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Russian Artist Detained After Setting Fire to Security Service HQ

9 November 2015

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

Russian Artist Arrested for Setting Fire to FSB HQ | A Russian artist who previously made headlines when he nailed his genitals to Red Square has been arrested after setting fire to the doors of the FSB security service’s Moscow HQ, reports The Guardian. Pyotr Pavlensky apparently intended the act as a piece of political performance art, and was filmed and photographed standing in front of the blaze. Pavlensky could face up to five years in jail if he is tried and convicted for arson (though exactly which charges will be brought against him are as yet unclear).

Public Spat Over ‘Huck & Jim’ Sculpture Rejected by Whitney Museum | The furore over a statue commissioned but then rejected by New York’s Whitney Museum refused to die down over the weekend, with conservative website Breitbart locking horns with art critic Jerry Saltz. The debate concerns artist Charles Ray’s sculpture of two characters from Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, which the Whitney declined to exhibit in the public plaza outside its new building on the grounds that some ‘non-museum’ visitors may find it offensive. It’s certainly offended somebody…

Phillips’s ‘Crossover’ Sale Narrowly Surpasses Low Estimate | A novel ‘crossover’ show at Phillips New York last night only just managed to best its bottom estimate.The show, which combined work by 20th-century masters with that of living artists, brought in $66.9 million – against a low estimate of $64.4 million. Nine lots (of a total of 51) failed to sell, six of which had been guaranteed by the auction house.

Authenticity of Pollock Works Called into Question | Experts from UK-based company Art Access & Research (AAR – now known as Art Analysis & Research) have voiced doubts as to the authenticity of 12 Jackson Pollock paintings exhibited by Nevada gallery Classic Fine Art earlier this year, reports The Art Newspaper. According to AAR, the paintings contain pigments that were not commercially available during Pollock’s lifetime. Classic Fine Art has indicated that it is carrying out further tests to prove the works are genuine.

Thomas S. Marvel (1935–2015) | The architect Thomas S. Marvel has died at home aged 80, reports the New York Times. Among Marvel’s best known achievements were the US embassies in Guatemala and Costa Rica and many buildings in his adopted home of Puerto Rico.