This Week’s 10 Most Important Art News Stories

Artsy Editorial
Dec 18, 2015 11:00PM

Catch up on the latest art news with our rundown of the 10 stories you need to know this week.

Self-portrait of Benjamin Giorgio Genocchio, 2010. Photo by George Chernilevsky, courtesy of Benjamin Genocchio.


Benjamin Genocchio has been named the new executive director of The Armory Show, taking over after Noah Horowitz stepped down from the position in July. Genocchio, who founded artnet News and currently serves as the site’s editor in chief, will take his new post in January.  “Unfortunately, the price of success is opportunity,” Genocchio told the Times of his new post. “It’s the pre-eminent art fair in New York City — the largest, best, most international...I’m attracted to the challenge of fulfilling that potential.” (via the New York Times)


Sotheby’s has announced buyouts of five percent of its 1,600 international employees—80 workers in total. The buyouts were offered in an effort to become more cost efficient. The auction house states that the amount of buyout volunteers will allow the company to circumvent layoffs in the coming year. (via the New York Times)


Christie’s Hong Kong’s fall sales results decreased by more than 20 percent from last year. The auction house grossed HK$1.6 billion ($206.4 million) this year, as opposed to HK$2.07 billion ($267 million) from the same fall sales in 2014. (via The Financial Times)


In the next in a growing list of plagiarism lawsuits against Jeff Koons, photographer Mitchel Gray is claiming that Koons used his 1986 photograph “nearly unchanged and in its entirety” for his work I Could Go For Something Gordon’s (1986). The print sold for $2.04 million at Phillips London in 2008. Gray is also suing the auction house and the former owner of the work. (via Reuters)


A report from the New York state controller’s office found that New York City’s push for more arts education in public schools is seeing positive results. With the help of an extra $23 million in this year’s budget, 95 percent of students completed mandatory arts classes in 2014, a jump from the roughly 50 percent in 2011. Director of research and policy at Center for Arts Education Doug Israel says, “All the data shows students are more engaged when they have arts as part of the school day curriculum.” (via Daily News)


Using the example of China’s “million dollar mastiffs,” the Economist illustrates the ways in which Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign is affecting the luxury market in the country. Xi’s efforts have had an effect on the country’s tradition of gift-giving by making conspicuous consumption suspicious politically, leading to a drastic decrease in the market for all luxury goods—from mastiffs to jade to art. (via the Economist)


Maria Alyokhina, a member of Pussy Riot, is planning on opening a women’s-only museum. The New Balkan Women’s Museum will be located in Montenegro, with a mission of creating a space “for women, by women, about women.” With only female curators and administrators on staff and displaying work only by female artists, the museum will attempt to take on the longstanding gender inequality present in the art world. (via The Independent)


Christie’s New York will be stopping standalone sales of Russian art. This comes after a sharp decline in sales this year; the four most recent Russian art sales at London auctions houses brought in at total of $25.9 million, down 58% from last year—and the lowest since 2007. Many attribute this decline to Russia’s recent economic turmoil. An anonymous individual also leaked that Mark Moehrke will be leaving his position as Christie’s head of Russian works of art department. (via Bloomberg)


Fakhri El-Ghezal, Atef Maatallah, and Ala Eddine Slim, three Tunisian artists, have been fined 1,000 dinars (around $500) and sentenced to one year in prison after having been falsely suspected of terrorist activity. About a month ago, the three artists were at Slim’s house when 15 armed police officers stormed in with a search warrant for the suspicion of terrorist activity—citing El-Ghezal’s “suspicious” bag and Maatallah’s beard as evidence. Finding nothing, the police arrested the artists for marijuana use. (via Le Monde)


Artistic director of Also Known As Africa Timothée Chaillou announced his resignation, after not having been consulted by the fair’s director before she decided to cancel the inaugural edition following the attacks in Paris. The first edition of the new fair focusing on contemporary African art and design will take place in November 2016. (via The Art Newspaper)

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Artsy Editorial