From Auction Antics in New York to Historic Flooding in Venice: The Best and Worst of the Art World This Week

Catch up on this week's news—fast.

Tourists walk in the high water in Piazza San Marco on November 12, 2019 in Venice. Photo by Stefano Mazzola/Awakening/Getty Images.
Tourists walk in high waters in Piazza San Marco in Venice. Photo by Stefano Mazzola/Awakening/Getty Images.

BEST👍

Gentileschi Dominates – A recently discovered painting by Baroque artist Artemisia Gentileschi fetched six times its high estimate at the Artcurial auction house in Paris, netting $5.2 million to set a new auction record for the artist’s work.

Art Review Ranks Activists at the Top – The magazine’s yearly ranking of the 100 most powerful art-industry movers and shakers includes Nan Goldin and Decolonize This Place.

Auction Antics – Christie’s managed to sell a gigantic Ed Ruscha painting for $52 million, while a painting by David Hockney of his former lover sold for just barely over its low estimate.

Donna Dia Salvo – Veteran Whitney Museum curator Donna De Salvo will join Dia as a special projects curator starting in January 2020.

Pick Up the Pace – The mega-gallery has announced programming for its upcoming Pace Live performance series, featuring recent Studio Museum prize-winner Torkwase Dyson, filmmaker Arthur Jafa, and multimedia artist Yto Barrada.

Bathing in Bronze – One of the standout lots at Christie’s this week was a giant bronze hippopotamus bathtub by Francois-Xavier Lalanne that fetched a whopping $4.3 million.

Police Prevented an Art Heist – An intruder tried to make off with two Rembrandt paintings stolen from a museum in Dulwich, but authorities managed to recover the works shortly after he made his escape.

Haring Mural Fetches Record Price – A mural that Keith Haring painted on the walls of church was removed and sold at Bonham’s this week, bringing in almost $4 million.

Christie’s Looks to the Futur(ist) – At the Impressionist & Modern evening auction, a sculpture by Umberto Boccioni fetched a record price, bolstering the $191 million sale.

WORST👎

Venice Under Water – The city of canals was inundated with floodwater rising to levels unseen in five decades, with historic landmarks like St. Mark’s Basilica and art institutions combating rising tides. Many cultural institutions shuttered in the wake of the floods, but the art is safe for now.

Iraq’s Pavilion Pulled – The organizers behind the country’s Venice Biennale pavilion closed the show in an act of solidarity with anti-government protests that have resulted in the deaths of more than 300 demonstrators.

Paris Pooh Poohs Koons – A prankster spray-painted the artist’s contentious tulips sculpture to suggest that the florals look like buttholes 😳.

Philbrick Gets Foiled – The art dealer Inigo Philbrick has had his assets frozen by a British court in the wake of several lawsuits alleging that he is holding art that doesn’t belong to him.

Marciano Foundation Faces Complaints – After laying off staff members and abruptly closing their art foundation, the Marciano brothers are being accused of unfair labor practices.

Guerrilla Girls Take to the Streets – The activist group installed an advertisement on a phone booth outside the Museum of Modern Art, decrying two board members’ ties to Jeffrey Epstein.

Hijacking Street Art – The son of Mr. Brainwash is a street artist with a message about climate change.


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