From David Hockney’s Art-Market Apotheosis to Why New York Artists Dread Amazon’s Arrival: The Best and Worst of the Art World This Week
Catch up on this week's news—fast.
David Hockney’s Auction-Night Glorification – The octogenarian artist is officially the priciest living painter, thanks to the banner sale of his 1972 painting Portrait of an Artist (Pool With Two Figures) at Christie’s postwar and contemporary art auction, where it went for $90.3 million without a reserve price.
Bangladeshi Photographer Finally Gets Bail – This week the government in Bangladesh finally granted bail for artist Shahidul Alam, though his fight for freedom has a long way to go. Alam was arrested in August, and his baseless imprisonment has caused an international uproar, with many fellow photographers and artists calling for his release.
Centuries-Old Artwork Is Uncovered – The Borneo jungle is the home of the world’s oldest figurative art, scientists discovered this week. A cave painting there reveals the faint outline of wild cattle, drawn on the walls in red iron oxide approximately 40,000 years ago.
Middling Sales at Sotheby’s – Despite a slew of unsold works at Sotheby’s Impressionist and Modern sale, René Magritte’s Surrealist canvas broke a record, and works by Kandinsky and Egon Schiele won favorable results.
David Zwirner Snags an Art Star – The mega-gallery has added MacArthur “genius” grant recipient and market darling Njideka Akunyili Crosby to its roster, representing the painter in the United States and Asia.
Frank Sinatra Comes to Sotheby’s – One of the most beloved cultural figures of the 20th century, the leader of the “Rat Pack” Frank Sinatra was quite the fine artist, too… though there’s a reason he’s famous for his songs (and known as Ol’ Blue Eyes, not Ol’ Blue Paint). A sale this December at Sotheby’s will include eight works by the singer, plus memorabilia that belonged the Chairman of the Board.
Pretty in Pink – Christie’s Geneva sold a glittering pink “Vivid Fancy” diamond for a whopping $50 million (or $2.6 million per carat), shattering the previous world record, and making good on its name: the “Pink Legacy.”
The Amazon-Sized Challenge Brought by Bezos & Co. – To nobody’s surprise, Amazon announced Long Island City as one of two new cities slated for the company’s new headquarters—but how will the e-tail giant affect the local arts communities? In all the wrong ways, according to artnet News’s critic Ben Davis.
Bill Cosby Is Cashing in on His Art Collection – The once beloved comedian is reportedly selling off works from his collection to pay for long-running legal cases as he serves out his prison sentence for sexual assault. Two of Cosby’s works by American master Thomas Hart Benton are up for sale, and could fetch a total of $14 million.
Banksy Called Out for Antisemitism – An Israeli collector took to social media to criticize Banksy over an artwork he created for a tourism event supporting his West Bank-based hotel, equating the work to “antisemitic propaganda.”
A Statement Through Whitewashing – Meanwhile, the artist Ron English bought a Banksy mural, but says he will whitewash the $730,000 piece to protest the ongoing commercialization of street art.
A Tepid Night at Phillips – The auction house had a disappointing night, bringing in only $88.5 million after marquee lots were pulled just before the sale began—though street art phenom KAWS did continue his hot streak, with record-breaking sales.
Embroiled Billionaire – Dmitry Rybolovlev was officially charged in a sweeping corruption case that spans multiple countries and involves a bevy of fine-art and financial dealings, including the Russian billionaire’s consignment of Salvator Mundi last December at Christie’s.
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