From the Met’s Divine Inspiration to the Museum Director on Trial for Going to the Gym: The Best and Worst of the Art World This Week

Catch up on the week's news—fast!

Nicki Minaj at the Met's Costume Institute Gala. Image ©Patrick McMullan, Photo - Sean Zanni/PMC.


Rockstar Rockefeller – The ultra-hyped auction of the Rockefeller family collection was a rousing success for Christie’s this week. The first night’s sale brought seven new records, including for a Monet waterlily painting that yielded a three-way bidding war.

Decolonizing Curation – Two major institutions are pushing for increased diversity in museum leadership, with LACMA and Arizona State University starting a new graduate program aimed at helping nonwhite students break into the field.

Falling Into the Rabbit Hole of Auction Stock Photography – If a multimillion-dollar painting hasn’t been photographed with an auction employee posing like Vanna White, does it even count? artnet News’s illustrious editors noticed a trend in stock photography, and its both revealing and hilarious.

The Sacred and Profane, Gloriously United – The art and fashion on display at the Met Gala this year was simply divine. The ensembles were inspired by the Sistine Chapel, Papal vestments, and every possible interpretation of the Madonna.

The Met Finds It’s Match – Editor-in-chief Andrew Goldstein spoke to the Met’s CEO Dan Weiss about why he hired incoming director Max Hollein, and how the duo will lead the museum into a new era of efficient greatness.

Gearing Up For Gigaweek – The Rockefeller sale was just the beginning… artnet News’s auction whisperer Eileen Kinsella has an insider’s guide to the billion-dollar bonanza at New York’s spring auction week.

Big Pictures Off Screen – Although usually thought of as being behind the camera these days, film director and artist Julian Schnabel is back in the spotlight now for his painterly panache. The director of Basquiat has a new show of paintings at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, showing off the creative chops that made him famous in the first place.

Sotheby’s Sees a Healthy Boost – The first quarter reports from Sotheby’s revealed that private sales at the auction house grew 70 percent this year and that, on the whole, earnings are on an upward trajectory.



Trial of Thwarted Museum Terrorist – Safaa Boular, 18, is standing trial in London for planning to attack visitors at the British Museum as an act of terror. Boular wanted to become a martyr for jihad, and had enlisted the help of her mother and 21-year-old sister to carry out the ambush.

Art Activist Says “Me Too” – Art-world activist Tanya Selvaratnam was one of four women who leveled shocking accusations this week against former New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. After waging legal battles against Harvey Weinstein, Schneiderman resigned after facing his own accusations of physical abuse.

Remembering a Renaissance Man – The Danish artist Perk Kirkeby passed away at age 79, according to his gallery Michael Werner. Kirkeby was known for his prowess as a Neo-Expressionist painter as well as a dedicated geologist explorer, and his artwork brought his two passions together.

Too Fit For Duty? – A new petition is calling for Anna Coliva to be reinstated as the director of Italy’s Galleria Borghese after she was suspended from her position for reportedly spending more time at the gym than at work.

Basquiat Will Go on the Block – A lawsuit trying to halt the sale of Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Flesh and Spirit was rejected by a New York court. Hubert Neumann claimed that he had a right to the painting, which is being sold by the daughter of his late estranged wife. Luckily for Sotheby’s, their auction of the piece, estimated at $30 million, will go on.

Art Dealer Pleads Guilty – Art dealer Ezra Chowaiki pled guilty to bilking clients out of millions of dollars this week. The onetime ice-cream salesman declared bankruptcy earlier this year, and admitted to stealing from his collectors.

Chilly Sales at Frieze New York – Just how good is business under the big tent at the Frieze art fair? Despite the tropical climate, buyer’s attention was cool, with no reported sales breaking the seven-figure mark.

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