From Sotheby’s $150 Million Modigliani to Kim Kardashian’s Nude Perfume Bottle: The Best and Worst of the Art World This Week

Catch up on what you missed—fast.

Kim Kardashian at the Metropolitan Museum of Art's 2017 Costume Institute Gala. Courtesy of Sean Zanni, © Patrick McMullan.


Modigliani Mania – Sotheby’s announced it had placed the highest auction estimate ever—a staggering $150 million—on Modigliani’s painting of a reclining female nude titled Nu couché (sur le côté gauche), the star lot of the upcoming May auction. The painting served as the face of Tate Modern’s recent blockbuster exhibition, and is being sold by Irish horse-breeding billionaire John Magnier.

Nan Goldin Goes to Washington – The photographer and advocate led a rousing demonstration at the Smithsonian’s Freer|Sackler Gallery before joining lawmakers on Capitol Hill to support legislation to help combat the opioid epidemic.

Art Honors Activism – Forensic Architecture, the London-based collective, were surprised to learn they were on the list of four nominees for the prestigious 2018 Turner Prize, in the company of the artists Naeem Mohaiemen, Charlotte Prodger, and Luke Willis Thomas. The multidisciplinary group uses imaging technology to uncover crimes around the world, from Syrian human-rights abuses to the Grenfell Tower fire.

From Marvel to the Art Museum – Ben Davis does a close reading of the creative system undergirding Marvel’s new Avengers movie, and has some advice for how artists can replicate the universe-spanning extravaganza in their practices.

London Honors the Gloved One – The palace may have a new prince, but London’s National Portrait Gallery is set to honor the King of Pop. The blockbuster show “Michael Jackson: On the Wall” will open at the museum in June, with hopes that Jacko’s star power will bring a much needed influx of ticket revenue.

An Outing Fit For FLOTUS – First ladies Melania Trump and Brigitte Macron toured the National Gallery of Art‘s “Cézanne Portraits” show amid a week full of activities celebrating the friendship of the US and France.

Adrian Piper Rewrites Wikipedia – The philosopher artist has a major show on now at MoMA, but if you google her name, you might come across competing Wikipedia entries—because in 2013 Piper created her own version of the biographical internet entry, seeking to dispel some common myths about her.


The Sale of Material Girl’s Materials Can Proceed – A trove of deeply personal artifacts once belonging to Madonna will be sold by her ex-art advisor, thanks to a court ruling this week. Among the intimate items is a letter from Madge’s then-boyfriend Tupac Shakur, as well as underwear and a hairbrush.

Vanessa Beecroft Is Turning Kim Kardashian Into a Sculpture – The Italian artist is bringing Kim’s new KKW Fragrance to life, taking nude photographs and making a cast of the reality star’s ample curves.

Chris Dercon’s Lackluster Performance – The recently ousted head of Berlin’s storied Volksbühne Theater was simply not up to the task—despite the fact that he previously ran Tate Modern—according to details regarding his (short-lived) tenure.

“Womanhouse” TV Show Gets Axed – Amazon will not move forward in creating a TV series based on the seminal feminist art show “Womanhouse,” according to artist Judy Chicago. Showrunner Jill Soloway was tied to the project, but the streaming platform nixed the show, and canceled Soloway’s other art-world adaptation, I Love Dick, based on the novel by Chris Kraus.

Goodbye to Two More Galleries – Further evidence of the mid-market gallery squeeze came this week, with news of two highly regarded contemporary art purveyors closing up shop; Copenhagen’s David Risley Gallery and Brooklyn’s Real Fine Arts.

The Children of the Museum of Ice Cream – What makes an Instagram-worthy art experience? We looked at eight art-immersive installations that have replicated the Museum of Ice Cream’s model in the hopes of capitalizing on its viral success.

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