Roundup: Banking scandal hits art world, Michelangelo bronzes disputed

Roundup: Banking scandal hits art world, Michelangelo bronzes disputed
The Swiss banking giant HSBC has been the target of an investigation about tax evasion. The names of various cultural figures -- including artists and philanthropists -- have surfaced in the case. (Harold Cunningham / Getty Images)

Cultural figures caught up in a banking scandal.... Artists who are condemning the detention of a Cuban artist.... And a historian who questions the attribution of those Michelangelo bronzes. Plus, three Miami institutions without leaders and the turn away from art as investment. It's all in the Roundup:

— According to a report issued by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), the Swiss banking giant HSBC may have helped wealthy clients hide billions of dollars in assets so they wouldn't have to pay taxes. Hyperallergic rounds up some of the cultural figures whose names have surfaced in the scandal, including designer Michael Aram, artist Christian Boltanski and designer Diane Von Furstenberg. According to the ICIJ website, Pritzker Prize-winning architect Fumihiko Maki's name also turns up in leaked documents related to the case.


— Fourteen prominent artists, including sculptor Anish Kapoor and painter Howard Hodgkin have condemned the detention of artist Tania Bruguera in Cuba.

— Artist Richard Prince may once again be in copyright hot water for appropriating images. This time, the controversy is over a photograph of a Rastafarian originally taken by Donald Graham. It comes on the heels of another high-profile case against the artist for appropriating images of Rastafarians (a case that was eventually settled out of court). Shane Ferro writes an interesting essay on the whole thing about authorship in the age of cut-and-paste.

Suzanne Weaver steps down as the interim director of Miami's new Institute of Contemporary Art amid conflicting reports about her departure. With Thom Collins' imminent exit from the Pérez Art Museum Miami (for Philadelphia's Barnes Foundation) and Miami Beach's Wolfsonian Museum yet to fill its director vacancy after almost a year, that makes three Miami museums leaderless. (ArtsBeat)

— A German art historian disputes the attribution of a pair of recently discovered bronzes to Michelangelo.

— The Crystal Bridges Museum in Arkansas has been acquiring pricey art but keeping it hush-hush. (@KnightLAT)

Art as investment: Apparently it's not such a great idea, reports Bloomberg News. And this is surprising exactly how?

— Speaking of which: Adam Lindemann, a collector and author of the art buying manual, "Collecting Contemporary," is also now saying that art investing is totally five minutes ago: "The unspoken truth is that a reliable resale market for art does exist, but only for certain very famous or very trendy artists at any given point in time."

— Ironically, the very same Adam Lindemann is opening a 15,000-square foot gallery in Los Angeles and the first show will be by art world "it" boy Dan Colen. Cue my reeling mind.

— In the meantime, the art market frenzy is making it hard for institutions to collect because prices are sky-high. My colleague Mike Boehm has a story about how even the Getty, the world's richest art institution, can't always afford to outbid the mega-rich.

— Tangentially connected to all the market hype: United Talent Agency is starting to represent visual artists.

— On the other end of the spectrum, critic and writer Lucy Lippard's lesson for young art writers: learn to be poor.

— An early 1980s Norman Foster building in England has been re-born as a children's play center — and the architect is cool with it.


— How Louis Kahn's last commercial building quietly fell in Philadelphia.

— A new book covers the ways in which J. Edgar Hoover's FBI tracked African American writers for decades, often critiquing their work in the process.

— Charles Darwin's kids used sheets from the original manuscript of "On the Origin of Species" to draw on. And the New Yorker has the scans. (Hyperallergic)

— There's an incredible story in The New York Times Magazine about how social media is used as a public shaming machine. As a frequent Tweeter, this one strikes close to home. Are we all just one Tweet away from ruination?


— The Day in Art Merch: Andy Warhol boxers.

Find me on Twitter @cmonstah.