That Warhol Case That’s Not About a Warhol
Gerard Malanga thinks his painting is worth $250,000 but wants $5 million from sculptor John Chamberlain because that’s what Chamberlain received for a Malanga canvas that was authenticated as a Warhol. Kate Taylor in tries to straighten the story out in the NY Sun:
The dispute is between Mr. Chamberlain and a former Warhol assistant, Gerard Malanga. Mr. Malanga claims that Mr. Chamberlain misappropriated and then misrepresented a work, titled “315 Johns,” as a Warhol, when actually it was created by Mr. Malanga in 1971, with the help of two other artists, Jim Jacobs and Irene Harris.
Mr. Malanga alleges that Mr. Jacobs stored the work at the apartment of Mr. Chamberlain and his then wife, Lorraine, and that after the couple’s
divorce it made its way into Mr. Chamberlain’s hands. Around 2000, Mr. Chamberlain submitted the work to the Andy Warhol Art Authentication Board, which declared it to be a genuine Warhol. In 2004, Mr. Malanga claims, he ran into Mr. Chamberlain, who told him that he had sold the work as an authentic Warhol, for $5 million.
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Mr. Malanga demands that Mr. Chamberlain either return the work, if he has it, or compensate Mr. Malanga for it, if it’s been sold. (The third artist, Harris, is no longer living; according to the amended complaint, Mr. Jacobs assigned his interest in the work to Mr. Malanga in 2005.) The complaint alleges that the work is worth at least $250,000. In the event that the work has been sold, Mr. Malanga asks the court to award him punitive damages “in excess of the amount by which Defendant defrauded an innocent third party.” In other words, if Mr. Chamberlain did sell the work for $5 million, Mr. Malanga wants at least that much in damages.
Singapore Free Port
The International Herald Tribune focuses on the Singapore as it makes a bid to become the Asian art center. With Indonesian art heating up and the establishment of the right infrastructure, Singapore has a real shot at becoming the art entrepôt of the East.
“We’re no longer talking about China as a separate market or Indonesia as a separate market, and no artist wishes to be referred to as an ‘Asian’ artist. They just want to be part of the international art community.”
While the partners considered several locations, including Shanghai and Hong Kong, they say they finally decided on Singapore because of its central geographical position in the region and its wide use of English. But most importantly, it is a financial hub for private wealth and is setting up a port with what Rutkowski called a “Fort Knox-like,” state-of-the-art facility to house works from all over the world.
Right now, the only other art free ports are in Zurich and Geneva, he explained. With a gross floor area of approximately 22,500 square meters, or more than 242,000 square feet, for Phase 1 (and an additional 24,000 square meters for Phase 2, to be completed in 2011), the Singapore FreePort will include showrooms, workshops, photo studios and private offices. Due to be completed toward the end of next year, it will be directly accessible to Changi Airport.
“The FreePort is a huge asset to the development of the art market here,” Rutkowski said. “There will be huge, secure warehouses, with no duty or taxes paid; a place for people to park their art safely for as long as they want and in total confidentiality.
The colored diamond market has been overheating with huge prices for blue and pink diamonds. Now Pallinghurst announces that it wants to do for emeralds, rubies and sapphires what de Beers has done for diamonds. Here’s a trade report:
Brian Gilbertson’s Pallinghurst Resources (JSE:PGL, BSX:PALLRES) is planning to exploit the neglected non-diamond coloured gemstone sector by lavishing production and marketing with attention to create steady, ethical supply of coloured gemstones. The coloured gemstone sector is already delivering higher margins than the loved diamond sector.
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Recent auctions by Sotheby’s and Christie’s International indicated that per carat prices for emeralds, rubies and sapphires can exceed per carat prices for diamonds.
Is This Really Such a Bad Idea?
The August doldrums are almost over. But we’d like to reach back to July and small piece that ran in the Art Newspaper to add something more to the very one-sided debate taking place over the University of Iowa’s Pollock. This story criticizes fees for exhibitions but we can’t help wonder whether the globalized art world doesn’t demand a new economic basis for owning and loaning art. We’ve already seen a move toward private museums and endowed collections whose sole purpose is to lend art. Shouldn’t the value of that art be reflected in fees? Wouldn’t the University of Iowa and Pollock’s Mural both benefit from the work being loaned out? And if it is loaned, shouldn’t there be a fee?
The Italian branch of the International Council of Museums (ICOM) has just produced a paper denouncing the practice of charging money to lend a work. This is not about wide-ranging projects such as the Louvre Abu Dhabi, where the Gulf state is paying e1bn over 30 years into an endowment fund for French museums not just to lend works of art but effectively create a whole museum culture. It is about the renting out of works to pot-boiler exhibitions to bump up the lending institution’s finances, and worse—refusing to lend a work, even to a good show or deserving museum, unless a fee is paid.
We understand that the exhibitions are meant to be for the benefit of the public and scholarship. But all exhibitions involves substantial costs–and often charge substantial admission fees–so the economic underpinning already exists. The step that’s decried is allowing the owners of the works to benefit from their value. At the same time, the owners are told that they either must sell their works to realize some of that value–or, if the institution is public–that they cannot sell their works to realize some of the value.