Saturday, August 29, 2015

Simchowitz Lawsuit

Market News

Jute Sack Artworks Are at the Center of Simchowitz Lawsuit Against Venice Biennale Artist

Installation view of 'Ibrahim Mahama: Civil Occupation' at Ellis King, Dublin, December 2014.COURTESY ELLIS KING
Installation view of ‘Ibrahim Mahama: Civil Occupation’ at Ellis King, Dublin, December 2014.

Los Angeles dealer and artist agent Stefan Simchowitz and Dublin dealer Jonathan Ellis King have filed suit against the Ghanaian artist Ibrahim Mahama, alleging that he breached a contract between them by, among other things, declaring hundreds of signed works inauthentic, potentially costing the dealers $4.45 million in work they own by him. The suit, which was filed in federal court in June but which seems to have gone unnoticed until now, sheds light on how the controversial Simchowitz conducts business with artists, some of whom he has helped propel to fame.

Mahama, 28, is responsible for one of the largest artworks in the current Venice Biennale, a sprawling tapestry-like installation made up of jute sacks used to transport coal in Ghana, where he lives. The youngest artist in Okwui Enwezor’s Biennale group exhibition “All the World’s Futures,” Mahama has recently been in two exhibitions at London’s Saatchi Gallery surveying art from Africa and Latin America....

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