Fake Art Heists and Big Ceramic Dicks: Last Week in Art

Also, Banksy is getting his largest-ever exhibition in Rome, and the CIA and Steve Martin have great art collections.

by Sami Emory
May 23 2016, 12:20pm


A lot went down this week in the weird and wild world of Art. Some things were more scandalous than others, some were just plain wacky—but all of them are worth knowing about. Without further ado:

+ Inspired, he says, by the City of London's bankers and traders, the ever-entertaining Grayson Perry created a giant glazed ceramic penis. [The Standard]

+ Banksy's largest ever art exhibition, titled War Capitalism and Liberty, is coming to Rome. The show features over 120 works from throughout his career that explore issues of war, consumerism, and politics. Banksy is not involved. [Hypebeast]

+ Inside the CIA's fine arts collection. [NPR]

+ YouTube prank squad "Trollstation" has been jailed after faking an art heist at the National Portrait Gallery in London. [The Creators Project]


+ BMW modeled the design of their new i8 Futurism Edition from a 1909 Giacomo Balla painting, Street Light. [The Verge]

+ Russian dissident artist Pyotr Pavlensky was found guilty by a Moscow court on counts of vandalism for his 2014 pro-Ukraine protest-performance, Freedom, where he set fire to car tires in Saint Petersburg. [Art Forum]

+ Pavlensky was also beaten by a guard on his way back to jail from the court hearing. The attack allegedly broke several ribs: as the artist wrote in a letter to his partner, later posted on Facebook, "Every breath gives me pain." [Art Forum]

+ Google's "Art Camera" snaps ultra-high resolution gigapixel images of art, bringing the details of masterworks into focus. Invented by Google's Cultural Institute, the Art Camera (so far) provides access to 1,000 artworks from a myriad of artists housed in art institutions across the globe. [Google Blog, The Creators Project]


+ Dominque Lévy and Ella Fontanals-Cisneros are two of the latest art world A-listers implicated by the Panama Papers. [Artnet News]

+ Damien Hirst had a Jeff Koons show at his London Newport Street Gallery. [The New York Times]

+ Jessica and Ashlee Simpson star in the pop photography of their dad Joe Simpson's show, Dream Works[The Creators Project]

+ A model of an Algerian fortress, crafted out of couscous, stands in the Guggenheim museum courtesy of artist Kader Attia. The work, Untitled (Ghardaïa) is part of the museum's current show, But a Storm Is Blowing from Paradise: Contemporary Art of the Middle East and North Africa. [Read our coverage of the show here.]


+ The Palestinian Museum opened last week sans exhibitions. The reason: the museum's long anticipated inaugural show has been suspended due to a disagreement between the museum's board and its director. [The New York Times]

+ Greenpeace activists shut down the British Museum for four hours during their protest of the oil corporation BP's sponsorship of the museum's new exhibition, Sunken Cities. The activists scaled the museum and hung seven banners highlighting recent climate change disasters from the museum's façade. [Greenpeace, The Independent]

+ On the other side of the world, Brazilian activists occupied buildings at the country's culture ministry to protest the government's decision to eradicate the ministry and its funding. [Artdaily]

+ $70,000 worth of Joan Miró works were auctioned off by the artist's grandson to benefit refugees via the Red Cross. [Hyperallergic]


+ A 1,600-year-old Roman shipwreck was found by divers, along with ancient artifacts including delicate figurines, bronze lamps, and life-size statues. [The Science Explorer]

+ Missing sculptures that had been housed in Berlin museums before World War II were identified in the collection at Moscow's Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts. [ABC News]

+ A professor in South Carolina has solved a 13-year-old, multimillion-dollar art heist. [Fox News]

+ Starting June 3, you can tour Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney's West Eighth Street studios, where the contemporary artists of the age were given a chance to exhibit and sell their work in a progressive and formative venue. [The New York Times]

+ Turns out, Steve Martin has a kick-ass collection. [Artnet News]


Did we miss any pressing art world stories? Let us know in the comments below!


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