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

From a new fee structure rolling out at Sotheby's to a funding crisis at West Kowloon in Hong Kong.

An art handler holds Concetto spaziale, La fine di Dio (1964) by Lucio Fontana during a press preview for Sotheby's May marquee sales, which were the last held under the auction house's three-tiered fee structure. Photo: Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images.

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. 

Auction Houses

– The revised pricing structure for buyers and sellers at Sotheby’s has taken effect globally. Effective from May 20, its buyer’s premium has been reduced to 20 percent on sales up to $6 million and 10 percent of the hammer price above this level. Meanwhile, its seller’s premium will be set at a fixed rate of 10 percent on the first $500,000 of the hammer price per lot. Up to this point, fees were assessed on a three-tier system up to 26 percent. This restructuring marks the first time since 1982, when Christie’s temporarily brought down its premium from 10 percent to 8 percent, that one of the leading houses has lowered its buyer’s fees. (Press release)

Sotheby’s rainmaker Brooke Lampley has left her position as global chairman and head of global fine art to work for Gagosian as a senior director. Lampley is known to work with clients such as billionaires Ken Griffin and Stephen Schwarzman. (Artnet News)

Christie’s has cancelled its evening sale of 20th and 21st century art in London in June. Instead, they will focus on hosting two distinct marquee weeks per year in London, New York, Hong Kong, and Paris. (Artnet News)

– See some of the hottest lots from last week’s auctions—as well as some of the biggest flops. (Artnet News, Artnet News)


– Dealer Nino Mier is planning to close his three galleries in L.A., plus a project space. The move follows an investigation in The Art Newspaper last month in which four former gallery staffers said they misreported invoice amounts to artists to keep funds from sales with the gallery. (Artnet News)

New York‘s David Lewis gallery will close after 11 years. (Instagram)

Machiko Ogawa has joined Galerie Frank Elbaz’s roster, Galerie Lelong & Co. has taken on representation of Pinaree Sanpitak, Josef Strau is now represented by Emanuel Layr, and Sean Kelly now represents Brian Rochefort. (Press releases)

a man and a woman look closely at a gem together while wearing blue globes, a tray of several more gems sits on the table in front of them

Ollie Croker, project curator, and Sara Aly, art market expert, from the British Museum’s Recovery Program. Photo: Sara Aly. Courtesy of the British Museum.

Institutions and Organizations 

– The British Museum has announced the recovery of 268 pieces of the 1,500 items that were found to be lost or stolen from its collections. This brings the total amount of recovered items to 626. (Artnet News)

– The funding crisis in Hong Kong’s West Kowloon Cultural District (WKCD), home to M+ and the Hong Kong Palace Museum, has reached an inflection point as the WKCD recorded net losses that almost doubled from HKD 869 million ($111 million) in 2021 to HKD 1.56 billion ($199 million) in 2022. Henry Tang, the chair of the cultural district’s authority board, has urged the government to address the district’s funding crisis by this August to prevent the closure of its museums and performing arts center. (Artnet News)

Fotografiska‘s location on Park Avenue South in New York will close its doors on September 29. The space opened five years ago and has mounted 48 exhibitions. (Artnet News)

Los Angeles contemporary art nonprofit LAXART is set to reopen in its first-ever permanent home as The Brick. (Press release)

UOVO, the art and luxury storage and services provider, has named Nicole Levinson as its first chief marketing officer. (Press release)

SAG HARBOR, NY - JUNE 16: Ronald Perelman. (Photo by Patrick McMullan/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)

Ronald Perelman. Photo: Patrick McMullan/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images.

Tech and Legal News

– A trove of information about nearly $1 billion worth of art sales made by top collector and Revlon CEO Ronald Perelman has come to light in recently unsealed legal documents. The documents listed 71 works by 25 artists, sold between 2020 and 2022, for a total of $963 million. (Artnet News)

– A Minnesota woman has filed a lawsuit against the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis after a male staff member prevented her from breastfeeding her child in one of the museum’s galleries. (Artnet News)

– In March of this year, the price of Bitcoin hit $73,000, an all-time high. In the same month, a Christie’s NFT sale of work by Robert Alice brought in $171,685, an auction organized by MoMA and the new media platform Feral File achieved $191,000, and Sotheby’s wrapped up a sale of digital artworks that tripled its estimate, totaling $613,664. Is this the start of a new NFT boom? (Artnet News)


Paul Smith’s Foundation and Winsor & Newton are partnering to launch a new art prize in painting and drawing, judged by a committee including Salon 94’s Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn, curator Ekow Eshun, and L.A.’s Mistake Room director César García-Alvarez. (Press release)

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