Here are some more debates and controversies that spanned in the art world this year.
Scammers of Art World Got Their Due
Art scams have become a trope in their own right – largely due to the high stakes involved. But 2021 saw many art scammers getting their due. In July, German art dealer Angela Gulbenkian was sentenced to 3.5 years in prison. Gulbenkian had made a deal worth $1.4 million for a Yayoi Kusama pumpkin sculpture, which she neither possed nor delivered to her client. Another scammer, artist Christian Rosa, was arrested in Portugal in December. Rosa is accused of selling forged paintings in the name of artist Raymond Pettibon, who was also his mentor. Another notorious name who got his due was swindler Inigo Philbrick. Philbrick was arrested in early 2020 on the charges of wire fraud and identity theft but pleaded not guilty in a US court. However, last month, he confessed to wire fraud and agreed to return $86.7 million along with some artworks.
Hong Kong’s Loss, Seoul’s Gain
For a long time, Hong Kong was the hub for the art market in South-East Asia. With China’s increased assertion in the semi-autonomous city, things changed fast. The new security law curbed freedom of expression, including the creative freedom of artists. The most recent development was the dismantling of Pillar Of Shame in a Hong Kong university by guards.
Amidst this, the art world found greener pastures in Seoul, South Korea. Many galleries are already announcing new spaces in the city, and many international art fairs are scheduled for 2022. It seems like Hong Kong’s loss was Seoul’s gain after all.