Sindika Dokolo, a key African art collector who earlier this year faced widespread allegations of corruption, has died at 48. Outlets based in Angola, where Dokolo was based, reported that he died after suffering an embolism while diving in Dubai.

Within the African art world, Dokolo had been considered a towering figure who was leading a fight to repatriate looted objects in Europe and helping kickstart a market on the continent. But a scandal in January tainted that reputation, leading various figures in the international art scene to attempt to distance themselves.

In 2020, Dokolo and his wife Isabel dos Santos, who Forbes has ranked as two of the richest people in Africa, were the subject of an investigation following the leak of 715,000 emails and documents showing how dos Santos built an empire worth $2 billion. That cache of documents, known as the Luanda Leaks, revealed that … Read the rest

Upon the sudden death of Remedios Varo in 1963, her peer André Breton noted that death made the painter “the sorceress who left too soon.” It was a fitting way of bidding goodbye to Varo, whose faith in magic, mysticism, and the power of nature inspired her fantastical, allegorical work. She died at the height of her success—her posthumous retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in Mexico City in in 1971 surpassed attendance records at the institution for shows by Diego Rivera and David Alfaro Siqueiros.

In death and life, Varo was defined by her Surrealist associations. After fleeing her native Spain, the French poet Benjamin Péret introduced her to the Parisian avant-garde crowd, whose members she exhibited and studied alongside. Varo worked within a psychoanalytic framework, but her approach left little to accident or automatism. She was a meticulous architect of dreamscapes, planning well in advance the Read the rest

As cultural institutions in parts of Brazil begin to reopen, the Fundação Bienal de São Paulo announced that it would stage a new in-person exhibition in November that is related to its larger group biennial show postponed until next fall.

The new show, titled “Vento” (“Wind” in English), will run from November 14 to December 13 at the biennial’s traditional home, the Pavilhão Ciccillo Matarazzo in São Paulo’s Parque do Ibirapuera. The exhibition will be free to the public but will require visitors to book tickets in advance.

“Vento” will feature a group of 21 artists, including 10 artists who have just been added to the biennial exhibition. They are Alice Shintani, Ana Adamović, Eleonore Koch, Gala Porras-Kim, Jacqueline Nova, Koki Tanaka, Luisa Cunha, Melvin Moti, Musa Michelle Mattiuzzi, and Paulo Nazareth, who will stage a streamed performance in the pavilion on November 13. Other artists included in “Vento” are … Read the rest

On Wednesday, Art Basel launched the second iteration of its revamped digital fair, “OVR,” which features six-work presentations from 100 galleries. In its first wholly digital endeavor, the fair placed a focus on work made in 2020. For this edition, named “OVR:20c,” Art Basel has spotlighted art made in the 20th century.

“Art Basel, as an entity within the art world, is known not just for contemporary work but also for historical work,” Marc Spiegler, Art Basel’s global director, told ARTnews of the digital experiments that have replaced the now-canceled main Swiss fair. “I’ve always felt that the historical material is important in terms of grounding the contemporary material, and the contemporary material is important in making the historical work feel topical.”

This second version of Basel’s online concept saw sales trickle in more slowly compared to its counterpart in September. In both editions, mega-galleries like Hauser & … Read the rest

In a shocking last-minute move, the Baltimore Museum of Art has “decided to pause” its plans to sell three works from its collection with Sotheby’s, according to a press release. The news was announced by the Maryland institution just two hours before two of the works were expected to hit the auction block in New York.

In a release, the museum said that the decision was made following “a private conversation between the BMA’s leadership and the Association of Art Museum Directors,” a prominent industry group that offers recommendations about deaccessioning. Previously, members of the BMA’s leadership had staunchly defended the plan in the face of a mounting outcry that resulted in a call for a formal investigation and the resignation of two board members.

