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James Murdoch set to acquire large stake in Art Basel fairs

James Murdoch, chief executive of 21st Century Fox and son of Rupert Murdoch, the media mogul, at National Geographic's "Further Front" event in New York, April 19, 2017. Kevin Hagen/The New York Times.

by Scott Reyburn

NEW YORK (NYT NEWS SERVICE).- James Murdoch, son of billionaire media mogul Rupert Murdoch, is set to take a significant stake in MCH Group, the Swiss owners of the Art Basel fairs. Investment from James Murdoch’s company, Lupa Systems, will help transform the company from a traditional events business into one focused on “future-oriented platforms and communities,” MCH said in a statement Friday. If the move is approved at a meeting Aug. 3, Murdoch’s company will own about one-third of MCH’s shares, rising to a possible 44% controlling stake later, the statement added. Founded in 1970 by three gallerists in the Swiss city, Art Basel has grown into the world’s biggest and most prestigious international art fair business. Its flagship event in Basel in June, which last year attracted 93,000 visitors, has become the centerpiece of Europe’s summer art market calendar. Art Basel Hong Kong, typically held in March, has enabled Western dealers ... More

The Best Photos of the Day

Christie's reveal top lot in their Classic Week Evening sale   Lark Mason Associates Online Sale of Chinese Jades and Works of Art Realizes Over $600,000   Tate announces 2021 exhibition highlights

Sir Peter Paul Rubens, Portrait of a young woman, half-length, holding a chain oil on canvas, 33¾ x 26 in. (85.5 x 66 cm.) Estimate: £4,000,000-6,000,000. © Christie's Images Ltd 2020.

LONDON.- Christie’s London announced a new, expanded, hybrid Classic Week, a marquee series of 12 auctions to take place throughout the month of July 2020. Comprising eight on line sales, including a creative collaboration between Old Masters and Post War Art, Classic Week will also feature four live auctions culminating with an innovative new Classic Art Evening Sale: Antiquity to 20th Century on 29 July. The expanded Classic Week will celebrate craftsmanship and the story of creativity across time from antiquity to the 21st century, and across artistic media including Old Master and 19th Century Paintings, Drawings and Prints; Sculpture and Antiquities; Books and Manuscripts; and the full diversity of Decorative Arts. Karl Hermanns, Global Managing Director, Classic Art Group comments, “Christie’s Classic ... More

Chinese Liao Style Floriform 23 Karat Gold Box.

NEW BRAUNFELS, TX.- Just as COVID-19 started ramping up in March during Asia Week, Lark Mason decided to go against conventional wisdom and move forward with the first part of his online sale Asian works of art. The risk reward benefit for doing so resulted in record prices across the board. However, he postponed the second part of the sale– Important Chinese Jades and Works of Art from the Collection of Isidore Cohn, Jr, M.D. and Other Owners– to June. Ending on July 8th, the 56 select items sold realized $602,738, out of a total of 106 lots offered. The top lot was an 18th century Chinese Dark Green Jade Covered Censer, with a remarkable provenance from The International Exhibition of Chinese Art, which was illustrated in The Royal Academy, London catalogue no. 2858, in 1935-36. With an estimate of $25,000-40,000, the censer sold to a European buyer for $150,001. Other items fared equally well, including a 23-carat gold Liao S ... More

Installation view of Infinity Mirrored Room – Filled with the Brilliance of Life 2011/2017 at Tate Modern © Yayoi Kusama. Photo courtesy of Tate Photography.

LONDON.- Tate today announced highlights of its programme for 2021, including solo exhibitions of Philip Guston, Petrit Halilaj, Lubaina Himid, Yayoi Kusama, Paula Rego, Auguste Rodin and Sophie Taeuber-Arp. The year will also see newly commissioned works by Heather Phillipson, Emily Speed and Anicka Yi, as well as landmark exhibitions exploring Britain’s relationship with the Caribbean and Hogarth’s depictions of 18th century life. As announced last week, this autumn will see Turner’s Modern World and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye at Tate Britain, Zanele Muholi and Bruce Nauman at Tate Modern, Don McCullin at Tate Liverpool, and Haegue Yang at Tate St Ives. In addition, Tate Modern confirmed this week that its Andy Warhol exhibition will be extended for two more months and will now close on 15 November 2020, and that Ed Ruscha’s current ... More

British Museum reveal the British public have found 1.5m historical objects   Rare Kaurna shield added to Art Gallery of South Australia's collection   Collectors out in force in Sotheby's $411 million Hong Kong sales

Papal bulla being held by the finder Andy Bassett. Photo Andy Bassett.

