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Making sense of the spring art auctions

In a photo provided by Christie's shows, Georgina Hilton, the auctioneer at Christie’s, opened the sale for the Rosa de la Cruz art collection on Tuesday, May 14, 2024. Although a cyberattack hobbled its website, the auction house held two major sales, totaling $115 million, on Tuesday night. One expert praised the evening’s “really respectable sales in a difficult environment.” (via Christie's via The New York Times)

NEW YORK, NY.- When Christie’s executives decided on the evening of the auction house’s contemporary art sales to withdraw its most expensive offering of the week, a squiggly-wiggly painting by Brice Marden estimated to sell for $30 million to $50 million, it was evidence of apprehension in the market. “The choice to withdraw the Marden was ours,” Alex Rotter, a Christie’s specialist, told reporters last Tuesday night. “It wasn’t Brice’s evening and we’re not willing to jeopardize the market of an artist like that.” In other words, just two days into a week of marquee spring sales that ended Saturday, there was already a bad vibe. The art market’s greatest weaknesses ... More

The Best Photos of the Day

A city with a medieval history of killing cats now celebrates them   Morphy's June 11-12 Fine & Decorative Arts Auction crowned by magnificent Tiffany Studios 'Peony' lamp   Works by Agnes Pelton, Rembrandt Peale and Joseph Leyendecker lead Heritage to $4.3 million American Art auction

Lily, 7, sells cat ears and other feline souvenirs outside her family’s shop along the parade route at Kattenstoet, a cat-themed parade and festival in Iepers, Belgium, May 12, 2024. (Kevin Faingnaert/The New York Times)

NEW YORK, NY.- A 7-year-old girl hawks cat-themed souvenirs in Flemish outside her parents’ shop. Two women in matching cat print dresses wander down a crowded street looking for a place to buy stuffed plush kitties. In every store and restaurant window, ... More

Tiffany Studios ‘Peony’ leaded-glass lamp with multicolored background of mottled cobalt blues and streaked sky blues. Estimate: $100,000-$150,000.

DENVER, PA.- Exquisite jewelry and watches, 35 pieces of early Amphora pottery, and 25 exceptional Tiffany Studios lamps lead the select array of fine and decorative art to be auctioned by Morphy’s on June 11-12, 2024. All items in this sale – from breathtaking diamonds and Rolex watches to antique ... More

Rembrandt Peale (American, 1778-1860), Portrait of George Washington, 1857. Oil on canvas, 36 x 29 inches.

DALLAS, TX.- On May 15, Heritage Auctions continued to prove its strength in the American Art category with a tightly curated event that saw a number of works by America's beloved artists sell for far above their estimates. It also broke an artist auction record and landed a freshly discovered Agnes Pelton painting in new hands. The May 15 American ... More

Now open: "Theaster Gates: The Gift and the Renege" at Contemporary Arts Museum Houston   Re-creating Amy Winehouse's look on screen   Harry Cooper takes on new role as Bunny Mellon Curator of Modern Art at The National Gallery of Art

Installation view of Theaster Gates: How to Sell Hardware at Gray Warehouse, 2021. Image courtesy of Theaster Gates Studio.

HOUSTON, TX.- Theaster Gates: The Gift and The Renege is now open at Contemporary Arts Museum Houston through October 20, 2024, featuring new and recent large-scale paintings, sculptures, and installations that highlight the seen and unseen dynamics of historically marginalized ... More

Marisa Abela, who plays Amy Winehouse in the new biopic “Back to Black,” in Los Angeles, April 30, 2024. (Philip Cheung/The New York Times)

LONDON.- Few looks are as distinctive as Amy Winehouse’s was. The singer’s sweeping eyeliner, tottering heels and disheveled beehive are still instantly recognizable, 13 years after her death. In the new biopic “Back to Black,” Marisa Abela plays the star from the beginning of her music career until her final ... More

Harry Cooper. Photo: National Gallery of Art.

