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Britain Moves to Regulate Its Art Trade. Bring Your ID



LONDON — Britain’s embattled art trade, already rattled by the potential fallout from Brexit, is bracing for new rules intended to tackle money laundering and terrorism financing that some fear could further hamstring dealers in the country.

As of Friday, “art market participants” in Britain are subject to the regulations when conducting transactions worth more than 10,000 euros, or about $11,100. Under the rules, they have to register with the government’s tax agency, and dealers and auctioneers must establish the identity of the “ultimate beneficial owner” — meaning both seller and buyer — before entering into a transaction.

The legislation, ratified last month by the British Parliament, introduces largely without modification a European Union directive that is at various stages of implementation in other countries in the bloc.

“This is very serious. It could potentially change commonly accepted market practices,” said Kenneth Mullen, a partner at the London-based law firm Withers. “Due diligence is going to be fundamental. It does seem to mark a shift toward a more regulated industry.”


The international art market is generally an exclusive, often secretive business that has thrived in part thanks to the ability of buyers and sellers to maintain their anonymity.

According to Withers, legally certified photographic ID with a date of birth, as well as recent proof of the client’s residential address, will be required to conform with the British regulations, and the name should then be checked against relevant watch or sanction lists.

In 2018, the global art market turned over an estimated $67.4 billion in sales, according to last year’s Art Basel and UBS global report on the sector.

Britain, with London as its hub, is the second-biggest art trading nation after the United States, with 21 percent of global auction and dealer sales in 2018, according to the report. But will the new regulatory framework put British-based dealers and auction houses at a competitive disadvantage?

“It’s going to be difficult for the first year or two,” said Christopher Battiscombe, the director general of the Society of London Art Dealers. “But people will get used to being more open and supplying documents.”

“There are wild rumors about London being the money laundering capital of the world,” he added. “We have to be seen to be taking it seriously.”

Isabella Chase, a research analyst at the Center for Financial Crime and Security Studies at the Royal United Services Institute in London, said it was impossible to estimate how much criminal money was being spent on art in the British capital.

“But it’s well known London has a money laundering problem,” she said. “We’re an attractive jurisdiction for the proceeds of crime and corruption and we’re an attractive place to spend it.”

In the absence of a rigorous regulatory framework, money laundering has been difficult to detect in the British art market, with the exception of some high-profile cases. In 2018, for example, the Mayfair-based dealer Matthew Green was charged with helping to launder money through a $9.2 million Picasso painting.

Credit…Scott Roth/Invision, via Associated Press

Two years earlier, the flamboyant Malaysian businessman Jho Low was revealed to have spent as much as $200 million of looted public funds on big-ticket works by artists including van Gogh, Picasso and Basquiat at Christie’s and Sotheby’s auctions. Most of the pictures were bought in New York, but in 2014, Mr. Low spent $57.5 million on a Monet “Nympheas” canvas at a London auction.

Martin Wilson, the chief legal counsel at the auction house Phillips, said, “At the heart of the new legislation is a requirement that art market participants must carry out due diligence in relation to the identity of their customers and be able to answer the important question, ‘Who am I really dealing with?’”

Mr. Low (who is said to be in hiding) was a well-known figure, but hundreds of British dealers regularly do business with intermediaries whose livelihoods depend on not revealing the identity of an artwork’s “ultimate beneficial owner.” The legislation could make art advisers in the United States, who are currently not subject to such industrywide regulation, more reluctant to transact with British galleries.

Art traders in Britain have also expressed concern that a requirement to reveal the identity of a third party could affect smaller participants. “A dealer might represent one really good collector, and if the name has to be revealed, that collector could be could be taken by a bigger dealer,” said Nicholas Maclean, a partner at Eykyn Maclean, a dealership based in London and New York.

There are also practical implications for auction houses and dealers in administering the new legislation.

“It’s going to add 30 minutes to an hour of work every day,” said Alon Zakaim, a gallerist in modern and contemporary art based in Mayfair, central London. Mr. Zakaim added that he was nervous about having to comply with the legislation when he takes part in the European Fine Art Fair, or TEFAF, in the Netherlands in March.

“If I don’t know someone, I’m going to have to ask them all these questions,” he said. “They could well feel it’s an invasion of privacy,” he added. “I could lose a client.”

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Artists slam Duke Nukem 1+2 Remaster art & claim it’s “AI generated” – Dexerto



Published: 2023-06-01T20:18:07

  ❘   Updated: 2023-06-01T20:18:16


Fans of the long-dormant Duke Nukem series were elated to see a remaster of the first 2 games getting announced, but that excitement has been dampened by people calling out the game’s key art for being “AI generated”.

AI has been rapidly developing as of late, getting implemented in an increasing number of ways for people to generate images and text by feeding certain AI programs a prompt to work from.

AI art has become just as controversial as it has been prominent, and people are increasingly wary of AI-generated images replacing the work of real artists.

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When the promotional art for the Duke Nukem 1 + 2 Remasters released, the joy of many fans was traded out for disdain, with many claiming that the art wasn’t created by an actual artist. To prove their point, several artists put together a detailed analysis of the image to try and explain why they think the artist that was hired didn’t do all his work by hand.

Duke Nukem 1+2 Remaster under fire for “AI generated” art

When AI art first started taking the internet by storm, it was pretty easy to discern what was and wasn’t real. Though some images were more convincing than others, things like hands, facial expressions, and other small details didn’t quite line up with what a human artist would produce.

