BY Frieze News Desk in News | 12 FEB 19

Artist Andres Serrano, Creator of ‘Piss Christ’, Purchases Trump’s Wedding Cake

In further news: Italian scholar claims to have found Leonardo’s only sculpture; Tracey Emin plans her museum

BY Frieze News Desk in News | 12 FEB 19

Andres Serrano, 2011. Courtesy: Getty Images

Andres Serrano, known for his controversial artworks using bodily fluids, has purchased a small cake given away as a favour during US president Trump’s wedding to Melania Knauss in 2005. The Art Newspaper reports that the controversial US artist paid USD$1,880 for the 13-year-old chocolate truffle cake. Serrano is best known for his photograph Piss Christ (1987) in which a crucifix is submerged in the artist’s own urine – the artwork has since been targeted by ‘anti-blasphemy’ protesters. Serrano has not yet revealed why he bought the cake, telling the paper: ‘Artists work in mysterious ways. You never know what they’re up to!’

An Italian scholar claims a terracotta statuette held in London’s V&A is by Leonardo da Vinci – which would make it the only known sculpture by the Renaissance master currently in existence, according to Artnet News. Art historian Francesco Caglioti of the University of Naples Federico II linked The Virgin with the Laughing Child (c. 1465) to Leonardo, telling Italian newspaper La Repubblica that several details in the work’s facial expressions and clothing ‘dispel any doubts regarding the attribution’. Other Leonardo experts have rejected the argument, and the V&A has confirmed that it will not be changing the attribution.

Meanwhile, a former Lehmann Maupin Gallery employee, accused by the gallery of stealing client data and ‘valuable trade secrets’, has hit back with a lawsuit of her own. Bona Yoo, who previously worked as director at Lehmann Maupin, was accused by her former employer of ‘maliciously’ corrupting information in the gallery’s database. Yoo is currently sales director at Lévy Gorvy gallery. Yoo now says that the lawsuit was filed ‘to spite its former employee’, and violated the terms of their separation agreement in which both had agreed not to ‘impugn, disparage, or defame’ the other.

Tracey Emin has announced plans to transform her Margate studio into a museum when she dies. Emin told the Art Newspaper that the museum, situated in the town where she grew up, would be a ‘great legacy […] I haven’t bought the studio to avoid tax and do the foundation thing now. I’ll do it when I’m dead.’ The British artist recently expressed regret for her previous support for UK prime ministers Tony Blair and David Cameron, describing Brexit as ‘really insane’.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York has selected Alicja Kwade for its 2019 roof garden commission, now in its seventh edition. ‘Alicja Kwade, ParaPivot’ will be on view from 16 April until 27 October 2019. Director Max Hollein commented: ‘The setting – perched atop the museum’s vast collection and set against New York City’s iconic skyline and Central Park – presents a compelling site for Kwade, whose works offer an expansive view of the history of art and science.’

In awards, galleries and appointments: Elizabeth Diller and Ricardo Scofidio are the recipients of the 2019 Royal Academy Architecture Prize; Evelyn Taocheng Wang has won the Dolf Henkes Prize 2019; Laurie Anderson has won a Grammy for her album Landfall; Oliver Barker has been appointed director of the Cape Ann Museum in Gloucester, Massachusetts – he will take up the role in April; Fatoş Üstek has been named as the new director of the Liverpool Biennial – she replaces Sally Tallant who was recently appointed executive director of Queens Museum in New York; and Lisson Gallery is opening a new space in Shanghai – its inaugural show ‘Love is Metaphysical Gravity’ opens on 22 March.