The Best and Worst of the Art World This Week

Rubells Make a Move to D.C. – The taste-making Rubell family of art collectors are expanding their private museum to Washington D.C.

Take the Money and Run – An artist received $84,000 from a Danish museum to make new work, and instead he took off with the cash and called it conceptual art.

Underground Museum Announces Inaugural Prize – The Los Angeles institution has awarded three curators with a $25,000 prize named for founder Noah Davis.

Former Fashion Designer Gets Gallery Rep – The long-acclaimed designer Martin Margiela has become a bona fide artist, and will now show with Zero X gallery at FIAC in Paris.

A New Class of ‘Geniuses’ – The MacArthur “Genius” grants were announced this week, with painter Jordan Casteel, curator Nicole R. Fleetwood, and artist Daniel Lind-Ramos among the honorees.

Snoop Dogg Goes On an Art Shopping Spree – The rapper bought $17 million worth of crypto art under the amusing moniker “Cozomo de Midici.”

Prado’s Makeover Approved – Spain has given the greenlight for a long-awaited $42 million expansion of the famous Madrid museum.

Float Like a Butterfly, Paint Like Picasso – A cache of Muhammad Ali’s original artwork is hitting the auction block, where it’s expected to set a new record.

New Museum’s New Award – The downtown Manhattan museum announced the creation of a new $400,000 commission award for female sculptors.

The Restoration of the Pieta A museum in Italy is conserving Michelangelo’s famous macabre sculpture, and letting the public see into the process.

A New Platform for NFTs – Gallerist Vito Schnabel teamed up with cyberlord Gary Vee to create new platform for selling NFTs.

A Monumentally Bad Track Record – A new report from the Philadelphia nonprofit Monument Lab revealed that 42 of the most-memorialized figures are white men, many of them slave owners.

Sotheby’s Loses Bid to Overturn Lawsuit – A judge denied the auction house’s attempts to dismiss a suit claiming it “fleeced” New York taxpayers.

Will Hong Kong Artists Flee? – The National Security Law in Hong Kong continues to exert pressure, causing many to fear an artistic exodus.

The National Gallery’s Rubens Gaffe – Turns out that the London museum’s prized painting by Peter Paul Rubens is a fake, at least according to new A.I. resarch.

Serial Thief Sentenced – An art thief who made off with $20 million of Van Gogh and Frans Hals works was sentenced to eight years in prison.

Critics Rail Against Bootylicious Italian Sculpture – A new public sculpture in Italy is drawing criticism for the female figure’s highly toned posterior.

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The Best and Worst of the Art World This Week

Get Intelligent! – The fall 2021 edition of the Midnight Publishing Group Intelligence Report is here! With new technology trends, K-Pop collecting habits, plus the best party galleries, it is a must-read.

Libras Unite – Art meets astrology in our new series helmed by Katie White, and this month it’s dedicated to the season of the seventh sign.

Roxane Gay Talks Art – On our 100th (!) episode of the Art Angle, writer Roxane Gay speaks to Midnight Publishing Group News’s Noor Brara about the deeply moving paintings of Calida Rawles.

What’s in a Hat – A bicorn hat donned by the infamously diminutive emperor Napoleon Bonaparte just fetched a whopping $1.4 million at Sotheby’s this week.

Kerry James Marshall’s Stained Glass – Kerry James Marshall was tapped to create racial justice-themed stained-glass windows to replace the Confederate images that once adorned D.C.’s National Cathedral.

A Benin Bronze Barter – A guild of Nigerian artists has proposed a new way to get their native Benin Bronzes back from the U.K: offering their own works to the U.K. in exchange.

Basquiat’s Bartender Buddy – Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat gave a cocktail recipe book to his favorite mixologist, adorned with personal inscriptions. Now, it’s going up for sale.

Tracey Emin Comes Home – After defeating cancer, the British artist has returned to her hometown to cement her legacy and build a museum.

Basel Is Back – Despite scores of setbacks, Art Basel’s flagship fair in Switzerland was in full swing this year, boding well for the rest of the year’s market calendar.

Picasso’s Daughter Trades Art for Taxes – In lieu of paying an inheritance tax, the artist’s daughter just donated nine works to France’s Picasso Museum.