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However, as the technology rapidly advances, it’s getting harder and harder to tell the difference. For instance, the cover art for a book by the name of Bob the Wizard was exposed as being AI generated after it won a cover art contest, with the author of the book now working with a different artist to replace it.

Now, Duke Nukem fans and artists are calling out Oskar Manuel, claiming that he used AI to generate the cover for the Duke Nukem 1+2 Remaster under the nose of Evercade, the company promoting the remaster.

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It hasn’t been confirmed by the artist or Evercade whether or not Manuel used AI in the production of art for the title, but several artists and gamers have swarmed the account, claiming that art from Manuel’s portfolio seems to be AI-generated.

One artist went out of their way to mark the places in which they think the art most clearly shows its faults and other examples of art from Manuel’s portfolio that includes things like clocks with no hands and characters with 6 fingers.

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Neither Evercade nor Manuel have commented further on the matter at the time of writing, and the story is still developing.

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Global BC sponsors Vancouver Art Gallery: Fashion Fictions – GlobalNews Events – Global News



On now until October 9
Vancouver Art Gallery

Head to the Vancouver Art Gallery for Fashion Fictions,

This exhibition explores the increasing influence of research-based, materially driven practices on the global fashion scene, and surveys experimental design practices pushing the boundaries of the art form.


Proudly sponsored by Global BC.

Details at

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Poland's quest to retrieve priceless Nazi-looted art – BBC



Madonna with ChildPolish Institute in Tokyo

When the Nazis occupied Poland in World War Two, many of the country’s priceless pieces of art were stolen.

One of those was Madonna with Child, a 16th Century painting attributed to Italian Alessandro Turchi. A Nazi official who oversaw the looting of art included the painting on a list of hundreds taken from occupied Poland.

But the painting is finally returning home, after being discovered in Japan and handed over to Polish authorities during a ceremony in Tokyo this week.


It is one of 600 looted artworks that Poland has managed to successfully bring home, but more than 66,000 so-called war losses are yet to be recovered.

Poland recently launched a campaign seeking the return of hundreds of thousands artworks and other cultural items still missing after German and Soviet occupations in World War Two. It is also seeking $1.3 trillion in reparations from Germany for damage incurred by occupying Nazis.

Experts believe more art will be discovered with the passage of time as heirs to looted artwork attempt to sell pieces without being aware of their history.

Madonna with Child is thought to have been transferred to Germany in 1940 during the Nazi occupation of Poland. The Nazis often looted art belonging to Jewish families before killing them.

The painting was included on a list of 521 artworks in occupied Poland compiled by Kajetan Mühlmann, a Nazi official who oversaw the looting of art.

The painting reappeared in the 1990s, when it was sold at a New York auction.

It was due to be auctioned in January last year, but the sale was halted after Polish authorities spotted the piece. Once it was proven to be the looted painting, the auction house and the painting’s owner agreed to return it to Poland. An official handing-over ceremony took place in Tokyo on Wednesday.

Polish art historian Natalia Cetera said the return of masterpieces like Madonna with Child help restore pride in the country’s art heritage.

Poland had Rembrandt and Raphael pieces stolen, as well as internationally recognised Polish masterpieces, she said.

“So whenever there is this situation where the artworks come back to Polish collections, you feel proud because it shows the importance of Polish collections that is sometimes forgotten,” Ms Cetera told the BBC.

“It means we have some strong focus on remembering our heritage, our collections and the strength we used to have in art, because this is something we tried to rebuild after the war and this is a long process to be recognised again.”

Ms Cetera says she believes there has been a shift in recent years in cultural heritage “being seen as a common good”.

Christopher Marinello, founder of Art Recovery International, has spent more than 30 years finding missing masterpieces. He believes that more pieces could start showing up as looted artwork gets handed down to the next generation, with the new heirs unaware of their history.

“We’re talking about a generation ago now and these looted objects are being left to their heirs when the possessors pass away and the children don’t necessarily know the history and they decide to sell it,” Mr Marinello said.

Polish authorities have recorded stolen pieces of artwork on Interpol and other private and government databases.

“There’s also a great number of art historians out there who are doing research of looted artworks from Poland and they’re spotting them too,” Mr Marinello said.

“The more that tech improves and auction houses start to post everything online, there’s more eyes looking for the objects that have been looted.”

Madonna with Child

Polish Institute in Tokyo

Mr Marinello believes there is also a “generational shift” in attitudes to stolen masterpieces. He’s currently working on a case where a man in Chicago contacted him about a piece he believed his grandfather stole from a German museum in World War Two.

“They’d had it for an entire generation and now they realise that they can’t sell it and that they would rather give it back than have any more trouble over the issue.”

But the law varies from country to country, and sometimes a stolen piece can only be returned with the goodwill of the current owner.

Japan, where Madonna with Child was found, “is not a great country to recover stolen art from”, Mr Marinello says.

“It’s really up to the possessor in many cases to do the right thing… to understand that something was looted or stolen and that it should be returned, because you can’t rely on a lawsuit under Japanese law,” he said.

Ms Cetera said that the successful retrieval of Madonna with Child was a source of pride, but is unsure whether the passion for bringing stolen artwork back to Poland will continue with future generations.

“The question is whether it is important to the next generation – Gen Z and younger generations, do they really care? From what I observe, this might not be the case,” she said.

Digitised art collections might mean people losing interest in the physical form, she said.

“At some point maybe we won’t have to retrieve artworks… because we will have it in the Cloud and we will be able to reach it any time anywhere, no matter who has it.

“This digitisation and tech that is coming might at some point suppress the need of retrieving physical artworks.”

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