Hacking group claims responsibility for attack on Christie’s | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #hacker

RansomHub, a group of hackers, has claimed responsibility for the cyber attack on Christie’s earlier this month. In a post on the dark web, reposted on X by a threat analyst from cyber-security business Emsisoft, the group says it has “sensitive personal information” for “at least 500,000 of [Christie’s] private clients from all over the world”.

The message says that “we attempted to come to a reasonable resolution” but that the auction house “ceased communication”. RansomHub is ready to release their information in a matter of days, according to The New York Times, though Christie’s did not confirm this.

A Christie’s spokesperson states that “there was unauthorised access by a third party” to parts of its network. They say that while “some limited amount of personal data” was taken, “there is no evidence that any financial or transactional records were compromised.” The auction house says it is notifying privacy regulators and government agencies, and is in the process of communicating with affected clients.

SOCRadar, a cyber-intelligence platform, describes RansomHub as “a recently emerged ransomware group, likely with roots in Russia”.

‘Vote for Me’ (2023) by Grayson Perry

As the UK heads into an election on July 4, earlier than anticipated, the opposition Labour party says that artists including Antony Gormley, Damien Hirst and Grayson Perry have given financial support or pledged works to its fundraising campaign. 

Party leader Sir Keir Starmer says: “Labour will ensure that the arts are not squeezed out of the curriculum and I am delighted that leading artists have supported our plans.” He adds that the arts — including his spell in the Croydon Youth Philharmonic Orchestra — “gave me the skills I needed for life: working in a team, communicating, confidence”.

Under the current Conservative government, take-up of arts and design subjects has declined dramatically, according to the Save Our Subjects campaign. In 2021, a package of extra arts funding promised to schools by the government and estimated at around £270mn was scrapped. Starmer says: “If we are privileged enough to serve, my Labour government will work hand in glove with our creative industries.”

A vast private space dedicated to just one artist is due to open in Indonesia’s Tabanan, on the island of Bali, in early 2026. Founded by Indonesia-based businessman Yunosuke Shigesato through his production company YES_, the 3,000 sq metre Eugene Museum, designed by Andra Matin, will have 15 permanent works by contemporary artist Eugene Kangawa (born 1989). These range from paintings to immersive installations.

In 2021, Kangawa was the youngest artist to have a solo show at the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo, despite not having traditional gallery representation. Shigesato founded his agency with the aim of supporting Kangawa’s work. “Why wait for a gallery to find them? We are a new generation with more diverse formats,” Shigesato says.

Funds and other support for the museum come from a constellation of stakeholders including traditional investors, private businesses and collectors, he says. Non-financial support, such as sharing their networks, comes from the art fair groups ART SG in Singapore and Art Jakarta. Shigesato says the point is to widen awareness of the artist, rather than offer his work for sale, though adds the museum “won’t prevent” individuals who are interested in acquiring work.

A young woman with dark hair crouches in a gallery space, facing the camera
Name change: gallerist Sylvia Kouvali © Yorgos Georgakopoulos

Sylvia Kouvali, who runs Rodeo gallery in London and Piraeus near Athens, is changing the gallery’s name to hers. Rodeo came about when she opened in Istanbul in 2007 with a partner and they opted for a impersonal name which, Kouvali says, also reflected a Levantine love of horses. Now, she says, it is time to “own” her name while also removing any confusion. “It is just me, I don’t have any secret backers, so it is time to lose the separation from my gallery,” she says.

Also simplifying its name is Paris+ par Art Basel, which becomes what most people call it anyway, Art Basel Paris. Its original, rather awkward name was a result of negotiations between organisers and local bodies including the City of Paris, who wanted the fair to have its own identity outside the normal Basel brand.

Now, says director Clément Delépine, “It is a pivotal moment in our commitment to the city of our full brand and aligns with our sister fairs” (Art Basel, Art Basel Miami and Art Basel Hong Kong). There was, he says “no reason to oppose” the change, which was prompted by its gallery exhibitors. This year’s fair fields 194 exhibitors and will be in Paris’s Grand Palais for the first time (October 18-20).

A painting of a full moon in a black sky above a red forest
‘Wolf Moon’ (2023) by Scott Kahn © Courtesy of the artist and David Zwirner

David Zwirner confirms that his gallery is now the global representative of Scott Kahn, an American artist in his seventies who credits his late-in-life recognition to a friendship with the Canadian painter Matthew Wong, who died aged 35 in 2019. Wong posted a painting by Kahn on his Instagram feed the previous year, after which Kahn’s intense, dreamlike works hit the stratosphere, with prices going from a few thousand dollars to his auction record of HK$11.25mn ($1.4mn, including fees) in 2022.

Zwirner says he discovered Kahn through an auction preview, with a work that “stopped me in my tracks”. He plans a solo show of the artist in November in Hong Kong — Kahn has a “rich support system” in Asia, Zwirner says — and brings his “Wolf Moon” (2023) to Art Basel ($900,000).

A photograph of the interior of an artist’s studio with a large window, framed paintings propped up on the floor — and a cat perched on a sofa
The studio of the late Bertina Lopes studio in Rome © Courtesy of Bonhams

Bonhams will offer about 75 works, mostly paintings, from the studio of the Mozambican-Italian artist Bertina Lopes, one of the highlights of this year’s Venice Biennale. An active critic of colonialism in Mozambique, Lopes was forced to leave in the run-up to its war of independence with Portugal, fleeing first to Lisbon in 1961 and then to Rome two years later.

Lopes died in 2012, leaving her Rome studio full of work that her estate — represented by her widower’s second wife — is now selling though Bonhams, with a total estimate of £300,000-£500,000. “She had an amazing career, including being in the Venice Biennale twice before this year, but has been completely overlooked,” says Helene Love-Allotey, head of Modern and contemporary African art at Bonhams. The auction runs online June 4-19.

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