Basquiat smashes world records for art

A painting by late US artist Jean-Michel Basquiat has smashed several art market records after it sold for US$110.5 million (£85.4 million) at auction at Sotheby’s New York on Thursday night (18 May).

The untitled work from 1982, which depicts a face in the shape of a skull rendered in oil stick, acrylic and face paint is the most expensive work by any US artist to have sold at auction. It also marks a new record for a work by Basquiat, is the highest price ever paid for an artwork by an African-American artist and is the sixth most expensive work ever sold at auction. Continue reading

Museums raided by anti-oil activists in week of protest

Tensions ran high at three major museums last week as activists took to creatively campaigning against oil-sponsorship of the arts and cultural institutions.

Security staff at the BP-sponsored British Museum confiscated bow-ties, wigs, waistcoats, flyers and cardboard signs from forty performers from campaign group BP or not BP before they staged a “rigged gameshow” called “Who Wants to Pay a Billionaire?”. Continue reading

Tempers flare over Damien Hirst ‘copy’ of African art

Once again UK artist Damien Hirst has found himself in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons. The bad-boy of British art has been accused of plagiarising an ancient Nigerian brass artwork in his show at the Venice Biennale. “Golden Heads (Female)” features in Hirst’s exhibit “Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable”, which is on display at the Palazzo Grassi and the Punta della Dogana museums during the Biennale.

Nigerian visual artist Victor Ehikhamenor says Hirst’s piece copies a classical African artwork found in 1938 in Ife, Nigeria without properly crediting the original Ife craftsmen. “He just made an imitation of this art”, Ehikhamenor said in an interview. “I really found that it was dishonest that something like that is going on”. Continue reading

Kardashian lumped with lawsuit over Instagram snap

A UK-based photo agency has filed a lawsuit against Khloe Kardashian for posting a picture of herself on her Instagram account.

The complaint brought by Xposure Photos Ltd in the Central District of California at the end of April 2017 relates to an image captured by photographer Manual Munoz and licensed to The Daily Mail newspaper. Kardashian is alleged to have shared the photo of her and sister Kourtney dining at a Miami restaurant on Instagram on 14 September 2016 after editing out the copyright management information.

Xposure claims that by sharing the image with her nearly 67 million Instagram account followers the reality-TV star undercut the agency’s potential profits from its licensing agreement with The Daily Mail and the sale of the photograph elsewhere. Continue reading

Brexit Banksy shows EU all cracked up

Street art depicting a workman chiselling away at the European Union flag has been confirmed as the work of enigmatic graffiti artist Banksy.

The three-story mural appeared on Sunday morning (7 May) on a building beside the A20 near Dover’s ferry terminal. It depicts a monochromatic worker atop a ladder, which leans against an enormous EU flag. As he hammers away at one of the flag’s 12 stars hairline cracks begin to appear across the flag’s surface. Continue reading

Tax bill surprise coming down the line for “non-dom” art collectors

Billionaire art collector Roman Abramovich was probably hoping the proposed changes to taxation law affecting UK “non-doms” were an April Fool’s joke. Yet the rules, which are expected to hit prominent UK art collectors who reside abroad for tax purposes, are all too real. Originally due to come into effect on 6 April this year, the reforms have now been delayed because of the upcoming election, but remain in the pipeline.

Under the proposed laws, “non-doms” who have been resident in the UK for at least 15 of the past 20 years but have a permanent home abroad would be considered UK domiciled for tax purposes. The changes would mean that non-doms such as Abramovich could be liable to pay tax on any art they sell even if it is held outside the UK. Continue reading

Cornelia Parker is the official artist of election 2017

A Turner prize-nominated artist whose creations have included fragments of a garden shed blown up by the British Army has been selected as the official artist for the 2017 election.

Sculptor and Royal Academician Cornelia Parker is the first female election artist to be chosen by the Speaker’s Advisory Committee on Works of Art. She will receive a £17,000 commission fee plus travel expenses to enable her to observe the electoral campaign leading up to the vote on 8 June 2017 and produce a work of art about it. Continue reading

UK Museum of the Year finalists announced

The finalists in the competition for the world’s biggest museum prize were announced on Thursday (27 April).

Five contenders are vying for the Art Fund’s UK Museum of the Year, which awards £100,000 annually to an outstanding UK institution, which has shown “exceptional imagination, innovation, and achievement”. The remaining four finalists receive £10,000 each in recognition of their achievements. Continue reading

Art world to debate global treaty on artists’ royalties

An international conference due to be held in Geneva on Friday (28 April) could pave the way for a global roll-out of the controversial Artist’s Resale Right (ARR).

Organised by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), the conference will see policy makers, artists, collective management organisations, academics, gallerists and auction houses gather to debate the effectiveness of the ARR to increase artists’ incomes. Attendees will discuss the potential for a future multi-national treaty to level the playing field in the international art market. Currently, the ARR applies sporadically throughout the world. Continue reading