Art Industry News: 10 Women Accuse Berlin Art Dealer Johann König of Sexual Misconduct in Explosive Investigation + Other Stories

Art Industry News is a daily summary of the most important developments in the art world and the art market. Here’s what you need to know this Thursday, September 1.


Former Orlando Museum Trustees Speak Out – Former directors of the Orlando Museum of Art say they were kept in the dark about the FBI’s interest in their Basquiat show, which was full of fakes. Several say they only learned after the works were seized that the museum had received a subpoena before the opening of the exhibition; when they called a meeting to raise concerns about the conduct of the director and board chairman, they were fired via previously unenforced term limits. (Orlando Sentinel)

Meta launches NFTs on Instagram and Facebook – The social media giant started testing NFT features on all platforms this week. Some US users can now connect their digital wallets to Instagram and Facebook and publish their NFTs, identifying creators and collectors. Ethereum and Polygon are the supported blockchains, but there are plans to include Solana and Flow down the road. Third-party wallets from Rainbow, MetaMask and Trust Wallet are supported; Coinbase, Dapper and Phantom wallets are expected to launch later. (ART news)

Johann König faces charges of sexual misconduct – German journalists have spoken to ten women who have alleged various instances of sexual misconduct by heavyweight German art dealer Johann König. According to the report, König (who runs outposts in Berlin, Seoul, London and Vienna) forcibly kissed, groped and made inappropriate statements on multiple occasions. Several of the women met the dealer at art events as early as 2017. A criminal investigation into an allegation was opened and later dropped. König has denied any wrongdoing Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. (Time, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung)

Merchant Daniella Luxembourg plants a flag in New York – The London-based Israeli-born merchant is set to open a new space in New York’s Fuller Building with her daughter, Alma, this week. After breaking with longtime business partner Amalia Dayan, the gallery has been renamed Luxembourg & Co. and opens its new location with an exhibition of early works by Joan Miró. “Our goal is not to make our clients rich, even if they have become rich,” Luxembourg said. (FinancialTimes)


Tate removes Cézanne accent ahead of blockbuster show – When visitors arrive at the Tate in London next month, they might be surprised to encounter the subject of its flagship exhibition: Paul Cézanne, minus the accent. The museum removes the acute accent on the “e” of the artist’s surname in accordance with Philippe Cézanne’s choice to spell his grandfather’s name as it would appear in his native Provence. This decision is a nod to “continue to look at Cézanne with fresh eyes”, according to a Tate spokesperson. (TANNING)

An artist released after 8 years in Saudi prison – Ashraf Fayadh was released from a Saudi prison after 8 years and 8 months after his arrest in 2014 for a list of offenses including “going against fate” and “having an illicit relationship with women”. Fayadh is of Palestinian descent, but was born in Saudi Arabia and has helped boost its contemporary art scene at home and abroad. Since his incarceration, dozens of arts organizations around the world have called for his release. (TANNING)

Ancient VF Staff member sues Netflix over portrayal of Anna Delvey series – Rachel Williams, the former vanity lounge The photo editor who was cheated out of more than $60,000 by the fake heiress and future art impresario, has filed a libel suit against Netflix. Williams’ attorney said his client was suing because her real name and contact information was used on the show, which “made her look like a horrible person, which she isn’t,” which caused “personal humiliation, distress…as well as damage. gains/potential gains. (Independent wire)

The Museum of Islamic Art will reopen with a new look – The Museum of Islamic Art in Doha is set to reopen in early October, just in time for the World Cup, after an 18-month closure during which its collection was revamped and relocated. The galleries will present more than 1,000 previously unseen objects. (The arts journal)


Han Solo Blaster Sells For Over $1.1 Million – The only surviving blaster (there were originally three) used by actor Harrison Ford as Han Solo in Star Wars: A New Hope sold to Rock Island Auction Company earlier this week for $1.1 million, smashing its estimate of $300,000 to $500,000. The accessory, located in the inventory of London accessories house Bapty & Co., was once presumed lost forever. (Press release)

Image courtesy of Rock Island Auction Company.

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