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Artist Pension Trust Hit with Complaints, Feds Sell Unique Wu-Tang Album, and More: Morning Links for July 28, 2021

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The Headlines
JUST HOW PRECARIOUS IS LIFE AS AN ARTIST?  In the  L.A. Artist Census , created by artist  Tatiana Vahan , 95 percent of 2,000 respondents said that they did  not make a living wage  through their art practices, and 40 percent said they could not afford or had difficulty accessing healthcare.  Los Angeles Magazine  has  delved into  the project. Unsurprisingly, when the  Artist Pension Trust   launched in 2004 with the idea of pooling artworks from well-regarded artists and selling them over time to generate payouts for all, many were honored to participate. However,  a  New York Times  investigation  reveals that many are exasperated about how it actually worked out . . . or didn’t work out. “I really trusted it—it’s very alarming to me what’s happening,”  Marc Swanson  said.
THE  ARTNEWS  LEGAL BLOTTER IS JAM-PACKED TODAY.  A  Eugène Boudin  beach scene, purchased at a London flea market, has been identified as a piece that was stolen in 1990, and  a search is underway  for its rightful owner, the  Swindon Advertiser  reports. A New York court ruled against  Michael Steinhardt , an  ARTnews   Top 200 Collector , in his suit against Manhattan’s  Hirschl and Adler  gallery, in which he argued that it  should have paid him more  when it sold his  Gilbert Stuart  portrait of  George Washington  for $12 million,  Artnet News  reports. And the family of artist  Peter Max , who is reportedly suffering from dementia, is  continuing to duel in court , the  New York Post  reports. Son  Adam Max  has sued his sister  Libra Max   for control of their father’s company, alleging he has been wrongly cut out of the decision-making process. A lawyer for Libra called the suit “warmed over milk and meritless.”
The Digest
More legal news—in criminal court. Veteran art dealer Douglas Chrismas was arrested for allegedly embezzling more than a quarter million dollars from his  Ace Gallery  in Los Angeles while it was in bankruptcy. Chrismas has pleaded not guilty. A September trial date has been set in federal court.  [Press Release/Department of Justice]
In 2024, Christie’s will move its Asian headquarters into four floors of a Zaha Hadid Architects–designed building in Hong Kong. It is a vote of confidence in the future of business in the city, which has experienced political upheaval in recent years.  [Art Market Monitor/ARTnews]
Alibaba cofounder, Brooklyn Nets owner, and  ARTnews  Top 200 Collector  Joseph Tsai snapped up two huge apartments on neighboring floors of 220 Central Park South in Manhattan (plus a studio apartment that may be for staff) for $157 million.  [New York Post]
The digital artist Qing Han—who worked under the name Qinni—died in 2020, but inauthentic NFTs have recently appeared on the market, in the latest example of how unregulated the token market is.  [Wired]
As UNESCO’s marathon meeting marches on, the onetime Rio de Janeiro home of landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx was awarded World Heritage Status.  [Associated Press]
Here’s a look inside the Malibu, California home where artist Hunter Biden is living with his family and working out of a converted three-car garage.  [New York Post]
The Kicker
WU-TANG IS  FOR THE CHILDREN —and for paying forfeiture judgments, apparently. The  U.S. Department of Justice  said that it sold  the only copy  of the 2015  Wu-Tang Clan  album  Once Upon a Time in Shaolin , which was seized from pharmaceutical executive  Martin Shkreli   after he was convicted of fraud. The price was not disclosed, but it seems to have gone for $2.2 million, according to a lawyer for Shkreli. The  attorney told  the  New York Times  that her client (who paid $2 million for the album) said he was “pleased with the sale price and  RIP ODB .” According to the  Associated Press , Shrekli is  scheduled to be released  next year.
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