Frida Portrait Could Break Records – Frida Kahlo self-portrait estimated at $30 million could smash records for a female artist when it comes to auction at Sotheby’s.

Longtime Gardner Heist Suspect Dead at 85 – Bobby Gentile, long suspected by the FBI of orchestrating the notorious museum robbery in Boston, has died—perhaps taking the truth with him to his grave.

NFT Exec Nabbed for Insider Trading – An executive at OpenSea was busted for insider trading, and now has stepped down from his role.

The Met’s Big Sell-Off  – Taking advantage of a pandemic-era loophole, the museum is deaccessioning seven figures worth of photos and prints to fill a budget shortfall.

Bouvier Beats Billionaire’s Charges – A prosecutor dismissed criminal charges against Yves Bouvier levied by Dmitry Rybolovlev, ruling the dealer committed no fraud or money laundering.

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The Best and Worst of the Art World This Week

The Met Meets American Fashion – The long-awaited Met Gala took place in September this year, and we’ve got all the celeb-art lookalikes from the red carpet.

Art History Prof Makes Mega Discovery – An art history professor visiting a church in Westchester spotted a canvas that is now being hailed as a rare Italian Baroque painting.

Philadelphia Museum Carries Out Czech Restitution – The Philadelphia Museum is returning a looted ancient “pageant shield” to the Czech Republic.

A Triumph at the Arc de Triomphe – The Parisian landmark has been swathed in fabric, fulfilling the posthumous dream of artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude.

Judd Foundation Jumps Ship – In a major market merry-go-round move, the Donald Judd foundation has left David Zwirner for Gagosian Gallery.

Porcelains Shatter Estimates – A Sotheby’s auction of restituted Meissen porcelain far exceeded expectations, raking in $15 million.

Germany Gives Aid – As part of a $35 million aid package, cultural institutions will now get help in recovering from the summer’s historic floods.

White Male for Sale at Christie’s – Artist Dread Scott is selling video art as an NFT depicting a white man on a slave auction block.

Stonehenge Gets a Makeover – For the first time in decades, Stonehenge will undergo a major restoration of toppled and cracked stones.

Outcry Squashes Indigenous Women Statue – Artist Pedro Reyes has stepped away from a project to replace a Christopher Columbus statue with one of Indigenous Women after activists said a woman should have the job.

You Can Buy a $3 Million Avocado Sculpture – An artist is selling a gilded sculpture of avocado toast, a symbol of the millennial lifestyle, for $2.9 million.

Beeple Gets the Immersive Art Treatment – Beeple’s $69 million NFT artwork is set to star in an immersive experience—with a whopping $150 entrance fee.

History Sold to the Highest Bidder – An Osage cave containing prehistoric art was sold for $2.2 million at auction, in a “heartbreaking” act.

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The Best & Worst of the Art World This Week

Wealthy Women Spur Market Recovery – Art Basel’s market report reveals that high-net-worth millennial women are fueling the gallery recovery.

Art Fair Fare – The first major IRL art fair is happening now in New York, and sales were swift at the Armory Show’s opening day.

Sotheby’s Nabs Macklowe Trove – The auction house won the rights to sell the divorcing couple’s more than $600 million art collection.

Basel’s Big Fund – In an effort to quell nerves ahead of its Swiss edition, Art Basel created a “solidarity fund” as a safety net.

Twenty Years On – On this week’s episode of the Art Angle, four artists who had residencies in the Twin Towers reflect on how 9/11 shaped their art and lives.

A Magical Armory Experience – At this year’s fair, a witch channeling the spirit of Hilma af Klint is reading tarot cards.

Silicon Valley Backs Art Institution – San Francisco is getting a new contemporary art venue that will emphasize diversity.

Iron Age Discovery – A rookie metal detectorist literally struck gold, and the stunning trove is now on view at a Danish museum.

Christopher Columbus Replaced – Artist Pedro Reyes is designing a new monument in Mexico City featuring Indigenous women; it will replace a 150-year-old statue of Columbus.

Removing Robert E. Lee – The largest Confederate statue in Richmond, Virginia, has been dismantled and removed from sight, marking a milestone for the country.


Bannon Ousted From Italy – At long last, Steve Bannon’s far-right school has been evicted from the 800-year-old monastery it inhabited.

