News

  • Fake Modiglianis Wreak Havoc on Market

    Modigliani's works command vast sums at auction—his paintings have fetched as much as eleven million dollars, and his drawings half a million. But the provenance of his work is notoriously difficult to trace, in part because of the artist's habit of giving away drawings to pay his debts. The result, Georgina Adam writes in Forbes, is an “open invitation to forgers” and a chaotic situation for auction houses and art historians.

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  • Liverpool Named European Capital of Culture

    Liverpool has won the title European Capital of Culture for 2008, beating out a number of UK competitors including Oxford, Bristol, Cardiff, Birmingham, and the much-favored Newcastle-Gateshead. If the experience of previous winners is replicated, Paul Vallely writes in The Independent, the designation will create about fifteen thousand jobs and bring in 1.7 million extra tourists, who will spend 220 million pounds (360 million dollars).

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  • Man Charged in Paint-Hurling Incident

    A man has been charged with throwing paint over artwork by Turner Prize nominees Jake and Dinos Chapman, the BBC reports. Aaron Alexanda Barschak, 36, appeared at Oxford Magistrates' Court on Tuesday to face a count of criminal damage. He was accused of throwing red paint over the Chapmans' work The Rape of Creativity, which is on show at the Modern Art Oxford museum, on Friday while the artists were hosting a talk.

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  • Former Fox Employee Pleads Guilty in Smuggling Case

    News Channel technician pleaded guilty on Tuesday to smuggling paintings when he returned to the United States from covering the war in Iraq. Benjamin J. Johnson pleaded guilty in US District Court in Alexandria, Virginia, to one count of smuggling, Jerry Markon reports in the Washington Post. Federal authorities had listed the charge against Johnson in late April as one of five cases in which paintings and other objects were looted from Baghdad and brought into the United States.

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  • The Art Market According to Eli Broad

    During the biannual auctions in New York last month and in November, sales of artwork created after 1945 for the first time overtook or matched results of auctions of Impressionist and modern art. The shift is partly due to financier Eli Broad, one of a shortlist of major collectors who have recently made contemporary and postwar art one of the most competitive and lucrative segments of the art market. In a profile of Broad on the Bloomberg wire service, Tobias Meyer, the head of Sotheby's contemporary-art department, says, “People take him as an indicator of the market, a leader of the market.”

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  • Ground Zero Will Be Group Effort, Says Libeskind

    Ground Zero developer Larry Silverstein recently announced that he would seek a new architect to design at least one of the office buildings at the World Trade Center site, causing some observers to speculate that tensions were building between Silverstein and Daniel Libeskind. But in a Tuesday interview with the radio station WNBC, Libeskind was at pains to put this notion to rest. “The Seagrams Building by Mies van der Rohe, of course, was designed with Philip Johnson, and that's a great building. So it's developing; it's unfolding. . . . I always thought that it's very important for many

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  • Vivendi's Picasso Tapestry Has Trouble Finding Buyer

    Though Vivendi has already made twelve million dollars by putting the Seagram art collection on the block, it may be disappointed with the sale of the collection’s largest work (in terms of both proportion and price): the stage curtain that Pablo Picasso painted in 1919 for a Sergei Diaghilev’s ballet. In the New York Observer, Alexandra Wolfe reports that Christie’s has priced the twenty-two-foot-high tapestry, which has hung in a hallway at the Four Seasons restaurant since 1959, at eight million dollars. But sources familiar with the situation say that no one has expressed any interest in

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  • In Wake of Investigations, a “Change of Climate”

    In the Los Angeles Times, Paul Lieberman analyzes the effects of the recent prosecutorial investigations of art dealers and collectors. The government's increased scrutiny of business practices—and the criminal or civil charges that have resulted from it—may be having a significant impact on the attitudes of both buyers and sellers of art. Larry Gagosian's lawyer, for one, believes that “in the past months there's been a change of climate.”

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  • Are Museums Overly Protective of Their Art?

    Washington Post art critic Blake Gopnik believes it is possible that museums are actually too eager to preserve their art. In a conversation with Ned Rifkin, director of the Smithsonian's Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Gopnik explores the idea that “preservation, in a sense, has become fetishized to the point where it can detract from the art experience, rather than serving it.”

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  • Fischli & Weiss Versus Honda

    Swiss artists Peter Fischli and David Weiss may sue Honda for breach of copyright, Dominic Mills reports in The Telegraph. The duo assert that one of Honda's commercials copies elements of their 1987 film Der Lauf der Dinge (The way things are).

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  • Man Arrested After Hurling Paint at Turner Nominee

    The Telegraph's Nic Fleming reports that an unidentified man was arrested Friday night after throwing a pot of red paint over artist Jake Chapman, who, along with his brother Dinos, has just been nominated for this year's Turner Prize. Chapman was delivering a lecture at Modern Art Oxford, where the Chapmans' exhibition “The Rape of Creativity” is on view. According to a witness, an “oddly dressed man in a red beret” hurled the paint after giving a speech in which he protested the brothers' recent modification of a series of Goya etchings.

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  • Peter Lasko, Art Historian, Dies at Seventy-Nine

    Peter Lasko, who fled Nazi Germany as a child and grew up to head one of Britain's most prominent art institutions, died in France on May 18 at the age of seventy-nine, The Guardian reports. An art historian, he directed the Courtauld Institute from 1974 to 1985 and was a founding dean of the University of East Anglia's school of fine art and music.

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