Briefing

Jackson Pollock forgeries uncovered; Solange creates work for Tate’s 'Soul of a Nation'; new Brooklyn gallery to ‘de-gentrify’ space

Cover art for A Seat at the Table by Solange Knowles Ferguson (2016). Courtesy: Saint Records/Columbia Records

Cover art for A Seat at the Table by Solange Knowles Ferguson (2016). Courtesy: Saint Records/Columbia Records

Cover art for A Seat at the Table by Solange Knowles Ferguson (2016). Courtesy: Saint Records/Columbia Records

An investigation by the International Foundation for Art Research (IFAR) has uncovered a Jackson Pollock forgery scam in the US, with at least three victims known so far. The scam targeted non-expert buyers in the middle market (which distinguishes this incident from other high-profile forgery cases). The collection of Pollocks in question was said to have come from the household of a German immigrant, James Brennerman, living in Chicago in the 1940s, who went mad, and left the artworks to his servants on his death – at least two of the paintings were purchased from a strip club owner in Roanoke, Virginia, who claimed to have obtained them from the servants. IFAR considers the identity of Brennerman to be a work of fiction, and the artworks ‘unconvincing’. The IFAR investigation is detailed in the latest issue of the foundation’s journal.

Struggling with debt, the Montreal Biennale has cancelled its 2018 edition. Earlier this month, the scale of debts owed by the biennial’s previous 2016 edition came to light: CAD$200,000 to those involved (mostly artists and installers). As it stands, the Biennale will return for its 2020 edition after skipping out next year.

Gallery 1957 has opened a second space in Ghana’s capital, Accra, with a 220-square-metre location in Galleria Mall, joining its original address at the Kempinski Hotel. An inaugural solo exhibition by British-Ghanaian artist Godfried Donkor, ‘The First Day of the Yam Custom: 1817’ runs until 30 October. Gallery 1957 was opened in 2016 by business magnate Marwan Zakhem, dedicated to showcasing West African artists. You can find out more about Accra's art scene in Moses Serubiri's frieze feature from last November: does much of the art on show in the city amount to willful exoticism?

Solange has announced a work, Seventy States, which will be shown as part of Tate Modern's 'Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power' exhibition in London. Solange's ‘digital interactive dossier’ explores black womanhood and identity, incorporating performance pieces and and concepts from her music videos for 2016 album A Seat at the Table. The Tate invited Solange to respond to their exhibition, and inspired by a photograph of Betye Saar, she created the new project in collaboration with artist Carlota Guerrero, featuring an installation by Ricardo Basbaum and directed by Alan Del Rio Ortiz. You can view an online interactive version of the piece alongside commentary from Solange on the Tate website. And you can read Osei Bonsu writing for frieze on why 'Soul of a Nation', layering a broader socio-historical narrative onto a period of radical non-conformity, is such an important show today.

A new Brooklyn gallery, Housing, is taking over the former space of American Medium when the latter moves to its new location in Chelsea this autumn. Housing’s creative director, Eileen Isagon Skyers, told ARTnews that the gallery aimed to ‘de-gentrify the space, effectively supporting the practices of black artists and non-black POC’. The new gallery has launched an Indiegogo campaign to support the operating costs of further cultural programming.

In further New York news, São Paulo-based gallerist Luciana Brito is launching a new space in the city, in collaboration with design firm Espasso on 6 September. Inaugural exhibition ‘Ruptura’ features a group show of modernist Brazilian artists belonging to Grupo Ruptura. Brito’s move follows on from compatriots Nara Roesler and Mendes Wood DM also expanding to Manhattan.

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