Art Industry New: Sotheby’s Just Sold Someone an Actual Diamond for $12 Million in Cryptocurrency in Hong Kong + Other Stories

Plus, Petzel moves to a sprawling space in Chelsea and Loki's set designer explains why its set looks so much like the Breuer building.

The 101.38-carat diamond. Image courtesy Sotheby's.

Art Industry News is a daily digest of the most consequential developments coming out of the art world and art market. Here’s what you need to know on this Monday, July 12.


Petzel Is Making Big Moves – The esteemed New York gallery is doubling down in Chelsea, moving from its home on 18th Street to a space more than twice as large on 25th Street. While many dealers have been lured by cheap rents and charming spaces to Tribeca or the Upper East Side, Petzel said, “I’ve been checking out the buzz about up-and-coming gallery neighborhoods. Ultimately, after talking with my artists, I decided to make a long-term commitment to Chelsea and the brilliant community there.” (New York Post)

Zelda Copy Fetches Almost $1 Million – Baseball cards aren’t the only nostalgic objects fetching major money at auction these days. An unopened copy of Nintendo’s “The Legend of Zelda” from 1987 fetched $870,000 at Heritage Auctions on Friday. According to the house, the game was a rare version created during a limited production in late 1987. (AP)

Diamond Sells for $12 Million in Crypto – In other unusual auction news, Sotheby’s sold a 101.38-carat diamond for HK$95.1 million ($12.3 million) in cryptocurrency. According to the auction house, the bauble is now the most expensive piece of jewelry ever sold for crypto and the most expensive physical object ever offered for sale with the currency. While the house had estimated the diamond would fetch as much as $15 million, it attracted fewer than a dozen bids. (Bloomberg)

Are England’s Culture Wars Really a Thing? – New research from the Labour-affiliated think tank The Fabian Society supports the idea that the debate in England over racial equality and cancel culture is not actually reflective of the attitude among the public. The Society found that divisive arguments about tradition and identity are often stoked by those seeking political, personal, or commercial gain. The report’s authors say that politicians need to be called out for pitting working-class communities against each other. (Evening Standard)


Christie’s Taps China Chairman – Christie’s has named the Chinese entrepreneur and polo player Rebecca Yuancao Yang as its next China chairman. Yang, who is married to media mogul Li Ruigang (known as “China’s Rupert Murdoch”), will take up the role on August 1. (Art Daily)

Guernica Copy Heads to Bilbao – The Basque artist Agustín Ibarrola’s take on Picasso’s Guernica was snapped up by Bilbao’s Museum of Fine Arts at Arco Madrid. The work, known as the Guernica Gernikara, sold for €300,000 ($355,635), bought with help from local authorities. (Guardian)


Singapore Art Space Substation to Close – Substation, the nonprofit art space in Singapore, will shutter after 30 years. The board said it decided against sharing its venue with other arts groups, per a National Arts Council decision, because the loss of autonomy and income from venue rentals would hinder its mission. (TAN)

Telfair Museums Hires Chief Curator – Crawford Alexander Mann III has been named the next chief curator of Telfair Museums in Savannah, Georgia. Mann previously served as curator of prints and drawings at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C. (Artfix Daily)


Why Does the Loki Set Look So Much Like the Breuer Building? – The production designer for the new Marvel series, Kasra Farahani, says that the bureaucratic Time Variance Authority was indeed inspired by the lobby of the Marcel Breuer building in New York, which now houses the Frick Madison, among other Modernist spaces. “So much of what we know a bureaucracy to be is that postwar, highly funded institutional look,” Farahani said. (TAN)

Benedict Cumberbatch Plays Outsider Cat Artist – The beloved actor will take on the role of self-taught artist Louis Wain, known for his wide-eyed drawings of cats, in a new biopic. Cumberbatch has so fully immersed himself in the world of Wain, who lived with schizophrenia and died in an asylum, that he penned the foreword for a new edition of the book Louis Wain’s Cats. (Guardian)

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