WASHINGTON, DC.- The National Gallery of Art announced that Harry Cooper, head of the department of modern and contemporary art, will step down after 16 years in the role. Cooper will remain on our staff in a newly endowed position, the Bunny Mellon Curator of Modern Art, thanks to the generous gift of the Gerard B. Lambert Foundation. As the inaugural Bunny Mellon Curator of Modern ... More

'Taking Venice': The strange story of the U.S. government and a painter   Rajiv Menon Contemporary opens group exhibition 'The Past is a Country: Indo-Nostalgia in Contemporary Art'   Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts presents two new exhibitions

Robert Rauschenberg, Buffalo II, 1964, © Robert Rauschenberg Foundation.

NEW YORK, NY.- Something about “Taking Venice,” Amei Wallach’s new documentary about the 1964 Venice Biennale (in theaters), feels almost like science fiction, or maybe fantasy. Imagine the U.S. government taking such a keen interest in the fine arts that there may or may not have been an attempt to rig a major international prize for a U.S. artist. A painter, no less! History buffs ... More

The Past is a Country presents work across mediums and of varying scale by nineteen artists, the majority having never exhibited in the United States. Photo: Courtesy of the artist.

LOS ANGELES, CA.- Rajiv Menon Contemporary is presenting The Past is a Country: Indo-Nostalgia in Contemporary Art, an intergenerational group exhibition bringing together artists from South Asia and its diasporas to examine the intersection of politics, identity, history, and emotion ... More

Raven Halfmoon, Okla Homma Ohoyo, 2021. Stoneware, glaze. Photo courtesy of the artist.

HOUSTON, TX.- Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts opened two new exhibitions: Raven Halfmoon: Flags of Our Mothers and Paul Stephen Benjamin: Black of Night. Both exhibitions continue through September 15, 2024. Raven Halfmoon: Flags of Our Mothers is the first major traveling exhibition for Halfmoon and includes new and recent works made over the last five years. This ... More

Painting by Marc Chagall soars to $199,700 at Ahlers & Ogletree   'Re-Discovering Native America: Stories in Motion with The Red Road Project' at Beford Gallery   Galerie Lelong New York represents Thailand-based artist Pinaree Sanpitak

The French/Russian artist Marc Chagall’s (1887-1985) signed 1980 tempera on Masonite painting, titled Peintre, Ange et Amoreaux (Painter, Angel and Lover) was the auction’s top lot ($199,700).

ATLANTA, GA.- A signed 1980 tempera on Masonite painting by Marc Chagall soared to $199,700, a 1929 gouache and watercolor on Arches paper signed by Raoul Dufy realized $78,700, and an oil on canvas laid to board signed by Ludwig Bemelmans ... More

Installation view.

WALNUT CREEK, CA .- Bedford Gallery is presenting its latest exhibition, Re-Discovering Native America: Stories in Motion with The Red Road Project, a photo-docuseries which highlights and celebrates inspiring stories of present-day Native American individuals and communities by providing a platform for them to tell their stories of the past, present, and future in their own voices and ... More

Pinaree Sanpitak. Photo: Lee Wei Swee.

NEW YORK, NY.- Galerie Lelong & Co., New York, announced its representation of Thailand-based artist Pinaree Sanpitak. The gallery will present a solo exhibition by Sanpitak in fall 2024, marking the artist’s first solo exhibition in New York since 2018. Galerie Lelong & Co. will present work by Sanpitak for the first time at Art Basel, Switzerland. For over three decades, Pinaree Sanpitak has ... More

More News
Solway Gallery announces the passing of Jay Bolotin
CINCINNATI, OH.- Solway Gallery announced the passing of Jay Bolotin; father, artist, composer, songwriter, filmmaker, and life-long friend to so many. Despite navigating a long illness, Jay worked passionately up until his death on May 14, 2024. Jay was seventy-five years old. Jay is survived by his son Ezra Bolotin, and Ezra's fiancée, Ally Orosco of Seattle, his daughter Simone Bolotin and son-in-law Colin Malone along with grandchildren, Harrison Malone (age 9) and Georgiana Malone (age 6), of New York, and sister Susan Bolotin of Lexington KY. A memorial for Jay will be announced in the near future on social media. Jay Bolotin, of Cincinnati, Ohio, was born 1949 in Fayette County, Kentucky. He was a prolific artist who worked across an expansive range of mediums — making drawings, prints, sculptures, designing sets, composing ... More