House Oversight Lead Demands Receipts – Representative James Comer is urging Hunter Biden’s art sales to be made public.

M+ Museum Removes Ai Weiwei Work – The Hong Kong-based museum took down Ai’s infamous Tiananmen Square photograph as it awaits government review.

Another Art Fair Bites the Dust – Paris’s local Salon Galeristes called off its event for October, even as some larger fairs barrel ahead.

Hedge Fund Titan Trumps Turkey – A judge ruled that businessman Michael Steinhardt, and not the nation of Turkey, owns an ancient Stargazer idol.

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From a Sudden New Super-Gallery to Drake and Damien Hirst’s Odd Album Art: The Best and Worst of the Art World This Week

Shredded Banksy Makes a Pricey Return The infamous Banksy painting that self-shredded at auction in a Sotheby’s auction in October 2018 is returning to the auction house this fall—with a now-quadrupled low estimate of $5.5 million. 

Virginia Gets the Greenlight The state can now finally take down a Confederate monument of Robert E. Lee after a ruling against two lawsuits that sought to block its removal.

A New Museum for Uruguay  One of Uruguay’s more prominent artists is bankrolling the creation of the country’s first contemporary art museum and is slated to open in the beginning of 2022. 

Arthur’s Stone Excavated Archeologists have found the original form of Arthur’s Stone, an ancient stone structure that inspired C.S. Lewis’s “Chronicles of Narnia.”

Bank of England Bids Portraits Good Riddance  – The Bank of England has removed 8 paintings and 2 busts depicting former directors connected to the Slave Trade. 

Rule of Two? Johanna Burton has been named executive director of L.A. MOCA, a new position that will essentially split the duties of Klaus Biesenbach, the museum’s current director.

The Met Uncovers a Hidden Neoclassical Portrait Conservators at the Met discovered a hidden composition under Jacques Louis David’s portrait of famed chemist Antoine Laurent Lavoisier and his wife. While the final painting pictures the pair as liberal leaders of science, the earlier composition had presented the two as self-satisfied nobles. Talk about rebranding!

A Duped Banksy NFT Collector Refunded by Scammer A scammer with a heart of gold returned $336,000 to a digital art collector who bought a fake Banksy NFT. 

Gallery Tetrarchy Forms in the Upper East Side Lévy Gorvy, Salon 94, and Amalia Dayan have consolidated power to form a new gallery which shall be called… LGDR.

Michelangelo Left (Literally) Small Shoes to Fill? Undoubtedly a giant of art history, Michelangelo might actually have been petite in stature. Researchers in Italy have estimated his height based on studies of the Renaissance artist’s shoes. 

Bored Apes, Explained  Midnight Publishing Group News Pro columnist Amy Castor explains just what the “Bored Ape Yacht Club” is and why people are paying big money for ape avatars at auction (hint: it involves a secret serum). 


The Monuments Men Call Out the MFAHIn an op-ed, Head of the Monuments Men foundation Robert Edsel lays out the case that the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston should return an artwork in its collection that was once purchased by the Nazis.

Hard Times in the Big EasyWhile New Orleans museums and cultural organizations escaped the worst of Hurricane Ida’s damage, ongoing power outages pose lingering threats.

A Battle for Equitable Arts Funding Rattles D.C. –  Zachary Small reports that the cultural sector in Washington, D.C., is turning in on itself, with institutions and activists at odds. 

Guggenheim Bilbao Debuts a Head-Scratching Rap Video This week the Guggenheim Bilbao dropped a rap video in the hope of raising funds to repair its Jeff Koons puppy sculpture: “It’s the ‘P’ with the ‘U’ with the ‘P’ with the ‘P’ with the ‘Y.’ So please don’t kill my vibe.” God help us, it’s been in our heads all week.

Drake’s Bizarre New Album Cover Designed by Damien Hirst –  When Drake revealed the album art for his forthcoming “Certified Lover Boy” designed by Hirst, Twitter users went wild with speculations over the odd emoji-centric composition.

An Immersive Banksy Show Opens in New York (to the Artist’s Chagrin)  Brian Boucher headed to “Banksy: Genius or Vandal?” to give us the lowdown on the latest (unauthorized) immersive experience.

Auctions Go Into Orbit – Ben Davis digs into the burgeoning, dubious movement to take art auctions into outer space.

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