From Cindy Sherman’s Amazing Instagram to Damien Hirst’s Animal Cemetery: The 15 Most-Read artnet News Stories of 2017

Plus, the Obama Foundation loves artists, Botticelli comes to America, and Brad Pitt discusses his new life as a sculptor.

artnet News's top stories of 2017. Photo compilation courtesy artnet News.

In a year that saw the record-smashing sale of Leonardo’s da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi, our most-read stories of 2017 reflect a different kind of economy. In the social media era, few are immune to the kinetic tug of controversy, the luster of celebrity, or even the shenanigans of a certain media-obsessed president. And the art world is no exception: artnet News’s most-read headlines of the year are filled with outrage-provoking artworks, A-listers making, buying—and even losing—paintings, and of course, Donald Trump and his cohorts sending ripples big and small across the cultural landscape. Below, revisit 15 stories that captured our readers’ attention in 2017 and made this bonkers year one to remember—whether you’d like to or not.

 

15. Cindy Sherman Just Made Her Instagram Account Public and It’s Amazing

August 2, 2017 “Not only does this provide a generous look into her process for her fans, it also raises the question: Is Cindy Sherman using Instagram to make new work?” Read more

One of Cindy Sherman's many faces, screenshot via Instagram @_cindysherman_.

Cindy Sherman. Photo via Instagram @_cindysherman_.

 

14. Just 24, Frances Bean Cobain Is Having a Stellar Moment With Her Second Gallery Show

June 14, 2017 “Cobain’s musical pedigree is obvious—her father was the late Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain, and her mother is Courtney Love of Hole—but it’s her talent with pen and paper that is winning the young artist fans of her own.” Read more.

Frances Bean Cobain.Photo: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for Marc Jacobs. R: Frances Bean Cobain's <i>It’s a Good Day For Penance and Pity</i> (2017). Courtesy of Gallery 30 South.

L: Frances Bean Cobain. Photo: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for Marc Jacobs. R: Frances Bean Cobain’s It’s a Good Day For Penance and Pity (2017). Courtesy of Gallery 30 South.

13. There’s a Secret Message Hidden in the White House Arts Committee’s Resignation Letter

August 18, 2017 — “…some savvy observers have spotted another message in the letter (we first saw Hunter College art history professor Michael Lobel notice it.) If you read just the first letter of each paragraph, there’s a little something extra in there.” Read more.

The open letter to President Trump from the resigning members of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, with our markup.

The open letter to President Trump from the resigning members of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, with our attempt to decode its very subtle message.

 

12. Donald Trump Bragged About the Renoir on His Private Jet. Experts Say It’s a Fake.

October 18, 2017 “…eagle-eyed art lovers might have noticed what looked like a painting by French Impressionist painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir hanging on a wall behind the president-elect. The especially astute might have noticed that it looked suspiciously familiar.” Read more.

Pierre-Auguste Renoir's, Two Sisters (on the Terrace) (1881). Courtesy of the Art Institute of Chicago. R: President Donald Trump. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images.

Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s Two Sisters (on the Terrace) (1881). Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images, courtesy of the Art Institute of Chicago.

 

11. The Guggenheim Pulls Controversial Animal Artworks From Its China Show Over Threats of Violence

September 26, 2017 — “Although these works have been exhibited in museums in Asia, Europe, and the United States, the Guggenheim regrets that explicit and repeated threats of violence have made our decision necessary…” Read more

Huang Yong Ping, Theater of the World (1993). © Huang Yong Ping.

Huang Yong Ping, Theater of the World (1993). © Huang Yong Ping.

 

10. Dana Schutz’s Painting of Emmett Till at Whitney Biennial Sparks Protest

March 21, 2017 — “It’s not acceptable for a white person to transmute Black suffering into profit and fun,” Black argues. Read more

Protesting Dana Schutz at the Whitney. Image via @hei_scott Twitter.

 

9. Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump Failed to Disclose Their Multimillion-Dollar Art Collection

May 25, 2017 — “Ivanka Trump has regularly showcased the collection on Instagram, posing in front of the artwork in posts tied to her business. Yet in required financial disclosures, Kushner, a senior advisor and son-in-law to President Trump, failed to report the couple’s art collection.” Read more

Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner in Washington in February 2017. Photo: MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images.

