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Kehinde Wiley denies allegations of sexual assault

24 May 2024

Kehinde Wiley has denied accusations that he sexually assaulted the British-born Ghanaian artist Joseph Awuah-Darko three years ago. Awuah-Darko posted the claim on Instagram last Sunday (19 May), alleging that two assaults took place in Ghana, during a dinner held in Wiley’s honour in 2021. Awuah-Darko is the founder and director of the Noldor Artist Residency in Ghana. Los Angeles-born Wiley is best known for his painting of President Obama in 2018. Wiley later posted a denial on his own Instagram account, saying that he had been in ‘a brief, consensual relationship’ with Awuah-Darko, but that ‘These claims are not true and are an affront to all victims of sexual abuse.’ The New York Times reports that Wiley’s lawyers have sent Awuah-Darko a cease-and-desist letter demanding that he delete his Instagram posts and not repeat the claims.

On Wednesday, the office of the Manhattan District Attorney announced the return of 133 antiquities, valued at $14m, to Pakistan. The pieces were seized during the course of investigations relating to Subhash Kapoor, a Manhattan art dealer convicted of antiquities trafficking by an Indian court in 2022, and Richard Beale, a British auctioneer and coin expert who pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy and possession of stolen property in New York in 2023. Among the items being returned, reports Artnews, are a gold Strato I coin from c. 105–85 BC and the stone head of a Bodhisattva from the 2nd or 3rd century AD. Pakistan’s consul general in New York, Aamer Ahmed Atoza, said in a statement, ‘These artifacts are now being returned to where they belong. This repatriation is more than the return of physical objects; it is the restoration of a part of Pakistan’s soul and identity.’

Brooke Lampley, global chairman and head of global fine art at Sotheby’s, is leaving for Gagosian, where she will be a senior director. In recent years, Lampley was ‘instrumental’, reports the Art Newspaper, in securing high-profile consignments such as the Emily Fisher Landau collection and the Macklowe collection for the auction house. Lampley joined Sotheby’s in 2018 from Christies, where she was head of Impressionist and modern art. After 20 years in the auction world, Lampley said in a statement, ‘I am excited to experience another side of the art world, and to learn from the very best.’ Larry Gagosian described his new hire to Artnews as ‘a proven secondary market operator with strong client relationships. She has a drive and entrepreneurial spirit that I think will fit in well at the gallery.’ Lampley will take up her new post later this year and will be based in New York.

The artist Marc Camille Chaimowicz has died at the age of 77. The announcement came from the WIELS Contemporary Art Centre in Brussels on Thursday. The Paris-born artist, who moved to the UK as a child, was best known for blurring the boundaries between art and design, creating environments that contained furnishings, textiles, objects and artworks – including, for instance, a fantasy study/bedroom for Jean Cocteau. Chaimowicz made his name with the installation Celebration? Realife (1972) at Gallery House in London, which consisted of a room decked out to resemble the aftermath of a party. He trained at Camberwell School of Art and the Slade, where he went against prevailing fashions; as he told the New York Times Style Magazine in 2018, ‘The people I was looking at didn’t seem to have suffered to that extent. Fragonard seemed to have a great time. I thought: I want to be like Fragonard!’. Chaimowicz had solo exhibitions at the Serpentine Galleries in London and at the Jewish Museum in New York.

On Wednesday, a Tennessee judge put a temporary stop to the sale of Graceland, Elvis Presley’s former home in Memphis, reports the New York Times. Elvis’s granddaughter Riley Keough applied for the auction, scheduled for the following day, to be halted. Her lawyers argued that the would-be seller, Naussany Investments, is relying on forged documents to claim that her mother, Lisa-Marie Presley, used Graceland as collateral for an unpaid $3.8m loan. Also on Wednesday, a representative claiming to be from Nassauny Investments said that the firm is dropping the case; court records do not confirm this. At the 10-minute hearing on Wednesday the judge postponed making a ruling because no one had appeared in court on behalf of the investment firm and because