SFMOMA announces new details regarding major commission by Kara Walker
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIF.- The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art today announced additional details for its forthcoming installation by artist Kara Walker in the museum’s admission-free, street-level Roberts Family Gallery. The complete title for the presentation is Fortuna and the Immortality Garden (Machine) / A Respite for the Weary Time-Traveler. / Featuring a Rite of Ancient Intelligence Carried out by The Gardeners / Toward the Continued Improvement of the Human Specious / by Kara E-Walker. It will open to the public on July 1, 2024, and remain on view through May 2026. The presentation marks the first time that SFMOMA has commissioned an artist to create a site-specific installation for the Roberts Family Gallery, following other major exhibitions in the space including Diego Rivera’s Pan American Unity, JR’s digital mural ... More

'Megalopolis' premieres at Cannes: First reaction
CANNES.- Late in “Megalopolis,” Francis Ford Coppola’s plaintively hopeful movie about — well, everything under the sun — a character speaks to the power of love. It’s a wistful moment in a fascinating film aswirl with wild visions, lofty ideals, cinematic allusions, literary references, historical footnotes and self-reflexive asides, all of which Coppola has funneled into a fairly straightforward story about a man with a plan. It is a great big plan from a great big man in a great big movie, one whose sincerity is finally as moving as its unbounded artistic ambition. “Megalopolis,” which had its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival on Thursday, is Coppola’s first movie since “Twixt” (2011), a little-seen, small-scale horror fantasy. “Megalopolis” is far larger in every respect, though at this point it’s an open question whether it will reach ... More

'Nobody Cares' about Laura Benanti, but they let her entertain them
NEW YORK, NY.- Laura Benanti’s show “Nobody Cares,” at the Minetta Lane Theater, is being recorded and will soon be available from the comfort of your home. Future audiences are likely to enjoy Benanti’s autobiographical romp through her family life, her romantic and professional travails, her insecurities (see the title) and her often overwhelming need to please. They will appreciate the handful of original songs, which she wrote with music director Todd Almond — Benanti is a fabulous singer, with a Tony Award on her mantel for her sultry turn as Louise in “Gypsy.” But because the show will be on Audible, those audiences will be made up of listeners, and they will miss out on the physical comedy of a woman who can communicate more with one raised eyebrow than most actors can with a lengthy monologue. Benanti dramatically throws herself on the floor ... More

National Gallery of Art acquires two Netherlandish decorative objects from the 17th century
WASHINGTON, DC.- The National Gallery of Art has recently acquired two exquisite Netherlandish decorative art objects: a silver standing dish from 1618 and a large serpent-stem glass goblet from the late 17th century. Intricate works of rare materials such as these were highly sought after in Europe by wealthy individuals for their Kunstkammern, or “rooms of wonders.” The rise in popularity of these encyclopedic collections of distinctive objects, which might have included art, insect specimens, seashells, and fossils, among other things, coincided with the rise of global trade and the spread of European colonialism. The silver dish and the glass goblet, together with a 17th-century nautilus cup that was acquired in 2023, are being displayed in gallery 50 on the Main Floor of the West Building. The Dutch artist Willem Claesz Heda depicted this same ... More

The (very brief) return of Gastr del Sol
NEW YORK, NY.- In late January 2016, Akinobu Oda — a Japanese restaurateur and concert promoter — taped a red-and-black handbill demanding “Don’t disturb!!!” to the window of his vegan dive in Tokyo. The reason? The American art-rock band Gastr del Sol was dining inside. It had been 18 years since the duo split. During the late 1990s, David Grubbs and Jim O’Rourke enjoyed an intense and prolific partnership, working together in multiple groups and running the audacious label Dexter’s Cigar. But they hadn’t seen each other since 2002, communicating only through sporadic emails. In Tokyo, they were finally face to face. “Our breakup was hard, because what had started as a very easy collaboration wasn’t easy anymore,” Grubbs, 56, said during a recent video interview from his Brooklyn apartment, where he was surrounded on one side by rows of records ... More