 

8. After Mass Resignation From Arts Committee, Trump Announces He Planned to Dissolve It Anyway

August 18, 2017 — “The White House put out a statement in the afternoon saying that the president had decided not to renew support for the Presidential Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, calling it a waste of money.” Read more

 

7. Botticelli’s Venus to Go on View in the United States for the First Time

January 24, 2017 — “As well as sixteen works by Botticelli—many life-size works from Italian museums and churches—viewers can also expect six works from his master Filippo Lippi.” Read more

Sandro Botticelli and workshop, Venere (Venus) half body detail . Courtesy Galleria Sabauda, Turin

Sandro Botticelli and workshop, Venere (Venus) half body detail. Image courtesy of Galleria Sabauda, Turin.

 

6. Selfie-Taker Smashes Yayoi Kusama Pumpkin, Just Days Into Hirshhorn Show

February 27, 2017 — “Mellon collie and the infinite sadness descends upon the museum after the high-priced sculpture was damaged.” Read more

Yayoi Kusama, All the Eternal Love I Have for the Pumpkins (2016). Courtesy of Ota Fine Arts, Tokyo/Singapore; Victoria Miro, London; David Zwirner, New York. © Yayoi Kusama. Photo by Cathy Carver.

Yayoi Kusama, All the Eternal Love I Have for the Pumpkins (2016). Photo by Cathy Carver, courtesy of Ota Fine Arts, Tokyo/Singapore; Victoria Miro, London; David Zwirner, New York. © Yayoi Kusama.

 

5. Attention Artists: The Obama Foundation Wants You to Apply for Its New Fellowship

September 26, 2017 — “The Obama Foundation specifically seeks artists who are at a turning point in their careers, but who currently lack access to the networks that can help take their work to a bigger stage.” Read more

US President Barack Obama addresses troops with First Lady Michelle Obama at Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kailua on December 25, 2016. Photo Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images.

US President Barack Obama addresses troops with First Lady Michelle Obama at Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kailua on December 25, 2016. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images.

 

4. ‘I’m Anxious to Get to the Studio’: Brad Pitt on His New Life as an Artist

May 3, 2017 — “In a new interview with GQ Style, Pitt says: ‘I’ve literally been squatting in there [Thomas Houseago’s studio] for a month now. I’m taking a shit on their sanctity.’” Read more

Brad Pitt, photographed by Ryan McGinley exclusively for GQ Style, 2017.

Brad Pitt, photographed by Ryan McGinley exclusively for GQ Style, 2017.

 

3. Turkish Artist Zehra Doğan Sentenced to Prison for Painting of Kurdish Town Attack

March 24, 2017 — “I was given two years and 10 months [jail time] only because I painted Turkish flags on destroyed buildings. However, [the Turkish government] caused this. I only painted it…” Read more

Zehra Doğan. Courtesy the Voice Project.

Zehra Doğan and her painting. Courtesy of the Voice Project.

 

2. Leonardo DiCaprio Surrenders Picasso and Basquiat to Feds

June 16, 2017 — “In one of the more striking details from the complaint, the government says that the Picasso, titled Nature morte au crâne de taureau, had been gifted to DiCaprio accompanied by a handwritten note from a friend of Low’s. It read “Dear Leonardo DiCaprio: Happy belated Birthday! This gift is for you.” Read more

Leonardo DiCaprio. Photo: Mike Windle/Getty Images.

 

1. How Many Animals Have Died for Damien Hirst’s Art to Live? We Counted.

April 13, 2017 — “Some of the animals were dead before Hirst came around, while others met ends tailored to their artistically-conceived resting places. They are all united by their final resting place: the domain of the thanatotic artist.” Read more

Damien Hirst, I Am Become Death, Shatterer of Worlds (2006). Photo courtesy of Ben StansallAFP/Getty Images.

Damien Hirst’s I Am Become Death, Shatterer of Worlds (2006). Photo courtesy of Ben StansallAFP/Getty Images.

 


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