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<?php $cat = get_the_field('artist_news'); $recentposts=get_posts('showposts=3&category=$cat'); ?>
Not exactly sure how WordPress functions handle variables inside of strings like that so you might need to do this:
<?php $cat = get_the_field('artist_news'); $recentposts=get_posts('showposts=3&category=' . $cat); ?>
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