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Tehran gallerists charged with plotting to overthrow the state

Plus: National Museum of Ireland pays out over historic staff complaints | Settlement reached over fake Rothko painting | Jeffrey Deitch to open Los Angeles gallery | and abc Berlin and Art Cologne in talks to start joint fair

12 April 2017

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

Tehran gallerists charged with attempting to overthrow Iranian government | After almost a year of incarceration, the owners of Tehran’s Aun Gallery have been formally charged with attempting to overthrow Iran’s government, conspiring against national security and other accusations. Karan Vafadari and his wife Afarin Niasari were arrested by Revolutionary Guards at Tehran airport last July, and detained at the notorious Evin prison, where they were denied legal counsel. ‘All charges against Karan and Afarin are baseless,’ said Vafadari’s US-based sister on her blog. ‘Their arrest and detention is a blow to religious freedom. It is an attack on citizens’ private lives. It is in the opposite direction of Iran’s right to self-determination and its road to national independence’.

National Museum of Ireland pays out over historic staff complaints | The Irish Independent has published details of settlements reached with employees at Dublin’s National Museum of Ireland, relating to formal complaints made since 2009. According to the paper, complaints emerged after details of historic allegations of bullying and harassment became public in recent weeks. Peadar Tóibín, chairman of an Oireachtas committee tasked with investigating the allegations, estimates that the museum has spent between €1.5m–€1.8m dealing with matters related to the complaints. The museum itself cites a considerably lower figure, and says that all complaints are now closed.

Settlement reached over fake Rothko painting | Casino magnate Frank Fertitta has settled a lawsuit he filed against art historian Oliver Wick in relation to fake Abstract Expressionist works handled by the now defunct Knoedler gallery. Fertitta bought a fake Mark Rothko painting from Knoedler in 2008 for $7.2m. According to the Art Newspaper, Fertitta says Wick had evaluated the work before the sale, describing it as ‘perfectly fine’. The terms of the settlement have not been disclosed.

Jeffrey Deitch to open Los Angeles gallery | Art dealer and former MoCA Los Angeles director Jeffrey Deitch is to open a new gallery in Hollywood, reports the New York Times. Deitch stepped down from the Los Angeles museum in 2013 and subsequently opened a New York gallery to great success. His new gallery will reportedly operate along the same model as his East Coast space, and will open with an exhibition on art making in the digital age.

abc Berlin and Art Cologne in talks to start joint fair | Art Cologne and abc Berlin have revealed that they are in the process of launching a new art fair together in the German capital, to be directed by Gallery Weekend Berlin chief Maike Cruse. Should the negotiations succeed, the new fair will replace abc Berlin, taking place in the same venue on similar dates. A statement released by the fairs states that they are ‘currently exploring different methods of creating a collaborative structure for the fair’.

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