A Fraud Expert at Sotheby’s

Sotheby’s has hired James Martin, a scientist and fraud expert who has worked with the FBI for two decades on significant cases related to counterfeit art, to start a scientific research division within the auction house. Martin recently aided Sotheby’s in determining that a Frans Hals’ painting sold to a collector was a “modern forgery”.
Martin has taught at the Smithsonian’s Museum Conservation Institute, the Getty Conservation Institute, and the FBI’s Counterterrorism and Forensic Science Research Unit.

And the Turner Prize goes to…

The 2016 Turner Prize has been awarded to Helen Marten. Having studied at Central Saint Martins in London and the Ruskin School of Art at the University of Oxford, Marten has staged solo shows at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, Fridericianum in Kassel, Germany, and CCS Bard Hessel Museum in New York, among other venues.  In a statement, the jury said that Marten’s work has “poetic and enigmatic qualities which reflect the complexities and challenges of being in the world today.”

Picasso’s works hidden in a garage

A retired French couple has been given a two-year suspended sentence for stashing 271 works by Picasso in their garage for at least four decades.The value of the formerly unknown drawings, collages, and sketches – created between 1900 and 1932 – is estimated between $62 million and $104 million.The works will now be handed over to Claude Ruiz-Picasso, the artist’s son. In 2010 the couple contacted Picasso’s heirs to verify the authenticity of the works. The heirs then filed a complaint against them for receiving stolen goods, as statue-of-limitations for theft had already expired. Until then, the couple had stored the works in paper boxes in their garage in Mouans-Sartoux.

Book of van Gogh’s sketches is a fake?

After van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, said that the drawings in the book Vincent van Gogh, the Fog of Arles: The Rediscovered Sketchbook (2016) were fake, the publisher, Le Seuil, along with the owner of the sketches, are threatening to sue the museum. The book’s author, Bogomila Welsh-Ovcharov, said the museum never properly examined the sketches – they based their claim on photographs of the works instead of the ten originals she brought to the museum for their perusal. The parties behind the book are also questioning why the museum should have final say on what is or isn’t an official van Gogh.

Mobile photos exhibited

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York is inviting 24 artists to conduct exchanges with one another through their phones, sending images back and forth “in a game of visual ping-pong”. The resulting photographs will be presented in the exhibition Talking Pictures: Camera-Phone Conversations between Artists (June 2017-January 2018). The images will be presented digitally, on video monitors and touchscreens, and as more traditional prints.

Jean Fisher passed away

The UK-based arts critic and educator, best known for her writings on contemporary art and essays on the themes of colonialism, imperialism, and globalization in Ireland, Native America, the Black Atlantic, and Palestine, has died at the age of 74. Fisher taught fine-art studio practice and cultural studies at numerous institutions and contributed to numerous publications. She wrote an anthology titled Vampire in the Text: Selected Essays on Contemporary Art (2003). Beginning in the early eighties, she wrote features and exhibition reviews for Artforum, covering various artists such as James Coleman, Hans Haacke, Anselm Kiefer, Louise Lawler, Keith Piper, and Yinka Shonibare.

A new director for Artissima

Torino’s contemporary art fair, has announced that curator and art historian Ilaria Bonacossa was named director of the next three editions. She succeeds Sarah Cosulich, who is stepping down after five years. Previously, she served as curator at Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo in Torino from 2002 to 2009. Since 2012, she has been the artistic director of the Public Museum for Contemporary Art Villa Croce in Genova. She has also been responsible for the Artist Pension Trust in Italy.

Protest again artistic nudity in India

Members of two right-wing groups in India came to the Jaipur Art Summit, a five-day festival in Rajasthan, to protest a polyptych on display that shows four women topless. The London-based painter Radha Binod Sharma, who made the piece, was injured and intimidated in an attack led by the protesters, according to a volunteer at the summit. The attackers were from Lal Shakti, a women’s organization, and Rashtriya Hindu Ekta Manch (RHEM), whose leader, Pandit Vijay Shankar Pandey, was arrested by authorities shortly after the incident.

Foundation for emerging artist closed in NY

New York’s ISE Cultural Foundation, a nonprofit organization established in 1984 to promote emerging and under-represented artists and curators shut its door permanently. In an open letter, director Tomi Ise cited a sudden decision made by the foundation’s headquarters in Tokyo as the reason for the closure.
The Foundation was known for presenting projects such as the “Asian Art Series,” which focused on introducing Asian artists to US audiences; the “Program for Emerging Curators,” an open call for curators worldwide to present exhibitions; and its “Art Student Exhibition” and “ISE NY Art Search” programs.

Led Design Team to light up London’s bridges

A team led by US artist Leo Villareal has won the Illuminated River design competition for creating a public installation that will light up seventeen bridges along the Thames River in 2017. The team includes lead consultant Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands, curator Future\Pace, Atelier Ten, Beckett Rankine, Bradley Hemmings, Core Five, Futurecity, Greenwich+Docklands International Festival, Montagu Evans, Pentagram, and Price & Myers. More than one hundred teams in twenty countries submitted proposals for the permanent light installation.

Silvia Meloni

Featured image: Helen Marten, Limpet Apology (traffic tenses) (2015). © The Artist, courtesy Sadie Coles H.

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