Sandy Koufax's rookie-season Brooklyn Dodgers jersey realizes record-setting $1.8 million at Heritage Auctions
DALLAS, TX.- A century-old jersey worn by Walter Johnson, the Washington Senators pitcher who was among the first five inducted into baseball’s hall of fame, has one more story to tell: It sold at Heritage Auctions over the weekend for more than $2 million, a new record for the man Babe Ruth called “the best of them all.” Johnson’s button-down wool pinstripe with a small “W” stitched into each sleeve was among numerous game-worn, game-used items that made history during Heritage’s May 16-18 Spring Sports Catalog Auction, which realized $21,393,221. The right-handed hurler was joined by a veritable Murderer’s Row of fellow Hall of Famers, among them fellow pitcher Sandy Koufax, whose photo-matched rookie-season Brooklyn ... More

Uncut sheet of 'Pokémon' and 'Magic: The Gathering' cards brings record $375,000
DALLAS, TX.- A Magic: The Gathering/Pokémon Test Print Uncut Sheet with Notes (Wizards of the Coast) that was part of the sales pitch to extend the Pokémon game’s reach from Japan into the Western world sold for $375,000 to lead Heritage’s May 17-18 Trading Card Games Signature® Auction to $1,747,323. The final price, reached after 34 bids poured in, established a new world record for the most ever paid for an uncut sheet of cards from any trading card game. The auction’s top lot is hugely significant in trading card games history because it not only helped the growth of the Pokémon game, but also features cards from the two most popular trading card games in the world: Pokémon and Magic: The Gathering. Uncut sheets from either game are coveted by collectors, but to have both games on the same sheet is incredibly ... More

Review: The tragic story of 'An American Soldier' comes home
NEW YORK, NY.- Thirteen years have passed since Danny Chen, an Army private from New York, killed himself while serving in Afghanistan after experiencing brutal hazing and racist taunts from fellow soldiers. “An American Soldier,” the opera based on his story, has been seen in Washington, D.C., and St. Louis. But when the work had its run in Missouri, in 2018, Huang Ruo, its composer, and David Henry Hwang, its librettist, promised Chen’s family that they would try to bring it home to the city where he was born and raised. Last week, they succeeded, as “An American Soldier” was produced at the Perelman Performing Arts Center at the World Trade Center — just a mile or so from Chinatown, where Chen grew up and where a stretch of Elizabeth Street was renamed Private Danny Chen Way in 2014. In Chay Yew’s clearheaded production, ... More

After a wrenching bestseller, an author takes up her dream project
NEW YORK, NY.- Chanel Miller has wanted to be a children’s book author and illustrator since the second grade, when she started writing stories that her teacher, Mrs. Thomas, would laminate. But her first published book, despite being a bestseller and a winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award, was not at all what she’d wished for. It was a memoir about surviving sexual assault and its aftermath called “Know My Name.” Brock Turner, who had been a Stanford University swimmer, was found guilty of sexually assaulting Miller while she was unconscious after a party on campus in 2015. His sentence, six months in jail, was widely criticized as lenient, and a letter she read to the court at the sentencing hearing was published online and read in Congress. Now, after years trying to raise awareness about sexual assault and trauma, Miller ... More

In the Gallery: Martin Gayford on Georg Baselitz | White Cube

On a day like today, French painter Henri Rousseau was born
May 21, 1844. Henri Julien Félix Rousseau (May 21, 1844 - September 2, 1910) was a French post-impressionist painter in the Naïve or Primitive manner. He was also known as Le Douanier (the customs officer), a humorous description of his occupation as a toll and tax collector. He started painting seriously in his early forties; by age 49, he retired from his job to work on his art full-time. In this image: Henri Rousseau, known as The Douanier Rousseau (1844-1910) Le Rêve [The Dream], 1910, oil on canvas, 204.5 x 298.5 cm New York, The Museum of Modern Art, gift of Nelson A. Rockefeller, 252.1954 © 2016. Digital image, The Museum of Modern Art, New York / Scala, Florence.

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