Art Wars founder and curator Ben Moore has been warned by lawyers representing several artists, including Anish Kapoor and David Bailey, to expect litigation after the charitable organisation produced NFTs of their painted ‘Stormtrooper’ helmets. The donated sculptures were initially executed for the ‘Missing People’ charity. However, the NFTs were allegedly created without the artist’s permission or knowledge.
Moore created the white Stormtrooper campaign as a force for making art
The partnership between Moore, US developers DeFi Network and photographer Bran Symondson has reportedly generated £5m worth of sales. However, some of the artists have claimed that they were not informed of the IP breach nor have been offered a royalty.
Moore created the white Stormtrooper campaign “as a force for making art”. An exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery in 2013 raised the profile of Art Wars, producing an ongoing exhibition of life-sized Stormtrooper helmets, which have become highly collectable pieces of art by some of the most talented artists in the world.
Since launching Art Wars, the initiative has garnered support from major international artists contributing their interpretations of the original ‘Helmuts’. These artists include Anish Kapoor, Jake & Dinos Chapman, Alison Jackson, Joana Vasconcelos, David Bailey, Bran Symondson, D*Face, Mr Brainwash, Anthony Micallef and Retna, Leeroy Thornhill (The Prodigy), James Kahn, Chemical X and Amy Karle.
Moore says on his website, These images from famous digital artists and inhouse artists will be made available as a collection of 1138 unique and individual ArtWar NFTs. These will be randomly assigned to buyers of the initial mint. However, Damien Hirst’s studio quickly requested the relevant works be removed prior to the sale.
Moore told TAN, “We regret that some of the artists were taken by surprise and have since expressed a preference not to be included; of course, we’ve respected those wishes. However, we really value the relationship we’ve built with them over that time. We’re still very excited about the NFT project as it has successfully raised £30,000 for the charity.” Moore adds that Art Wars plans to release further NFTs and all artists that remain involved will “receive royalties in the usual way.”
Flipper: Inigo Philbrick Pleads Guilty To Art Fraud
The American born Mayfair based art dealer Inigo Philbrick, once the darling of postwar and contemporary art auctions, has pleaded guilty to fraudulently selling shares in art that he didn’t own. He was arrested by law enforcement agents on the Pacific island of Vanuatu and transported to Guam, a US territory.
The 34-year-old appeared at the District Court in Manhattan wearing ankle chains (not by Gucci) pleaded guilty to wire fraud, “acknowledging that he had duped people while conducting business as an art dealer in London, New York and other places”. He told judge Sidney H. Stein, “I knew that my actions were wrong and illegal, adding that he had been motivated by a desire for money.”
“Inigo Philbrick was a serial swindler who took advantage of the lack of transparency in the art market to defraud art collectors, investors and lenders of more than $86 million to finance his art business and his lifestyle,” said Damian Williams, the US attorney for the Southern District of New York.”
Philbrick had an A list of international collectors that he duped into investing in blue-chip artists such as Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Pablo Picasso, and Christopher Wool.
The Goldsmiths’ graduate has agreed to forfeit $86 million and all interest in a 1998 painting by Wool and a 2018 painting by Wade Guyton. He is scheduled to be sentenced in March and faces a sentence of up to 20 years in prison.
LACMA’s Christine Y. Kim Appointed Tate Britton Family Curator-at-Large
Tate Modern has announced Christine Y. Kim in the newly created position of Britton Family Curator-at-Large (North American Art). Based in Los Angeles and New York, her role will develop North American art in Tate’s collection through new research and acquisitions. Kim will start in January 2022.
Since 2009 Kim has been a curator of Contemporary Art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), organising monographic exhibitions such as Julie Mehretu (2019-22), Isaac Julien: Playtime (2019), Diana Thater: The Sympathetic Imagination (2015-16), and James Turrell: A Retrospective (2013-14), along with group and permanent collection exhibitions. She recently curated Black American Portraits (2021-22), covering two centuries of African American portraiture, coinciding with The Obama Portraits Tour (2021-22). During her tenure, Kim has been instrumental in expanding and diversifying LACMA’s collection, exhibitions, and programmes and developing new models for equity and inclusion across the institution. She sits on boards of non-profits such as GYOPO, Denniston Hill, Los Angeles Nomadic Division (LAND), and Museums Moving Forward (MMF). Kim is a 2022 Center for Curatorial Leadership (CCL) Fellow.
Before joining LACMA, Kim worked at the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, where she co-curated Freestyle (2001) with Thelma Golden, launching the groundbreaking “F” series of exhibitions. Black Belt (2003) included works of art by African American and Asian American artists such as David Diao, David Hammons, and Arthur Jafa in 1970s popular culture and martial arts. In addition, Kim is responsible for putting artists such as Wangechi Mutu, Mickalene Thomas, Kehinde Wiley, and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye in their first US museum exhibitions.
As Britton Family Curator-at-Large, Kim will play a significant role in acquiring North American works for the Tate collection. Supported by the Britton Family Foundation, this position will continue to broaden Tate’s approaches to modern and contemporary art, forge new relationships with artists, scholars, and curators in the region, and contribute to curating exhibitions and projects Tate. In addition, Kim will work closely with the Director of Collections (International Art), the Tate Americas Foundation and the North American Acquisitions Committee as part of Tate’s more comprehensive network of specialist Adjunct Curators based in other regions around the world.
Christine Y. Kim said: “After twelve incredible years at LACMA, I am thrilled to bring my expertise in collection-building, focusing on works of art by living artists of colour, to a national and Canadian scope, to share on an expanded, global scale at Tate.”
Top Photo: P C Robinson © Artlyst 2021