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KAWS Files a $10 Million Lawsuit Against an Online Retailer for Selling ‘Deliberate Fakes’ of His Work + Other Stories

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Art Industry News is a daily digest of the most consequential developments coming out of the art world and art market. Here’s what you need to know on this Thursday, November 19.

NEED-TO-READ

Abu Dhabi Plans Two New Museums – Two more museums will be added to Abu Dhabi’s cultural investment plan, according to Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, chair of the emirate’s Department of Culture and Tourism. The announcement was made at the preview of Abu Dhabi Art 2021 on Wednesday. Details of the two new institutions have yet to be revealed but they will be different from the two dropped from the original Saadiyat Museums project. (The Art Newspaper

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Abu Dhabi Art Fair Opens – In other Abu Dhabi news, the city’s art fair is back in person for the first time in two years. The crowd at Wednesday’s opening was much smaller than in the past, with a significant drop in international visitors due to strict travel restrictions, but some galleries still managed to sell. “You always sell—it’s never a disappointment,” said Shirin Partovi Tavakolian, founder and director of Shirin Gallery in Tehran. That’s the spirit! (ARTnews)

KAWS Sues Digital Marketplaces – KAWS has filed a lawsuit against the online art and luxury goods retailer Homeless Penthouse and its associated marketplaces for selling what he describes as “deliberate fakes” marketed under his name. The site has listed several works purportedly by KAWS priced from under $100 to nearly $3,500 for a sculpture it says he made for Dior. KAWS is suing for trademark and copyright infringement and seeking $10 million in damages as well as millions more in statutory fines. The artist said he would donate any financial gain to a homeless charity. (ARTnews)

U.K. Announces Latest Round of Culture Recovery Fund – In the latest round of funding from its Culture Recovery Fund, the U.K. government has distributed more than £100 million ($134.5 million) across nearly 1,000 cultural organizations. The largest sum, £1.2 million ($1.6 million), went to the Leeds Grand Theatre and Opera House, and a number of local museums including London Transport Museum, which the government found were in need of “lifelines” amid the financial fallout from the pandemic. (Evening Standard

MOVERS & SHAKERS

Brooklyn Museum Makes Big Curatorial Hires – Stephanie Sparling Williams, formerly an associate curator at the Mount Holyoke College Art Museum, is joining the Brooklyn Museum as curator of American art. Kimberli Gant, a curator at the Chrysler Museum of Art, has been appointed curator of modern and contemporary art. They will join a team that is responsible for rehanging the museum’s American art galleries. (ARTnews)

Kevin Beasley Heads to Regen Projects – The sculptor and sound artist has joined the roster of Regen Projects in Los Angeles and will have his first show with the gallery in April 2022. Beasley will still be represented by Casey Kaplan in New York. (ARTnews)

Blum & Poe to Rep the Thornton Dial Estate – The estate of the self-taught artist Thornton Dial will now be represented by Blum & Poe. The late artist, who began to work full-time when he was just five years old and created a rich oeuvre ranging from drawings to sculptures and installations, was previously represented by Marianne Boesky. (Press release)

Artists Are Designing American Express Cards – Artists Julie Mehretu and Kehinde Wiley have created new designs for American Express’s consumer platinum card, which will be unveiled on December 1 during Art Basel Miami Beach. As part of the deal, the credit-card company will also provide $1 million in sponsorship to the Studio Museum in Harlem. (Press release)

FOR ART’S SAKE

Climate Activists Make an Appearance at Art Cologne – The youth climate activist group Fridays for Future popped up at Art Cologne this week, marching through the city to the exhibition hall with a work by the artist duo Helge and Saxana depicting how lignite mining destroys the environment. Climate activists have been protesting the demolition of the German village of Lützerath to make way for lignite mining. (Monopol

Climate activists carry the painting "Das Grosse Gelingen" from 2021 by the artist couple Helge & Saxana through Cologne towards Art Cologne. The action is intended to demonstrate against the demolition of the village of Lützerath, which is threatened by the Garzweiler open-cast lignite mine. Photo by Federico Gambarini/picture alliance via Getty Images.

Climate activists carry the painting “Das Grosse Gelingen” from 2021 by the artist couple Helge & Saxana through Cologne towards Art Cologne. The action is intended to demonstrate against the demolition of the village of Lützerath, which is threatened by the Garzweiler open-cast lignite mine. Photo by Federico Gambarini/picture alliance via Getty Images.

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