Art Industry News: Did Membership in a New York Cult Contribute to the Demise of Jackson Pollock? + Other Stories



California Universities Fail to Meet Restitution Requirements – A state audit has revealed that in the three decades since a 1990 federal law established a process for the repatriation of Native American remains or cultural heritage, less than half of California’s 21 campuses have complied. Twelve did not take the initial step of reviewing their collections, and just 6 percent had actually restituted any objects to their original tribe. ()

American artist John Dugger Has Died – The itinerant artist has died at 72. He travelled extensively and was known for his avant-garde and highly political artworks and interventions. Most notably, he constructed the People’s Participation Pavilion at Documenta 5 in 1972 and founded the Banner Arts Studio in 1976, dedicated to the textile art form that came to define his practice. ()

A New Book Connects a New York Cult With the Demise of Jackson Pollock? – Alexander Stille, author of a new book that came out last month called , has suggested there is a connection between Pollock’s untimely death and the Sullivan Institute, a cult based in the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Encouraged by art critic Clement Greenberg to join the group, which was known for encouraging drinking and sexual freedom, Stille suggests Pollock’s membership contributed towards his alcoholism and infidelity to Lee Krasner. He died in a car crash in 1956. (, )

Artist Hsiao Chin Has Died – The Chinese-born pioneer of post-war abstraction in China has died at 88. He lived and worked in Europe for over six decades, fusing Western modernist movements with Eastern spirituality. He died peacefully on June 30 at a hospital in Taiwan, his London gallery confirmed in a press release. () 


The First Van Gogh Buyer Gets Her First Solo Show – The Mu.ZEE modern art museum in Ostend, Belgium, is shining a spotlight on Belgian avant-garde artist Anna Boch with the new exhibition “Anna Boch, an Impressionist Journey.” It includes 96 paintings by the artist—the only woman in the Belgian artist group Les Vingt (The Twenty)—including an interior scene in which Boch included one of her two Van Gogh paintings, . The Dutch artist infamously sold just one painting——before his death by suicide, and Boch was the buyer. ()

More Layoffs in the Art Industry – Amid fears of an art market downturn, there has been a spate of layoffs at a number of prominent companies, including 35 staffers at Artsy—15 percent of its staff. Sotheby’s and LGDR have also reportedly made cuts, and there has been a great deal of staff turnover at online sales platform LiveArt. (, )  

Half of Stolen NFTs Sold Within 3 Hours A report by blockchain security firm PeckShield found that if you are the victim of an NFT theft, you need to move quickly if you want to reclaim your art, as half of all stolen NFTs are resold within three hours. In more positive news, thieves only made off with $2.27 million worth of NFTs in June 2023, an 85 percent decrease from the high of $16.2 million this February. ()

Skarstedt Gallery Hires New York gallery Skarstedt has made two big hiring moves, snagging LGDR’s Françoise de Saint Phalle as sales director, and Sotheby’s veteran George O’Dell, most recently executive vice president of LiveArt, as senior sales director. (The Canvas) 


Murals Celebrate the 125th Birthday Magritte The city of Brussels is commemorating what would have been Magritte’s 125th birthday on November 21 this year by commissioning eight major murals as part of a new open-air exhibition. These tributes are inspired by the Surrealist’s best-known paintings and are the handiwork of French street artist Julien de Casabianca. ()

Pedestrians walk in front of a mural reproduction of Rene Magritte’s work painted by artist Julien de Casabianca in Brussels. Photo: NICOLAS MAETERLINCK/BELGA/AFP via Getty Images.

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