The museum had previously planned to sell works by Brice Marden, Clyfford Still, and Andy Warhol; the Marden and the Still abstractions were to be … Read the rest

Frederick Weston, the New York artist, performer, and fashion designer whose elaborate collages interrogated the media’s representation of New York’s Black and queer communities, died last week at age 74 from cancer. The news was confirmed by arts nonprofit Visual AIDS, of which Weston had been an active member of the group after his HIV-positive diagnosis.

Weston was a dedicated archivist of mass media representations of men, amassing binders of magazine advertisements, paper ephemera, and fabric which he stored in his longtime Chelsea apartment and studio. (“Hoarding is about ownership and attachment. They really train us to be consumers,” he once said.) In addition to magazine clippings, his intricate and eye-catching collages were culled from photography prints, fabric swatches, food packaging—anything that could be duplicated with a Xerox machine.

“My whole practice really is about the way that men look, men comport themselves and the way that men pose,” Read the rest

Amid economic fallout resulting from the pandemic, many institutions are selling works from their holdings in order to raise capital for the care of their collection. The practice, known as deaccessioning, has been undertaken in recent weeks by the Brooklyn Museum of Art, the Everson Museum of Art in Syracuse, New York, Newfields in Indianapolis, and, most notably, the Baltimore Museum of Art, whose controversial plan to sell $65 million in art have become the subject of national news.

There are no official laws guiding deaccessions in the United States, but most museum officials adhere to guidelines set in place by industry groups like the Association of Art Museum Directors, which has recently relaxed its rules in order to alleviate the economic strain of the pandemic on institutions. Yet even though the AAMD’s leadership has made it clear that deaccessioning could be necessary under certain circumstances, some … Read the rest

The artist collective Frankfurter Hauptschule claims to have stolen one of Joseph Beuys’s 1985 Capri Battery works from an exhibition in Oberhausen, Germany. According to a report by the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, the group says that they have given the artwork to a museum in Tanzania as part of a “symbolic act of restitution to the former German colony.”

In a video posted to YouTube, Frankfurter Hauptschule appears to document the heist, which the group claims took place on October 18. That video also includes footage of them transporting the work to Tanzania’s Iringa Boma museum. The group has titled their campaign “Bad Beuys go Africa,” and a description accompanying the video states that the Beuys work is now on permanent display at that institution.

“The museum, which is located in a former military hospital of the German colonial rulers, now displays the ‘Capri-Battery’ alongside traditional objects … Read the rest

In March, at the start of what would become a global lockdown, Los Angeles–based artist Patty Chang emailed a Google survey to residents in the city, soliciting lists of their personal fears.

“Personal, global, societal, mundane, or profound,” the survey read. “Everything is valid. Just write down quickly any thoughts that come to your head.” The dozens of responses that Chang received went into the latest iteration of Milk Debt, an ongoing video project based on collective fear—and by extension, fear’s frequent companions of dread, despair, and uncertainty.

In May, with a scheduled solo exhibition postponed by the pandemic, Chang and the 18th Street Arts Center in Santa Monica, California, streamed a preview of the new piece online. The 10-minute clip featured a Zoom call with an unidentified blonde performer who, opening her palm-leaf printed robe, attaches a mechanical milk pump to each of her bare breasts.

As the … Read the rest

To get the backstory behind buyers and sellers in Christie’s Paris and London October evening sales, read Colin Gleadell’s detailed Art Market Monitor report available to AMMpro subscribers.

On Thursday, Christie’s brought in a total of £90.3 million ($118 million) with buyer’s premium across four sales at its Paris and London headquarters. In the auction series, titled “20th Century: London to Paris,” the house deployed the live-streamed format, with Christie’s France president Cécile Verdier and its Europe president Jussi Pylkkänen at the helm.

The total hammer price was £77.9 million ($101.9 million), landing at the low end of the pre-sale estimate of £76 million ($99.4 million). With premium, the sales generated a total £90.3 million ($118.4 million), achieving a solid 84 percent sell-through rate.

Still unable to host large live audiences, auction houses have engineered new set-ups that focus attention on the bidding dynamic across specialists and auction staff—which acts … Read the rest