Art Industry News: A long-lost trove of Elvis’ jewelry, guitars and guns is up for auction + other stories

Art Industry News is a daily round-up of the most momentous developments in the art world and art market. Here’s what you need to know this Tuesday, August 2nd.


Oxford and Cambridge will return hundreds of Benin bronzes – A total of 213 Benin bronzes, held in the Pitt Rivers and Ashmolean Museums in Oxford and the Museum of Archeology and Anthropology in Cambridge, are to be returned to Nigeria, according to a joint consensus of the governing bodies of the two universities. The move will likely be the largest repatriation of cultural treasures from the UK (telegraph)

Ruangrupa Responds to New Controversy at Documenta – The curators and artistic team behind the five-year edition have defended the images in the brochure presence of the femme, in an installation by the Archives des luttes des femmes en Algérie, who recently sparked new controversy for the show by saying they are “clearly not anti-Semitic”. Meanwhile, the Documenta shareholders have appointed a panel of seven experts on “anti-Semitism, perspectives from global contexts and post-colonialism, art and constitutional law” to review all the works in the exhibition. (Press Release, Monopoly)

Elvis Presley’s lost jewels hit the auction block – Riding the wave of Baz Luhrmann’s hit film elvis, a cache of nearly 200 items once owned by the king, goes to California-based GWS Auctions on August 27. Entitled The Lost Jewelry Collection of Elvis Presley and Colonel Tom Parker, it was organized with the help of Priscilla Presley Jewelry given by Elvis to his manager has long been known but has only now been put together for fans to see and bid on be able. The sale includes jeweled gold rings, cufflinks, a guitar and a 14k yellow gold ring embellished with the letters “TCB” flanked by diamond-encrusted lightning bolts, which has a reserve bid of $500,000 (the letters represent Presley’s Favorite phrase: “Mind business”). Other items include gold pistols, boots, a motorcycle, and even the private jet Presley bought for his father. (Reuters, Robb report)

Jackson Pollock collage dispute returns to court – An untitled mixed media collage from around 1943 with an estimated value of $175,000 is back in court. The dispute stems from the then-ongoing bitter divorce battle between former Senator Alexandra Kasser and Morgan Stanley manager Seth Bergstein, who argued that he had co-ownership of the plant as part of the marriage. However, Kasser’s brother Matthew Mochary argued that the pollock was a gift from his mother. Last year, a Connecticut District Court dismissed Mochary’s lawsuit against the Pollock — but that decision was overturned by a federal appeals court in New York last week. Mochary has now been given the green light to continue the legal battle outside of the divorce proceedings. (The art newspaper)

movers & shakers

Abortion rights activists arrested at LACMA – Three activists associated with Rise Up 4 Abortion and Vets Rise 4 Roe protesting in front of Chris Burden’s installation urban light (2008) were arrested. They chained themselves to Burden’s lampposts and spilled fake blood on the grounds. The trio were arrested for alleged vandalism. (LA times)

Rubell Museum Announces Appointment as Director – Caitlin Berry will serve as the inaugural director of the upcoming Rubell Museum in Washington, DC, which is slated to open to the public on October 29th. Berry will work with the Rubells and Juan Valadez, director of the Rubell Museum Miami, overseeing collaboration with the community and museum operations. Before joining the museum, Berry was director of the Cody Gallery of Art at Marymount University in Arlington, Virginia and director of DC’s Hemphill Fine Arts. (press release)

Is Singapore the new center of the Asian market? – Anticipation of the new ART SG show in January next year and the influx of capital and money from Hong Kong may have finally sparked hopes for the Southeast Asian city-state to be a contender for Asia’s next arts hub. The reality, however, is that the local art market is “nascent,” accounting for just one percent of all global art exports and imports, according to government data. (ARTnews)


Huge Jean Dubuffet sculpture will be relocated after Google bought his home The 29 foot tall Monument with a standing animal will move to its new home in a former bank building at 115 South LaSalle Street, along with offices housed in the James R. Thompson Center, following Google’s acquisition of the Helmut Jahn-designed post-modern building. The ten-ton sculpture by the French avant-garde artist has been an integral part of the Thompson Center in Chicago since the mid-1980s. (TAN)

jean dubuffet, Monument with a standing animal (Monument a la bete debout) (1986), Chicago. (Photo by Jean-Erick Pasquier/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

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