Art Industry News is a daily digest of the most consequential developments coming out of the art world and art market. Here’s what you need to know on this Friday, August 20.
Is a Sopranos-Like Family Behind the Spectacular Dresden Art Heist? – GQ takes a deep dive into the clan families that steer high-stakes crime in Germany—including spectacular museum heists. The Remmo family is rumored to be a suspect in the 2019 Dresden jewel heist, in which thieves broke into the Green Vault museum and made off with over $1 billion worth of jewels. The robbery of a massive gold coin from the Bode Museum in Berlin some years earlier can also be traced to Berlin clans—which run rackets, drug and prostitution rings, and carry out robberies wild enough for the movies (instead of cutting open a vault, for example, they threw it off the top of a building). (GQ)
China Pushes Tibet to Adopt Its ‘Cultural Symbols’ – Culture can be used as a powerful tool for peacemaking—but it can also be used as a weapon. As China tightens its hold on Tibet, a top official from the country said that “all-round efforts” would be necessary to make sure Tibetans speak Chinese and share the “cultural symbols and images of the Chinese nation.” A high-ranking official, Wang Yang, made the remarks at the Potala Palace in Lhasa at a ceremony marking the 70th anniversary of the Chinese invasion of Tibet. (AP)
Inside Steve Cohen’s Palatial New Florida Estate – Billionaire art collector and Mets owner Steve Cohen is adding to his already substantial real estate portfolio with the purchase of a $21.6 million mansion west of Delray Beach in Florida. He joins a number of top art-world and finance figures expanding their presence in south Florida. The 31,000-square-foot, seven-bedroom estate includes a saltwater pool, a hair salon (?), and a two-lane bowling alley. (The Real Deal)
What’s Kanye Doing With That Damien Hirst? – Kanye appears to have wiped his Instagram clean, but according to a report in The Sun, he recently posted an image of Damien Hirst’s The Incomplete Truth, a dove in a vitrine that was previously owned by George Michael and sold as part of his estate at Christie’s in 2019 for £1 million. The newspaper assumed Kanye was the buyer and suspects the work may appear in the cover art for his new album, Donda. There are a lot of assumptions in there, so we’ll stay tuned. We’ve heard Kanye is more of a Louise Bourgeois guy. (The Sun)
MOVERS & SHAKERS
The French Art Market Is Blooming – France’s art market, which received a boost amid Brexit, is continuing to climb. Christie’s reports sales of €205 million in the the country in the first half of 2021, an increase of around 141 percent over the preceding six months. Both Christie’s and Sotheby’s reported that private sales in France have grown exponentially, though they declined to provide specific figures. (FAZ)
Uffizi Diffusi Heads Out Across Italy – This summer, the Uffizi Galleries launched a decentralized art program designed to bring masterworks to small towns and villages across Tuscany. To start, Castagno d’Andrea, the birthplace of painter Andrea del Castagno, received a restored fresco by its native son depicting the poet Dante Alighieri to mark the 700th anniversary of Dante’s death and the 600th anniversary of the artist’s birth. In the wake of the loan, the town saw its tourism sharply increase—while the Uffizi got to give stage time to works usually kept in storage. (New York Times)
FOR ART’S SAKE
This Twitter Account of A.I. Art Is Delightful – The open-source, machine-learning Twitter account Images Generated by A.I. Machines (@images_ai) creates peculiar, dreamy, and sometimes odd art that is delighting its fast-growing number of followers. (The account has secured 45,000 followers in less than three months.) To generate the images, the musician behind the account inputs a written prompt (say, “Art Deco Buddhist temple”) and the system, mimicking the information processing of a human brain, comes up with a picture that best suits the words. (New Yorker)
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