Art Critique

Is the art world’s #MeToo reckoning coming?

A group of Pennsylvania art institutions, including the Philadelphia Museum of Art, are struggling to contain a scandal which might have lingering ramifications for the global art world. The drama escalated last month, when the New York Times shared the claims of multiple women, who reported that Joshua Helmer, the 31-year-old former manager at the […]

Art in the time of coronavirus

Amid growing panic over the rapid spread of the coronavirus, some of Italy’s most famous museums are shuttering their doors. From Turin to Venice, seven northern regions have been directed by Rome to close their museums. At the same time, the cultural ministry has revoked free entry to state museums nationwide. The Italian art world […]

Saudi Arabia’s artistic whitewash part of a well-trodden tradition among autocrats

The latest iteration of the site-specific art installation festival Desert X is currently underway in Al Ula, Saudi Arabia – but not without controversy. Normally associated with the barren wastelands of the Coachella Valley and Palm Springs in California, the festival relocated to the UNESCO World Heritage site in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia this […]

The emperor has no clothes: the scams and swindles driving up art prices

For many, the headline-making stunt Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan pulled at Art Basel Miami this year—Cattelan duct taped a banana to a blank white wall, called it “Comedian”, and sold it for $120,000—crystallized the problems with how art is valued. After Jeff Koons’s Balloon Dog shattered records in 2013 to sell over Christie’s auction block […]

Gulbenkian case highlights authorities’ failure to pursue art fraud

International art fraud is once again under the spotlight with the news that London Metropolitan Police have issued a warrant for the arrest of Angela Gulbenkian, a former high-society art heiress who failed to show up in court to answer accusations over the fraudulent sale of a Yayoi Kusama sculpture. Hong Kong-based art consultant Mathieu […]

Why should the art world be concerned about the prevalence of export bans?

Five years after he dramatically attempted to smuggle a rare Pablo Picasso painting out of Spain, Jaime Botín— the ex-president of Spanish financial institution Bankinter—has been sentenced to three years in jail and lumbered with a €91.7 million fine. The hefty punishment marks a significant increase over Botín’s already substantial sentence of 18 months and […]

The Long Game: how Wolfgang Beltracchi conned the art world

Former art forger John Myatt—who in the 1980s forged hundreds of “masterworks” and fenced them to institutions as venerable as London’s Tate Gallery—recently told reporters that in his opinion, pulling off such a scheme is “just as easy today”. Recent events would seem to prove Myatt’s point. In late 2019, Prince Charles’s charitable foundation was […]