Art Industry News: Groundbreaking Experimental Filmmaker Kenneth Anger Has Died at 96 + Other Stories

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NEED-TO-READ

Inside the Basquiat Forgery Scandal – Former Artnet News columnist Nate Freeman shares the wild tale behind the Basquiat scandal that unraveled last year at the Orlando Museum of Art. Auctioneer Michael Barzman has been accused of forging multiple works by the famous street artist. The collection of art was too good to be true, but the museum fell prey to the pressure to produce a blockbuster. () 

Tate Britain Rehang Divides Critics – Tate’s major rehang has not won the critics’ hearts and minds. Jackie Wullschlager notes successful moments but laments how that is set against “problematic selections prioritizing subject over quality and a self-righteousness regarding the past.” Jonathan Jones is even less keen: “today’s Tate Britain is where art goes to sleep,” he wrote. “That’s largely because it is committed to a worthy view of art. It isn’t the ideals I object to but rather the stultifying fact that when you insist on art’s moral value, you make it predictable and dull.” () ()

Kenneth Anger Has Died – The groundbreaking experimental filmmaker died on May 11 in Yucca Valley, California at age 96. Best known for his 1963 film , Anger’s small but celebrated body of work gained international representation from Spruth Magers in 2009. The gallery told press that Anger’s death announcement had been delayed while “matters involving Mr. Anger’s estate were being put in order.” (New York Times) 

Lawsuit Over Jointly Owned Anna Weyant – An unnamed collector represented by Aaron Richard Golub has brought a lawsuit against the collector Andre Sakhai. The claim, first filed in February, alleges while that the purchase of an Anna Weyant work was split three ways (costing around $200,000 each), profits from the art being flipped were pocketed by Sakhai. Given that Sakhai was moving funds under two companies he owns, Aiden Fine Arts and The Art Collection (collectively described as AFTAC), the case illuminates how shell companies in the art world can pave the way for shady business practices. ()

MOVERS & SHAKERS

London’s Vagina Museum Finds New Home – Thanks to a fundraising drive, the museum has raised £85,000 (around $105,000), allowing for its relocation to a new site in East London. A Go Fund Me helped the museum reach its goal, and the new location will include three gallery spaces and an events area. (Evening Standard)  

Looted Sword Fetches $17 Million at Auction – An Indian sword sold at Bonhams in London set a new record for an Islamic and Indian object, fetching more than $17 million, slashing the presale high estimate of just $2.5 million. The 18th century weapon belonged to the Muslim ruler Tipu Sultan, also known as the Tiger of Mysore, and was taken by British soldiers serving as troops for the East India Company and later presented to Major General David Baird. (The Art Newspaper)  

Maxwell/Hanrahan Foundation Announces 2023 Awards – The second annual awards given by the San Francisco-based foundation for craft practitioners. The awardees—Adebunmi Gbadebo, Aspen Golann, BLain Snipstal, Leo Tecosky, and SHane R. Hendren—each received $100,000 in unrestricted funding. (Press release)

FOR ARTS SAKE

Alfredo Jaar Installs One Million Passports in Germany – The Chilean-born, New York-based artist and architect’s exhibition of one million German passports displayed behind a high-security glass wall is a commentary on the current debates around immigration and naturalization in Germany and beyond amid humanitarian crises including the war in Ukraine and migration policies. The number of passports refers to the number of individuals who were welcomed into the country in 2015 under chancellor Angela Merkel; as well as the number of people who voted against Merkel, for the right-wing AFD party. The work is dedicated to the late curator Okwui Enwezor, who once wrote of that Jaar’s work “represents one of the most developed commitments by a contemporary artist in the blatant embrace of the structural link between ethics and aesthetics, art and politics.” ()

Alfredo Jaar, "One Million German Passports" (2023). Photo: Ulrike Myrzik. Courtesy of Pinakothek der Moderne.

Alfredo Jaar, “One Million German Passports” (2023). Photo: Ulrike Myrzik. Courtesy of Pinakothek der Moderne.

Alfredo Jaar, "One Million German Passports" (2023). Photo: Ulrike Myrzik. Courtesy of Pinakothek der Moderne.

Alfredo Jaar, “One Million German Passports” (2023). Photo: Ulrike Myrzik. Courtesy of Pinakothek der Moderne.

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