Artist Pension Trust Hit with Complaints, Feds Sell Unique Wu-Tang Album, and More: Morning Links for July 28, 2021

Artist Pension Trust Hit with Complaints, Feds Sell Unique Wu-Tang Album, and More: Morning Links for July 28, 2021

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The Headlines

JUST HOW PRECARIOUS IS LIFE AS AN ARTIST? In the L.A. Artist Census, created by artist Tatiana Vahan, 95 percent of 2,000 respondents said that they did not make a living wage through their art practices, and 40 percent said they could not afford or had difficulty accessing healthcare. Los Angeles Magazine has delved into the project. Unsurprisingly, when the Artist Pension Trust  launched in 2004 with the idea of pooling artworks from well-regarded artists and selling them over time to generate payouts for all, many were honored to participate. However, New York Times investigation reveals that many are exasperated about how it actually worked out . . . or didn’t work out. “I really trusted it—it’s very alarming to me what’s happening,” Marc Swanson said.

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THE ARTNEWS LEGAL BLOTTER IS JAM-PACKED TODAY. A Eugène Boudin beach scene, purchased at a London flea market, has been identified as a piece that was stolen in 1990, and a search is underway for its rightful owner, the Swindon Advertiser reports. A New York court ruled against Michael Steinhardt, an ARTnews Top 200 Collector, in his suit against Manhattan’s Hirschl and Adler gallery, in which he argued that it should have paid him more when it sold his Gilbert Stuart portrait of George Washington for $12 million, Artnet News reports. And the family of artist Peter Max, who is reportedly suffering from dementia, is continuing to duel in court, the New York Post reports. Son Adam Max has sued his sister Libra Max  for control of their father’s company, alleging he has been wrongly cut out of the decision-making process. A lawyer for Libra called the suit “warmed over milk and meritless.”

The Digest

More legal news—in criminal court. Veteran art dealer Douglas Chrismas was arrested for allegedly embezzling more than a quarter million dollars from his Ace Gallery in Los Angeles while it was in bankruptcy. Chrismas has pleaded not guilty. A September trial date has been set in federal court. [Press Release/Department of Justice]

In 2024, Christie’s will move its Asian headquarters into four floors of a Zaha Hadid Architects–designed building in Hong Kong. It is a vote of confidence in the future of business in the city, which has experienced political upheaval in recent years. [Art Market Monitor/ARTnews]

Alibaba cofounder, Brooklyn Nets owner, and ARTnews Top 200 Collector Joseph Tsai snapped up two huge apartments on neighboring floors of 220 Central Park South in Manhattan (plus a studio apartment that may be for staff) for $157 million. [New York Post]

The digital artist Qing Han—who worked under the name Qinni—died in 2020, but inauthentic NFTs have recently appeared on the market, in the latest example of how unregulated the token market is. [Wired]

As UNESCO’s marathon meeting marches on, the onetime Rio de Janeiro home of landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx was awarded World Heritage Status. [Associated Press]

Here’s a look inside the Malibu, California home where artist Hunter Biden is living with his family and working out of a converted three-car garage. [New York Post]

The Kicker

WU-TANG IS FOR THE CHILDREN—and for paying forfeiture judgments, apparently. The U.S. Department of Justice said that it sold the only copy of the 2015 Wu-Tang Clan album Once Upon a Time in Shaolin, which was seized from pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli  after he was convicted of fraud. The price was not disclosed, but it seems to have gone for $2.2 million, according to a lawyer for Shkreli. The attorney told the New York Times that her client (who paid $2 million for the album) said he was “pleased with the sale price and RIP ODB.” According to the Associated Press, Shrekli is scheduled to be released next year.

Thank you for reading. We’ll see you tomorrow.Wu-Tang

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