Paint Drippings: Everything You Missed in the Art Industry Last Week

From the top lots of New York's auction week to a new museum dedicated to Sufi art in Paris.

Christie's auctioneer Georgina Hilton sells the top lot of the house's 21st-century evening sale, Basquiat’s The Italian Version of Popeye has no Pork in his Diet, (1982) for $32 million. Courtesy of Christie’s.

Paint Drippings is excerpted from The Back Room, our lively recap funneling only the week’s must-know art industry intel into a nimble read you’ll actually enjoy. Artnet News Pro members get exclusive access—subscribe now to receive this in your inbox every Friday. 

Art Fairs

Forty-four galleries from 25 cities will take over Warsaw’s historic Villa Gawrońskich for the inaugural edition of NADA Villa Warsaw. The collaborative art fair arrives at a hopeful political moment and brings with it a surge of optimism for the city’s culture scene. (Artnet News)

Photo London has opened with 120 exhibitors from 50 cities, and art by esteemed photographers such as Steven Meisel, Martin Parr, and Lee Miller as well as the latest in A.I. photography. (Artnet News)

Basel Social Club is returning this year from June 9 through 16 on a swath of farmland located six miles from Basel’s center. Art Basel will provide a shuttle service from its Messeplatz Convention Center to the fair, which gained cult popularity last year. (Financial Times)

Auction Houses

Christie’s website is back up after a week of being out of commission due to a cyberattack. The “technology security incident,” as it was identified by the house, did not delay any of the marquee May auctions happening in New York. According to a statement from the house’s chief executive officer Guillaume Cerutti, the five online-only sales that were interrupted have been resumed and are “extended for the time they have been unavailable.” (Christie’s Statement)

–On May 13, Sotheby’s kicked off New York’s auction week with back-to-back sales. “The Now” realized $32.7 million and the evening’s main contemporary section achieved $234.6 million, at the low end of its $217.6 million-to-$316 million low estimate, bringing the night’s total to $267.3 million. The evening was led by Francis Bacon’s Portrait of George Dyer Crouching, which sold for $27.7 million. (Artnet News, Artnet News)

Phillips modern and contemporary art evening auction on May 14 managed $86.3 million, led by three Basquiats. The total fell short of the low presale estimate by about $4 million. (Artnet News)

–Also on May 14, with its website still downed by a cyberattack, Christie’s managed to hold two sales of contemporary art, hauling in about $114.7 million, which fell about $15 million short of the combined presale estimate. The top lot of the Rosa de la Cruz sale was Felix Gonzalez-Torres’s Untitled (America #3), which went for $13.6 million. Jean-Michel Basquiat’s The Italian Version of Popeye has no Pork in his Diet (1982), topped the 21st century sale at $32 million. (Artnet News, Artnet News)

Sotheby’s evening auction of modern art on May 15 totaled $235 million,within the estimated range of $180.9 million and $250.7 million. It was led by a $34.8 million Monet, but a record-setting $28.5 million work by Leonora Carrington stole the show. (Artnet News)

–Christie’s hauled in $413.3 million at its May 16 evening sale of 20th-century art, with a $35.5 million Andy Warhol painting of red and orange flowers leading the way. The result fell squarely within its presale estimates of $345.9 million and $501.7 million. (Artnet News)


Timothy Taylor now represents Paul Anthony Smith in London, Akane Saijo has joined Blum, Lisson has added Josh Kline to its roster, April Bey is now represented by Vielmetter, and Pilar Corrias has picked up Pierre Knop. (Press releases)

–Italian gallerist Annina Nosei, whose gallery in New York closed in 2006,has donated the complete run of her gallery’s catalogues to Magazzino Italian Art‘s Germano Celant Research Center. (Press release)

a black and white photo of a man with a baseball cap and beard

Paul Anthony Smith. Photo: Andre D. Wagner.

Museums and Institutions 

–Over a hundred figures from across the art world including Camille Henrot, Pierre Huyghe, and Cecile B. Evans have published an open letter in support of the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, after longstanding donor Sandra Hegedüs pulled her funding and accused the institution of “wokeism.” (Artnet News)

–The British Museum has located another 268 items that went missing or were stolen from its storerooms, bringing the total number recovered to 626. Ongoing recovery efforts follow last year’s scandal that revealed about 2,000 objects had gone missing or were lost, some of which had been sold on eBay. (The Guradian)

The Musée d’Art et de Culture Soufis MTO will open in the Chatou suburb of Paris this September. It will be the first museum dedicated to theart and culture of Sufism. (Press release)

Frieze and Deutsche Bank have confirmed the details of their 2024 Emerging Curator’s Fellowship, which this year will partner with Ikon Gallery in Birmingham, U.K. Launched in 2020, the initiative aims to support emerging Black and people of color (POC) curators through 12-month, full-time, paid fellowships within leading arts organizations. (Press release)

–The Denver Art Museum will merge with the neighboring Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art, making it home to one of the largest U.S. collections of decorative art. (The Art Newspaper)

Tech and Legal News

–A group of 49 staffers at the Vatican Museums have initiated legal proceedings over allegedly poor labor conditions that “harm the dignity and health of each worker.” Filed on April 23 but only made public on May 12, this is the first class action lawsuit of its kind in the Holy See, which does not permit unions. (Artnet News)

The Musée d’Orsay has filed a police complaint following an incident at the Pompidou-Metz earlier this month, in which Gustave Courbet’s The Origin of the World (1866), which was on loan from d’Orsay, was tagged with “Me Too” graffiti. (Artnet News)


–Mexican sculptor Andres Anza has won the 2024 Loewe Foundation Craft Prize. (Artnet News)

Elena Bellantoni, Mohamed Bourouissa, Anna Franceschini, Voluspa Jarpa, and Agnes Questionmark have been named as the finalists for the fifth edition of Fondazione Merz’s Mario Merz Prize. (Press release)

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