From Kerry James Marshall’s Soaring Sotheby’s Sale to Donald Glover’s Art-Historical References: The Best and Worst of the Art World

Catch up on what you missed—fast.

Screenshot from "This Is America" by Childish Gambino, via YouTube.


America Is Hard to See – Ben Davis tackles a trilogy of cultural events this week: Donald Glover’s viral This is America video, Tony Cokes’s show at Greene Naftali, and art history-worthy paparazzi pics.

Kerry James Marshall Is King – A massive work by Marshall fetched a record-breaking $21 million at Sotheby’s contemporary sale. The painting has found a high-profile home: It was purchased by none other than multi-hyphenate mogul Sean Combs. 

Rediscovered Rembrandt? – An art dealer bought an unattributed Dutch painting for a mere $172,000—but now, experts agree it’s the real deal, and could be worth millions.

Christie’s Brings Home the Bacon – At the auction house’s postwar and contemporary sale, Francis Bacon’s Study for Portrait was the big-ticket item, pulling in $44 million. The total haul was a whopping $397 million.

Picasso en Paris – One of the highlights of the Rockefeller sale was Picasso’s Rose period painting of a young girl. Now, the picture is headed from the auction block to a show at the Musée d’Orsay.

Warhol vs. Warhol – Ahead of an Andy Warhol double header at Christie’s, pop art aficionado Richard Polsky compares the two lots, and gives his two cents on the more worthwhile investment. (Spoiler alert: His prediction came true.)

Brancusi’s Bonanza – Christie’s Impressionist and Modern sale saw a golden statue make big bank, but the event was otherwise low-octane.

From the Movie to the Museum – Captain America’s shield is offically a work of art. The iconic emblem of the superhero entered the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, while on screen, the Avengers continue to reign supreme.  


Steve Wynn’s Career Pivot – The former casino magnate is opening an online art gallery, but the slapdash website appears to be offering works he already consigned to auction houses.

Belgium Calls Out the Status Quo at ArtPrize – Belgium’s art community penned an open letter denouncing the homogeneity of the all-male nominees for the 2019 BelgianArtPrize.

Arrested Development, Indeed – Actress Portia de Rossi is on a quest to upend the art gallery system with new technology she developed herself.

MoMA, Mo’ Problems – Lower East Side tea shop MoMaCha is in trouble with the Museum of Modern Art, which claims the cafe is infringing on its trademark logo design.

A Muted Night for Modigliani – Although, as artnet News’s Eileen Kinsella points out, it’s hard to see the sale of a nine-figure artwork as a disappointment, Modigliani’s epic canvas was greeted with a lukewarm response at Sotheby’s sale on Monday night, attracting just one (very expensive) bid.

Corcoran Collection – Once a Washington DC mainstay, the now defunct Corcoran Gallery has fully dispersed its impressive collection.

Shed a Tear for the Shed  America’s “largest cultural startup,” the half-billion-dollar Shed, has dropped a manifesto about why represents the future of all culture. It may not be.

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