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Leon Black, a billionaire financier and chief executive of the private equity firm, Apollo Global Management, announced his acquisition of Phaidon Press, a publisher of fine art books. Black, who paid an undisclosed amount for the company, bought Phaidon from the British businessman, Richard Schlagman.

Phaidon is one of premier publishers of books on the visual arts along with Taschen and Assouline. The company has collaborated with such artists as Ai Wei Wei, Nan Goldin, and Stephen Shore and they publish everything from children books to cookbooks to collector’s editions that often come with signed prints or specially-commissioned pieces of art. On Phaidon’s site there is a statement from Black saying, “We having greatly admired Phaidon and the important contribution the company has made to art and culture. We are impressed with how Richard Schlagman has built the business and the Phaidon brand under his ownership over the last two decades. My family and I look forward to supporting the future of the company, including through the ongoing development of its publishing program, further geographic expansion, and the launch of digital products.”

Black, who is rumored to have paid $120 million for Edvard Munch’s The Scream earlier this year, is one of the country’s most prominent art collectors. In May, Black and his wife announced a $48 million contribution to the new visual arts center at Dartmouth College. An alumnus of the school, Black and his family also included a commissioned sculpture by Ellsworth Kelly in the gift.

Published in News
Wednesday, 03 October 2012 18:31

China Revokes Ai Wei Wei’s Design Firm License

Fake Cultural Development Ltd., the design firm of dissident Chinese artist, Ai Wei Wei, will have its business license revoked by Chinese authorities. It is rumored that the district commercial affairs department will pull the license on the grounds that the company failed to re-register. The 55-year-old artist is a designer at the firm while his wife serves as the legal representative.

Ai Wei Wei has been under fire by the Chinese government since officials slammed him with a $2.4 million (15m yuan) tax evasion fine in 2011. His subsequent appeal was shut down in July and a Beijing court rejected his challenge to that decision last week. Ai claims that the firm was unable to properly renew their license because officials had confiscated the documents necessary to re-register during the tax evasion investigation.

Mr. Ai, China’s most famous contemporary artist, promises that the license fiasco will not affect his art. A critic of Communist Party rule, Ai Wei Wei caught the media’s attention when he was detained without explanation for nearly three months in 2011. Upon his release he was hit with the tax evasion claim and fine. Ai Wei Wei says an application has been submitted for a public hearing in regards to the revoked license.

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