Speed Read: The Top 10 Art News Stories for August 25–29

Sotheby's ups its guarantee game, Brits' gold lust pays off, and more.

Sotheby's art handlers transporting Francis Bacon's triptych portrait of George Dyer.
Photo: Sotheby's/Instagram.

1: “Sotheby’s Bets Big on Market Boom, Boosting Auction Guarantees
Are we headed for another art market collapse? Sotheby’s certainly doesn’t think so, as the auction house announced plans to dramatically increase the sum it can put toward guarantees in order to lure top lots from would-be consignors, Eileen Kinsella reported.

2: “Artists Call on Bienal de São Paulo to Reject Israeli Funds (UPDATED)
A coalition of more than half the artists slated to participate in the international exhibition have signed an open letter demanding that the Sao Paulo Biennial Foundation refuse funding from Israel in protest of its ongoing military action in Gaza, Ben Davis reported.

3: “Artist’s Buried Treasure Attracts Gold-Mad Hordes (UPDATED)
Brits went batty this week when the German artist Michael Sailstorfer sunk £10,000 ($16,600) worth of gold bars into the sand at Folkestone beach, Alexander Forbes reported. Though a lucky few eventually turned up some scraps of treasure, the beach may never recover.


The scene at the Folkestone Triennial gold dig on Friday afternoon.
Photo: loobylou884/Instagram.

4: “Will $4 Billion Art Loan Derail Detroit’s Grand Bargain?
Just when the Detroit Institute of Arts’s collection seemed safe from the bankrupt city’s creditors thanks to its $816 million Grand Bargain, art loan giant the Art Capital Group made a wild card offer of a $4 billion loan to the city of Detroit, with the museum’s collection as collateral, Eileen Kinsella reported.

5: “Scandinavians Scuffle Over Race-Swapping Artwork at Malmö Festival
An already-dubious participatory art project that involved members of the public being made up to look like a different race or gender devolved into an ugly fit of name-calling between the Danish theater company behind the piece and the Swedish festival that called it off, as Hendrik Hansson reported.

6: “$3.2 Million on eBay for Superman Comic Sets New Auction Record
A practically mint condition copy of the comic book in which Superman made his first appearance, circa 1938, fetched a super $3.2 million on eBay, Alexander Forbes reported, setting a new auction record for a comic book.

7: “The Fantastical Art of 50 Cent’s New Museum Party
Why would you want headphones that also monitor your heart rate? We’re not sure, but we’re also not about to question rapper 50 Cent, who recently premiered his new heart rate-monitoring at the New Museum, as Cait Munro reported, and on the occasion took a crack at the Heart Bot, an interactive artwork that generates abstract drawings based on users’ heart rates.

8: “Ancient Cities Discovered in Mexican Jungle
Archaeologists on the Yucatán peninsula have found two vast and ancient Mayan cities hidden in jungle overgrowth, Sarah Cascone reported.

9: “Los Angeles Museum Hosts Hello Kitty Retrospective
As her millions of fans around the world mark her 40th birthday this year, the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles has organized a retrospective for Hello Kitty, the diminutive and expressionless humanoid—not feline, as Christie Chu shockingly discovered—cartoon character.

10: “No, Monkey Selfies Cannot Be Copyrighted
In a decision that has far-reaching and potentially devastating implications for inter-species art projects, Sarah Cascone reported that the US Copyright office ruled that artworks created by animals—like the so-called “monkey selfie” that spawned photographer David Slater’s lawsuit against Wikimedia—cannot be copyrighted.

Follow Artnet News on Facebook:

Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.
  • Access the data behind the headlines with the artnet Price Database.