Suspects in $123 M. Green Vault Theft Admit Guilt—and More Art News –

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The Headlines

LEGAL AFFAIRS, PT. 1. In a courtroom in Dresden, Germany, three men accused of stealing some €113.8 million (about $123 million) in treasures from the Green Vault museum in the city in 2019 have admitted to participating in the crime, the Guardian reports. Last month, officials said that they had found many of the purloined items amid “exploratory talks” with the defendants about a possible settlement to the case. The men are expected to receive lighter sentences as a result of the admissions and recoveries. A fourth defendant is slated to admit guilt at a future hearing, a fifth has rejected a deal, and a sixth has reportedly maintained that he has an alibi. Some 40 people are still wanted in the case, according to the paper.

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A man in an elegant white robe and hat stands before a golden backdrop, performing a ceremony, flanked by two men in white.

LEGAL AFFAIRS, PT. 2. Artist Peter Doig has been awarded $2.5 million by a federal judge in a bizarre, long-running legal battle over a painting he says he did not paint, the New York Times reports. The backstory: A man said that he bought the painting from a young Doig in the 1970s, when the artist was incarcerated at a prison where he was working in Ontario. The superstar artist has maintained he did not make the work—a desert landscape signed “Pete Doige 76”—and that he was never imprisoned. The prison guard and a Chicago dealer had sued Doig to establish the work’s authenticity and lost in 2016. The same judge has now ruled that the pair, and their lawyer, should have known that they “stood no chance of success” and imposed the monetary sanctions. Doig has said any money he receives will go to support art-making in prisons; the dealer said he still believes the work is authentic and that he may appeal. Meanwhile, the Associated Press reports that the Detroit Institute of Arts asked a court to dismiss a suit over the ownership of a Vincent van Gogh it is showing in a blockbuster exhibition, arguing that the painting is shielded by a law that protects against the seizure of loaned art.

The Digest

What is believed to be oldest known stone with runic writing was discovered in 2021 during the excavation of a grave near Tyrifjord, Norway, archaeologists said. The runestone, which may date as far back as 2,000 years, will soon go on view at the Museum of Cultural History in Oslo. [The Associated Press/Bloomberg]

Goldin, a high-end collectibles auction house that has been backed by art-collecting hedge-funder Steve Cohen is in expansion mode: It has a new online marketplace that it hopes will compete with eBay, and it recently opened a vault in Delaware, aiming to smooth the process of storing and selling material. [Bloomberg]

Heike Munder, who has led the Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst in Zurich for 20 years, will step down at the end of June “to take up new professional challenges.” During her tenure, the Swiss institution has hosted retrospectives for Heidi BucherMarc Camille ChaimowiczDorothy Iannone, and many more. [ArtDaily]

A firm called Artex MTF AG is planning to launch a stock market–style platform in the first half of this year that will allow investors to buy and sell shares of high-value artworks. The first piece to be listed has not yet been announced. Prince Wenceslas of Liechtenstein is among the cofounders. [Bloomberg]

At a ceremony on Monday, the National Museum of Cinema in Turin, Italy, gave its lifetime achievement award to actor Kevin Spacey, who has faced allegations of sexual misconduct that he has denied. Spacey recently pleaded not guilty in the United Kingdom to charges that include sexual assault and indecent assault. [Hollywood Reporter]

The Kicker

THE VERDICT IS IN. On his website, the singer-songwriter Nick Cave (not to be confused with the artist, though they have metshared lyrics that a fan apparently generated by asking the A.I. engine Chat GPT to “write a song in the style of Nick Cave.” Cave’s response: “this song is bullshit, a grotesque mockery of what it is to be human.” Tough critic! His comments recall the response of the legendary animator Hayao Miyazaki when he was presented with some A.I.-generated animation way back in 2016: “I strongly feel that this is an insult to life itself,” he said. [The Red Hand Files]

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