From the Ugly Reckoning at Artforum to da Vinci’s Mysterious Orb: The Best and Worst of the Art World This Week

Catch up on the week's art news—fast.

Knight Landesman. (Photo by SCOTT MORGAN /Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)

It was a week that shook the art world. Here, catch up on the news stories that broke over the last seven days—in particular, the one story that absolutely everyone is talking about.


The da Vinci Code, Part Two? – Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi isn’t just making news for its estimated $100 million price tag, it’s now at the center of (yet another) art-historical mystery. Eileen Kinsella details the ghostly orb and why it has compelled da Vinci biographer Walter Isaacson to give it a very close look indeed.

Phillips Proves That Time Is Money – The auction house made history when the coveted “Paul Newman” Rolex watch sold for $17.8 million, making it the priciest timepiece to ever come under the hammer (not literally). The Daytona-model Rolex belonged to the late actor, and is considered the Mona Lisa of watches, perhaps even worthy of the Salvator Mundi himself.

Canada’s Cultural Landscape Is Flourishing – The debut exhibition at Canada’s Remai Modern opened to great fanfare this week, just days after the institution received a sizable gift from its namesake foundation. In other northern news, Montreal is getting a major art fair with the inaugural edition of ArtMontreal slated for June, bringing Canada’s tally of international contemporary art fairs to three.

See Something, Say Something – Amid nationwide criticism of Confederate and Civil War-era monuments, New York City has launched an online survey for New Yorkers to share their thoughts on controversial statues located on public grounds. Got a problem? Tell de Blasio!

Starchitect David Adjaye Reveals Plans for London’s Holocaust Memorial – The go-to architect for museums devoted to painful subjects design has collaborated with Israeli architect Ron Arad (another pro in the field, having done the Ground Zero memorial), and although the design is much anticipated, its placement is getting a cool response.

The Best Is Yet to Come – With November right around the corner, we’ve painstakingly compiled the month’s most exciting gallery shows to see. From the hotly anticipated Yayoi Kusama Infinity show at David Zwirner to Nina Chanel Abney at Jack Shainman, these will highlights should keep you busy through Thanksgiving.



Artforum’s Very, Very Bad Week – On Tuesday, Rachel Corbett first reported the multiple accusations against longtime Artforum co-publisher Knight Landesman claiming sexual misconduct, setting off a firestorm of events. The next day, Knight Landesman resigned from the magazine (where he’d been for 35 years); in the days since the report, more allegations have surfaced, shedding light on a disturbing pattern of highly inappropriate behavior, with Landesman allegedly trading promises of career advancement for boorish encounters with his young targets.

Artforum Backlash Continues – The magazine’s staff issued a strongly worded statement Thursday evening condemning their publisher’s equivocating response to the allegations. Now, galleries are taking a stand, threatening to pull advertising from the magazine, which many believe mishandled the claims of sexual harassment by one of its publishers.

Germany’s Far-Right Party Is Taking on Documenta – The populist AfD party is suing the quinquennial for misusing funds, according to German paper HNA. While the financial goings-on are certainly fishy, the far-right faction has used international art exhibitions as platforms for denouncing work—and social mores—they find offensive.

Protests Against “Secularist” Sculpture – Religious protesters in Istanbul took aim at a nude sculpture by artist Ron Mueck, claiming that the work supported secularism and violated religious freedom. The sculpture is set inside an antique tiled fireplace that resembles religious settings found in mosques, apparently sparking the incident.

The Mugrabis Want Their Art Back – The Mugrabi family, known for their massive trove of works by Andy Warhol, are accusing art-storage company Mana Contemporary of holding their $100 million art collection hostage.

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