The Essentials: Steve McQueen, the Corcoran Saga, and Everything Else You Need to Start Your Week

Steve McQueen takes top honors at the Oscars, leading our Monday morning roundup of important links.

Introducing The Essentials, our Monday morning briefing covering all you need to know from around the art world and internet to get your week off to an informed start.


The Corcoran Gallery of Art.
Photo: via Wikimedia Commons.

British artist-turned-filmmaker Steve McQueen’s latest feature, 12 Years a Slave, won “Best Picture” at the 2014 Academy Awards. The only art-related film nominated in the “Best Documentary” category, Cutie and the Boxer, lost out to music documentary 20 Feet From Stardom.

In the lead-up to Sunday night’s Oscars ceremony, Los Angeles Times Christopher Hawthorne took a long and thoughtful look at the function of architecture in McQueen’s films, including his piece for the 2009 Venice Biennale, Giardini.

The Washington Post’s Katherine Boyle and Lonnae O’Neal Parker have an absolutely terrific feature about 13 directors of D.C.-area museums who happen to be women, challenging the too-often accepted adage that men hold most of the top jobs in the museum world.

Charlie Rose had New York-London dealer David Zwirner on his show.

Scott Reyburn in the New York Times became the latest journalist to report that the market is slumping in the middle and being propped up by billionaire collectors at the very top:

The bargaining power of today’s richest investor-collectors makes it more difficult for the auction houses, and the bulk of their sellers, to turn a profit, thereby putting further pressure on the skin of what may or may not be a bubble. “It used to be said the air was thin at the top of the market,” said Mr. Schwartzman. “Now it’s thin in the middle.”

New York-based restauranteur-to-the-stars Michael “Mr.” Chow is making art again, and Hong Kong-based dealer Pearl Lam brought his paintings (priced between $30,000 and $120,000) to the Art14 fair in London last week.

Still confused about the Corcoran Gallery of Art-National Gallery of Art-George Washington University takeover? David Montgomery provides a very detailed recap of the entire Corcoran saga, including the turned-down University of Maryland proposal, in the Washington Post:

It all began with high hopes and warm feelings in April — a “marriage” proposal between the financially struggling Corcoran and culturally ambitious University of Maryland. After seven months of exclusive dating, two more generous suitors secretly beckoned in December.

Federal officers seized a 1,700-pound marble sculpture of a reclining, half-nude woman from a warehouse in Queens, New York, after it was brought to their attention by Italian officers that the object was the lid of a sarcophagus belonging to a 1,800-year-old Roman woman and was likely looted 30 to 40 years ago. Upper East Side gallery Phoenix Ancient Art put the piece up for sale in 2013 during a fair at the Park Avenue Armory.

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