only Part of Her Story

The Art Angle Podcast: What Is Afrofuturism, and Why Is It So Relevant Today?

The Art Angle Podcast: Marc Spiegler on the Evolution of the Art Business (and Life After Art Basel)

The Art Angle Podcast: Pussy Riot’s Nadya Tolokonnikova on Art, Activism, and Vladimir Putin

The Art Angle Podcast: What Can the Art World Learn From an Occult Practitioner?

Follow Midnight Publishing Group News on Facebook:

A Painting Fell Off the Wall and Went in for Conservation. Turns Out It’s a Long-Lost Rembrandt Worth Up to $240 Million

Art historians have discovered a long-lost painting by Rembrandt van Rijn in Rome.

The painting, The Adoration of the Magi, is believed to date from 1632 to 1633. Scholars had long believed that only copies of the picture had survived, including well-known examples in Gothenburg, Sweden, and St. Petersburg, Russia.

The work had long been in the collection of a family that had no idea it was a genuine Rembrandt, until 2016, when art restorer Antonella di Francesco took it in for repairs after it fell off a wall.

“It’s a thrill that has no equal,” Di Francesco said in a statement of the discovery.

Art historian Marco Mascolo unveiled the newly attributed painting at a Rembrandt symposium at Villa Medici in Rome.

Rembrandt van Rijn, <em>The Adoration of the Magi</em> (1632–33), detail. Courtesy of the Fondazione Patrimonio Italia.

Rembrandt van Rijn, The Adoration of the Magi (1632–33), detail. Courtesy of the Fondazione Patrimonio Italia.

During the restoration, Di Francesco cleaned away centuries of varnish to reveal the work’s original luminous colors, confirming her suspicion that it was a real Rembrandt.

“Finding a Rembrandt in Italy is not something that happens every day,” Guido Talarico, the president of the Italian Heritage Foundation, which organized the symposium, told the London Times.

The family that owns the work plans to keep it, but will lend it to museums and galleries, Talarico told CNN.

According to ANSA, an Italian news agency, the work’s potential value is between $83.7 million and $239 million (€70 million to €200 million). Rembrandt’s auction record stands at £20.2 million ($33.25 million) when a work by the artist sold in 2009 at Christie’s London, according to the Midnight Publishing Group Price Database.

The process of reconstruction. Photo: Rijksmuseum/Reinier Gerritsen.

The process of reconstruction of the trimmed edges of Rembrandt’s The Night Watch. Photo: Rijksmuseum/Reinier Gerritsen.

It’s been an exciting week for fans of the Dutch Golden Age artist, as the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam unveiled a recreation of Rembrandt’s The Night Watch using A.I. to recreate fragments of the massive canvas that had its edges trimmed over 300 years ago.

And last year, two possible new Rembrandt works came to light: one thought to be a copy owned by the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, and another at the Allentown Art Museum in Pennsylvania that was previously dismissed as a work by the artist’s workshop

Follow Midnight Publishing Group News on Facebook:

Sotheby’s Turns Its Staff Into Jewelry Mannequins as In-Sale Advertising Opens New Revenue Stream + 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 Tuesday, February 2.


The Louvre Has Launched Its Own Online Store – As lockdown continues to keep much of the public away from museums, the Louvre has launched an online store to tempt art fans to open their wallets from home. Offerings include a t-shirt from Uniqlo designed by Peter Saville featuring the Mona Lisa; a snow globe that holds JR’s famous installation on the building’s exterior; and a series of Swatch watches depicting famous artworks including Eugène Delacroix’s Liberté, égalité, fraternité. (Journal des Arts)

How Three Arts Leaders Are Living in Lockdown – Adam D. Weinberg, Shirin Neshat, and Ariana Rockefeller share what they are up to during the lockdown. Weinberg, the director of the Whitney Museum, has been reading The Freedom Artist by Ben Okri. Artist Neshat says she worked on finishing her film, Land of Dreams, which stars Isabella Rossellini, Matt Dillon, and Sheila Vand. And designer and heiress Rockefeller has been attending to her five horses in England. (New York Times)

UK Art Students Say They Are Being Pushed to Work Less – A higher education funding body, UK Research and Innovation, has asked students to adapt their doctoral projects and theses due to funding cuts caused by the coronavirus crisis. Now, some 770 academics have signed a letter criticizing the move. While the funding body says “the priority for students now is to… adjust research projects to mitigate the delays caused by COVID-19,” one student says that the body is instead asking students “to produce less rigorous and ambitious projects because they cannot offer us the proper funding or protections.” (The Art Newspaper)

Emmett Till’s Chicago Home Is Now a Landmark – The house of Emmett Till, who was brutally murdered in 1955 at 14 years old after being falsely accused of whistling at a white woman, has been declared a historic landmark by Chicago’s city council. Till’s mother, Mamie Till-Mobley, continued to live in the apartment at 6427 S. St. Lawrence Avenue until 1962. Blacks in Green, a local nonprofit, purchased the property last year and plans to transform it into a museum. (Hyperallergic)


Is Product Placement the Future of Art Auctions? – Last week’s Old Masters sale at Sotheby’s was padded with product placement from a sponsor: luxury jeweler Bulgari. During the event, auctioneer Oliver Barker mentioned that he was wearing a watch by the brand and specialists were decked out in Bulgari earrings, necklaces, and brooches. In a way, the partnership makes sense: Sotheby’s is streaming into scores of rich people’s houses. It’s better than advertising on Hulu. (The Art Newspaper)

Derek Fordjour Heads to David Kordansky – The acclaimed painter has joined the roster at Los Angeles-based David Kordansky. The gallery will present a new, monumental piece by Fordjour online in April and a solo exhibition in spring 2022. The artist will continue to be represented by Petzel gallery in New York. (ARTnews)


Influential Stedelijk Museum Curator Dies – Rini Dippel, a former longtime curator and deputy director of the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, has died. Dippel, who was born in 1931, worked at the museum for more than two decades and organized shows by Richard Serra, Ellsworth Kelly, and Gilbert & George. (ARTnews)

Taipei Museum Names New Director – The Taipei Fine Arts Museum has named artist, curator, and educator Jun Jieh Wang as its new director. She replaces Ping Lin, whose abrupt resignation followed criticism from city officials of political content in an exhibition she co-curated at the museum in October. Wang currently serves as associate professor at the Department of New Media Art at Taipei National University of the Arts. (Art Asia Pacific)

The Gwangju Biennale Pushes Back Opening  South Korea’s major art exhibition will push back from its original opening date of February 26 to April 1. It will still close, as planned, on May 9. (That’s a pretty short run for all that work!) (ARTnews)


Martine Syms Will Host a Museum’s Podcast – Looking for a new podcast (other than the Art Angle, of course)? The Carnegie Museum of Art is launching a weekly mini-series called Mirror with a Memory. The six-part podcast will be hosted by American artist Martine Syms and will explore the intersections of photography, surveillance, artificial intelligence, and society. Artists Sondra Perry and Stan Douglas will be among the guests. (Press release)

Tony Cokes Lights Up London – Throughout February, artist Tony Cokes will bring his text-based works to the large billboard at London’s Piccadilly Circus. With 4 Voices / 4 Weeks, Cokes will present his own interpretation of words from singer John Lydon, theorist Judith Butler, civil rights hero John Lewis, as well as Elijah McClain, a 23-year old Black man who died from a chokehold at the hands of police in 2019. (Press release)


Follow Midnight Publishing Group News on Facebook: