From Basel’s Biggest Sales to Takashi Murakami’s NFT Apology: The Best and Worst of the Art World This Week

Catch up on this week's news, fast.

A work by Leonardo Drew at Art Basel Unlimited, courtesy of Goodman Gallery.
A work by Leonardo Drew at Art Basel Unlimited, courtesy of Goodman Gallery, Galerie Lelong & Co., and Anthony Meier Fine Arts.

BEST👍

Basel Is Back, Baby – Dealers and collectors trawled the halls of Art Basel in Switzerland, despite stock market woes and crypto-crash fears.

Sales for Every Price Point – There’s more to tony Art Basel than multimillion-dollar baubles: we’ve got five notable sales starting at just $3,000.

… and a Few Just for Billionaires – The most expensive sale to date at the fair took place on opening day when Hauser and Wirth sold a towering spider sculpture by Louise Bourgeois for $40 million.

Child’s Play – A 10-year-old artist’s painting is headlining Phillips’s Hong Kong auctions, and It could fetch up to $50,000.

From Trash to Treasure – An Old Master drawing that was sold at auction in Massachusetts for $250 is being offered at TEFAF for a whopping $1.4 million.

Smithsonian to Return Benin Bronzes – In a historic vote, the Smithsonian has approved the return of 29 Benin Bronzes to Nigeria, marking the first major restitution effort since the institution’s new policy.

Dutch Painting Returned to Heiress – A 101-year-old heiress was reunited with a Dutch Golden Age painting looted more than 75 years ago.

Bacon Hits the Block – Francis Bacon’s portrait of frenemy Lucian Freud is hitting the auction block and could fetch up to $42 million.

Trove of Relics Discovered in China – Some 13,000 Shang dynasty relics were unearthed in Sanxingdui, many of the objects used in sacrificial rites.

Documenta Opens With 1,500 Artists – The sprawling quinquennial is already making history with the largest group of artists ever, promising an unmatched experience.

Lion Tamers’ Collection Claws in Big Cash – Siegfried and Roy’s collection of art, kimonos, clocks, and jewels fetched more than $1 million at Bonhams.

 

WORST👎

PS1 Director Resigns – Kate Fowle has resigned her post as the director of MoMA PS1 after only three years on the job.

Thieves Mistake Sculpture for Scrap – Authorities nabbed two thieves who had sold $1 million worth of artwork to a recycling company, mistaking the bronze sculptures for trash.

Museum Donor’s Art Draws Criticism – The California State University, Long Beach, is under fire for displaying the “terrible” art of a major donor, which is on view in an art museum named after her.

Is Stolen Tuscan Art in Ohio? – A sculpture stolen from a chapel in Italy over a century ago may be hiding in plain sight at he Cleveland Museum of Art.

Flipping the Bacon – A familiar portrait of a Pope by Francis Bacon cropped up at Art Basel, being sold by Helly Nahmad for $15 million just 3 years after it was sold by the Brooklyn Museum for only $6.6 million.

Murakami’s NFT Tanks – The artist took to Twitter to apologize to those who invested in his crypto project, one of many to take a nosedive as the market cools.

Billionaire Collector Dead at 81 – Austrian billionaire and collector Heidi Goëss-Horten died just days after her private museum opened in Vienna.

Artists Arrested – Biennial star Cian Dayrit was one of dozens arrested during a protest for farmers’ rights in the Philippines.

Museum Director Forced to Depart – A Slovenian museum director was forced to resign after organizing a show of allegedly forged artworks.


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