ARTnews has won the 2011 Deadline Club Award for excellence in journalism for a series of articles on the controversy surrounding 74 “recently discovered” plaster sculpture casts said to have been made by Edgar Degas.
The series also earned ARTnews the Society of the Silurians 2011 Excellence in Journalism Arts/Culture Award (ARTnews, June 2011).
The articles, by William D. Cohan, appeared in the April, May, October, and November 2010 issues. Additional reporting was done by Sylvia Hochfield, Eileen Kinsella, and Milton Esterow.
The plasters were said to have been discovered in a Paris foundry. Bronzes cast from them are claimed to have been sold for up to $2 million each and $20 million for the set. They have been exhibited in museums in Greece, Israel, Bulgaria, and Spain. The New Orleans Museum of Art, however, decided last year to postpone an exhibition of the works that had been scheduled to open in November.
A group of Degas scholars who met in New York last year voiced concern about the sculptures. One person, who declined to be identified, told ARTnews that “there was absolutely universal agreement that those things are not what they’re being advertised as.”
The articles dealt with themes of urgent concern in the art world: the proliferation of fake art and the difficulty and danger of speaking the truth about forgeries.
Cohan, author of Money and Power: How Goldman Sachs Came to Rule the World, is a columnist for Bloomberg View, a contributing editor of Vanity Fair and Fortune, and an occasional columnist for the New York Times.
In presenting the award to Cohan, the judges said the articles were “well told, well researched, and had significant impact on the art world and amply demonstrated the writer’s expertise.”
Other Deadline Club winners this year include the New York Times, Associated Press, the Wall Street Journal, Sports Illustrated, Vanity Fair, CNN, the Nation, and the Forward.
The Deadline Club has 300 members and is one of the largest chapters of the Society of Professional Journalists. The society, with more than 250 chapters throughout the country, has about 9,000 members. It was established in 1909 at DePauw University.
The awards honor the best print, radio, Internet, and television journalism in the New York metropolitan area.
Since 1975, ARTnews has won 43 awards for excellence in reporting, criticism and design, including the George Polk Award, the National Magazine Award, the Overseas Press Club of America Citation for Excellence, the Investigative Reporters and Editors Award, the National Headliner Award, the Clarion Award of the Association for Women in Communications, and the Page One Award.