Is the mastermind behind QAnon’s bizarre messianic sequel really a performance artist? + Other stories

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Art Industry News is a daily digest of the most important developments in the art world and the art market. Here’s what you need to know this Monday, March 22.

NEED TO READ

The disaccession debate divides the leaders of the American museums – The topic of desacession has moved from the background of the museum realm to the fore during the pandemic, as arts institutions across the United States grapple with growing revenue losses. It has also divided the industry’s leading progressive organization, the Association of Art Museum Directors, and even prompted some to question the value of the organization itself. In place since 1916, the AAMD charges high fees and is overseen by a 21-member board that helped bring about a change in the opt-out rule in the pandemic era without first checking with all of its 221 members. (New York Times)

Düsseldorf returns the painting seized by the Nazis – An 18th-century landscape painting by Johann Christian Brand was returned to the heirs of a Jewish family who owned it during World War II. Otto and Julie Klein had their work seized and resold at a foreclosure auction at the Dorotheum. The painting has been in the Düsseldorf municipal art collection since 1940. (ARTnews)

Is QAnon’s heir an artist? – A group called Hope Not Hate claims to have identified the person behind the Sabmyk Network conspiracy group, which targets QAnon followers. The brain behind this, the group claims, is a Berlin-based artist named Sebastian Bieniek. As proof, they cite the fact that Bieniek’s 1999 work aligns with a description of the figure of the “messiah” Sabmyk. One article said Sabmyk had “17 V-shaped scars” on his arm as a result of a “prophetic ceremony at the age of 24,” which lines up with a performance Bieniek did at that age . (Guardian)

Museums in Poland and Germany close (again) – Museums across Poland and parts of Germany have once again closed their doors as the latest wave of the pandemic forced local authorities to reimpose lockdown restrictions. Polish museums reopened on February 1 and must now remain closed until at least April 9. Hamburg’s museums have also been asked to close, after the German government allowed the museums to reopen on March 8. (The art journal)

ART MARKET

Sotheby’s joins forces with the English sole for the sale of rare sneakers – Sotheby’s has just launched an auction dedicated to the rare Nike sneakers called “Scarce Air” in partnership with the English Sole sneaker store. An unmatched sample of Kanye West’s Nike Air Yeezy 2 would cost between $ 40,000 and $ 60,000. The auction continues until Monday, March 29. (Highsnobiety)

Old Master Dealer becomes NFT – Amsterdam-based dealer Aronson Delftware has released two sets of five NFTs based on ‘digital twins’ of a 17th century Delft vase which is also for sale. The digital versions have a minimum reserve of ETH 1 (around £ 1,300) and were made using 3D scanning technology. The original of the work is on sale for € 125,000. (BRONZER)

COMES AND SHARES

BBC Arts Decamps editor-in-chief for the London Barbican – Longtime BBC art editor Will Gompertz is stepping down after 11 years to travel to the Barbican Center in London as the new director of arts and learning. (Guardian)

The director of the Palm Springs Art Museum leaves after a short stint – Louis Grachos resigned from his post after almost two years. He will travel to New Mexico as executive director of the contemporary art organization SITE Santa Fe, a position he held from 1996 to 2003. (Los Angeles Times)

FOR ART SAKE

Process of Rohingya survivors through art – New York-based nonprofit, Artolution, is deploying art as a humanitarian tool in the wake of the Rohingya genocide at the hands of the Myanmar government. Survivors work on murals and artwork that can be installed on hospital walls or around camps, spreading educational and uplifting messages. (NYT)

Shakespeare’s effigy is actually very precise – It is now believed that a sculpture carved above Shakespeare’s tomb in Holy Trinity Church in Stratford-upon-Avon was made by someone who knew the famous playwright personally, rather than having been installed from years after his death, as previously believed. New research suggests tomb maker Nicholas Johnson made the piece; his studio was a short walk from the Globe Theater, where Shakespeare’s plays were often performed. (Guardian)

A bust of the English playwright William Shakespeare (1564-1616) forming part of the Shakespeare Memorial in Holy Trinity Church, Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, August 1997 (Photo by RDImages / Epics / Getty Images)

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