From London’s History-Making Auctions to an Art Dealer’s Eye-Opening Confessions: The Best and Worst of the Art World This Week

Plus, reports on the treasures at TEFAF, and in the wake of a scandal, a Belgium museum suspends its director.

Auctioneer and Head of Sale Henry Highley brings down the hammer on Picasso's La Dormeuse. Courtesy of Phillips.



Team Gallery Feels the Fair Fatigue – The art dealer Jose Freire spoke candidly to artnet News’s Andrew Goldstein about why he’s cutting his losses and stepping off the art-fair merry-go-round, and also about why he feels the art market is nearing “the end game” for adventurous galleries like his.

London’s Auction Week Wowed – Christie’s saw promising figures at its London contemporary sale, thanks in large part to works by Andy Warhol and Mark Bradford, while Sotheby’s had a strong showing (despite a disappointing Doig) and Phillips made history by staging the house’s most successful auction ever, closing in ever further on its older rivals.

From the Fringes to the Oscars – The artist Mindy Alper is having a moment as the subject of the newly Oscar-winning documentary Heaven Is a Traffic Jam on the 405, exploring her work creating papier-mache sculptures in Los Angeles.

JR’s “So Close” Hits Home – The French artist’s guerrilla-style artwork at Ellis Island was brought indoors to anchor the Armory Show, spotlighting the plight of immigrants around the world, including Syrian refugees.

Art Fair All Stars – artnet News deployed its critics to fairs across the city this week, who reported back with roundups of the main fair’s most attention-worthy artworks, the rising stars at the Armory Show, the best booths at Independent, the nascent talent at NADA, and SPRING/BREAK’s high-octane installations.

Berlin’s Jewish Museum Lights Up – An aqua-hued immersive work by master of light James Turrell will join the collection at Berlin’s Jewish Museum in April, thanks to the collectors Dieter and Si Rosenkranz.

“Art Not Arms” Succeeds – A groundswell petition protesting a weapons manufacturer’s financial backing of a UK-wide arts event achieved its goal this week, convincing the people behind the so-called “Great Exhibition of the North” to cut ties with weapons maker BAE Systems.

Treasures Unearthed at TEFAF – artnet News’s Julia Halperin traveled to the Netherlands to explore Maastricht’s high-toned TEFAF fair, where she found troves of Old Masters, an impeccable Munch print, and treasures of antiquity.



A Shakeup in Italian Culture  – Italy’s culture minister Dario Franceschini lost his parliamentary seat after elections over the weekend saw overwhelming support for right-wing populist groups.

From the Big Screen to the British Museum – Marvel’s blockbuster film Black Panther tackles the historic pillaging of artifacts from colonized African nations, shining an unexpected spotlight on tricky questions of repatriation and the role of European museums.

Will Paris Repatriate? – President Macron is under pressure to follow through on his announcement that art looted from French-colonized African nations should be returned to its home countries.

A Picasso That Could Mean Prison – The UK-based art dealer Matthew Green was indicted as part of a $9 million money-laundering scheme that centered around a late Picasso artwork.

After Destruction, LACMA Will Live On – When LACMA’s East Campus buildings are demolished to make way for a revamped design, artist Vera Lutter is ensuring they will not be forgotten—see the images she has been documenting using a camera obscura.

Will the Met Cut Quarters? – A swanky Fifth Avenue apartment was part of the employment package for the Met’s director, but the museum’s recent financial woes may put an end to that highly coveted perk as they consider selling off the dwelling.

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