Fairs, Forgeries and Slashed Canvases

This week’s art world news includes Frieze fever in New York, some embarassing French forgeries and familial vandalism.

This week New York welcomed Frieze art fair, which, in its seventh edition, contains 190 galleries from a total of thirty countries. For the first time ever, this iteration of the fair has a themed section, curated by White Columns director Matthew Higgs. For Your Infotainment honours late art dealer Hudson and his New York– and Chicago-based gallery Feature Inc, by showcasing some of the artists who had history with the gallery.

Takashi Murakami, Gagosian, Frieze New York 2018. Photo by Mark Blower. Courtesy of Mark Blower/Frieze.
Takashi Murakami, Gagosian, Frieze New York 2018. Photo by Mark Blower. Courtesy Mark Blower/Frieze

At the Brooklyn Museum on Sunday, activist group Decolonise This Place staged a protest calling the museum out for what they termed a “non-response” to their open letter proposing a “decolonisation commission” that they made earlier this month, after the museum’s hiring of a white woman, Kristen Windmuller-Luna, as the consulting curator for African art. The commission included a list of demands, such as “the undertaking of a de-gentrification initiative to examine and mitigate the museum’s role in boosting land value and rents in the borough”, and “the replacement if board president David Berliner and other trustees who are real estate tycoons with a broad cross-section of community organizers”. Brooklyn Museum director Anne Pasternak has since released a statement in which she says “please know that every day the Brooklyn Museum is working to advance these efforts and its longstanding and widely recognized commitment to equity in all its forms, including race, class, gender and sexual orientation”.

Scotland Yard have begun working with the British Museum and the governments of Egypt and Sudan in an effort to root out pharaonic antiquities that have been looted. Pieces that are currently circulating on the art market or have been in private collections since 1970 will be inputed into a publicly available, 80,000 strong, database of objects. The system will not identify whether pieces are looted, but, according to Marcel Marée, the British Museum curator overseeing the project, it will “make the market more transparent”.

In southern France there were revelations for the Musée Terrus, which was obliged to hand over more than half of the works in its collection to the police, after experts claimed they were not by Étienne Terrus, but forgeries. The inconsistencies were initially spotted last August by art historian Eric Forcada, who had been called in to do a revamp of the museum’s displays following new acquisitions. The damages are estimated at €160,000.

Unexpected details have transpired in the case of the Christopher Wool canvas that was mysteriously slashed by a hat-and-sunglasses-wearing vandal in Opera Gallery, Aspen during May last year. According to police and court documents, Nicholas Morley, the son of the painting’s owner, travelled from London to Colorado on 1 May with the sole intention of destroying the artwork. Two days after the incident, Morley was seen at the airport returning to London. Since the incident, Morley’s father has sent a letter to the gallery arguing that they could repair the piece and perhaps “even put it up for sale now for $3.5 million on the basis it is famous”.

Susan Hiller, London Jukebox, 2008-2018. Photograph by Todd White.
Susan Hiller, London Jukebox, 2008-2018. Photograph by Todd White

A major new fund called Artists For ArtAngel has been set up, with works donated by big name artists such as Wolfgang Tillmans, Roni Horn, Susan Hiller and Taryn Simon. The fund is intended to support the ArtAngel commissioning agency, known for projects including Roger Hiorns’s Siezure and Rachel Whiteread’s House on Grove Road, by raising a target of £2.4 million. A number of the works included will be on show in an exhibition on Cork Street in London from 7 June.

Header photo by Mark Blower. Courtesy Mark Blower/Frieze

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