From Jeff Bezos’s Art Collection to the Cancellation of Art Basel Hong Kong: The Best and Worst of the Art World This Week

Catch up on this week's news—fast.

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images.
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images.


Rock ‘n’ Roll – As director Bong Joon-ho’s film Parasite competes for an Oscar this weekend, we look into the mysterious ancient rock at the center of the film’s parable about class struggle.

Amazon-Sized Taste – Jeff Bezos is reportedly the owner of two record-shattering artworks that sold at auction last spring: a Kerry James Marshall and a giant Ed Ruscha.

A Historic Collection Comes to Auction – A collection of personal effects owned by Georgia O’Keeffe and her husband, Alfred Stieglitz—including their marriage certificate—is headed to Sotheby’s in March.

X Marks the Spot – After getting hit with a wave of criticism, artists are defending their paricipation in Desert X AlUla in Saudi Arabia.

Christie’s Anoints a New Market Star – Work by the Polish painter Tamara de Lempicka stole the show at the auction house’s Impressionist and Modern art evening sale in London, which brought in $138.9 Million in total.

White Cube Woos Julie Curtiss – The UK-based gallery has added star painter Julie Curtiss to its roster (though she will still be represented by Anton Kern in the US).

Well, Well, Well – Archaeologists have discovered the oldest wooden structure in Europe: a 7,000-year-old well.



Art Basel Axes Hong Kong Fair –  Art Basel has officially canceled this year’s Hong Kong edition, citing the coronavirus outbreak that’s been spreading around the world.

Chinese Closures Continue – The openings of two highly anticipated new museums in China have been delayed as the country tries to put a lid on the virus, while Hong Kong has banned large public gatherings. Meanwhile, the Chinese state is directing museums to ramp up their digital presences.

Remembering Beverly Pepper – The Brooklyn-born sculptor died at the age of 97 at home in Italy after a storied career making seemingly weightless sculptures out of gigantic slabs of steel.

Dershowitz’s Allegedly Dodgy Deals – An art law professor says Trump’s impeachment lawyer, Alan Dershowitz (who also had close ties to disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein) may have purchased some looted antiquities at auction.

Make Architecture Federalist Again – In a leaked order, President Trump demanded that federal buildings be built in “classical architectural style.”

Toxic MoMA Military Money – Forty-five US military veterans who served in Iraq, Kuwait, and in other theaters around the world sent a letter to the Museum of Modern Art asking it to reject funding from “toxic” sources.

Art School Drama – A religious institution that promised to purge all non-Christian teachers from an art school it oversees has reversed its decision after a backlash.

Philbrick Saga Rages On – Collectors and investors are going to court to try and untangle yet another artwork caught in the web spun by disgraced dealer Inigo Philbrick.

Traffic Jam – The German artist Simon Weckert caused an actual traffic jam of sorts by tricking Google Maps with 99 smart phones and a little red wagon.

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