LONDON.- The British public have discovered many hundreds of thousands of archaeological objects, and today the British Museum reveals that the number recorded to its Portable Antiquities Scheme has hit a milestone 1.5 million. These finds have radically transformed what we know about life through time on the British Isles. The British Museum’s Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) was first set up in 1997 so that archaeological objects found by the public can be recorded to help advance our knowledge of past. It reached 1.5 million object records on Wednesday. The item that helped cross this historic milestone was a medieval lead papal bulla (a seal for authorising papal documents, such as edicts and indulgencies) of Pope Innocent IV (r.1243-54), that was found in Shropshire. All the discoveries on the PAS database since its inception 23 years ago have been made by members of the public. Most of them are found buried in the ground by ... More

Senior Kaurna man Mickey Kumatpi O’Brien and Artistic Director, Tarnanthi and Curator of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art, Nici Cumpston next to the Murlapaka (shield), made by Kaurna people in the 19th century. Photo: Saul Steed.

ADELAIDE.- The Morrison Government has announced $100,000 to support the acquisition of a rare 19th century Murlapaka (also spelt Mulubakka) shield, attributed to the Kaurna people from the Adelaide Plains, by the Art Gallery of South Australia. Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts, the Hon Paul Fletcher MP, said the Government is pleased to support this important acquisition, which is the first shield of its kind to join the Gallery’s collection. “The Art Gallery of South Australia has a close relationship with the Kaurna community established over many years through ongoing connection with community and an artist-led approach to acquisitions. This shield will be a visual reminder for all visitors to the gallery that they are on Kaurna land,” said Minister ... More

Zhu Da (Bada Shanren; 1626 - 1705), Rock, Bamboo and Ducks. Ink on silk, hanging scroll, 97.2 x 77.3 cm. Est: HK$1,000,000 – 1,500,000 / US$129,000 – 193,000. Courtesy Sotheby's.

HONG KONG.- Sotheby’s concluded its spring sales series in Hong Kong, with 3,794 lots sold across 17 auctions conducted over seven days at the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre for a grand total of HK$3.22 billion / US$411 million – the seven consecutive Hong Kong series to exceed US$400 million (Estimate: HK$2.28 – 3.32 billion / US$291.1 – 424 million). Kevin Ching, CEO of Sotheby’s Asia, said: “Hot on the heels of our ground-breaking live-streamed flagship New York sales that demonstrated the market to be vibrant and well, our rescheduled Spring sales in Hong Kong produced robust results and exceptional performance across all categories. This is a true testament to Sotheby’s market leading position in Asia for five consecutive seasons.” Patti Wong, Chairman of Sotheby’s Asia, said: “Our highly successful sales ... More

New York's Met Opera to host virtual concert series   UNESCO 'deeply regrets' Turkey's conversion of Hagia Sophia into mosque   Alexander and Bonin opens an online presentation of works by Willie Cole

In this file photo taken on July 05, 2015 , tenor Jonas Kaufmann (R), as Don José and lyric soprano Inva Mula (L) as Micaela, perform during the rehearsal of the opera "Carmen" by Georges Bizet. BORIS HORVAT / AFP.

NEW YORK (AFP).- Several of opera's biggest stars beamed in from around the world on Saturday to announce the Metropolitan Opera's latest virtual initiative amid the coronavirus outbreak. The New York opera house, which suspended live performances in March, plans a dozen pay-per-view concerts through mid-December featuring leading singers from around the world. Tickets will cost $20. The series kicks off on July 18 with German tenor Jonas Kaufmann at the Polling Abbey outside Munich performing some of opera's greatest hits including "Nessun dorma" from Puccini's "Turandot" and popular arias from "Tosca" and "Carmen." Others performances include American soprano Renee Fleming at the Dumbarton Oaks Museum in Washington in August and Russian soprano Anna Netrebko from the Liechtenstein Palace in Vienna. Details about ... More

People gather in front of Hagia Sophia on July 11, 2020 in Istanbul, a day after a top Turkish court revoked the sixth-century Hagia Sophia's status as a museum, clearing the way for it to be turned back into a mosque. Ozan KOSE / AFP.

PARIS (AFP).- The UN's cultural agency UNESCO Friday said it deeply regretted Turkey's decision to turn the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul from a museum into a mosque, lamenting there had been no prior dialogue on the status of the former Byzantine cathedral. UNESCO chief Audrey Azoulay "deeply regrets the decision of the Turkish authorities, taken without prior dialogue, to modify the status of the Hagia Sophia," the UN agency said in a statement, It added that she had expressed her concern to the Turkish ambassador to the body. The Hagia Sophia was first a cathedral, then made into mosque after the conquest of Istanbul by the Ottomans, but then a secular museum for all in modern Turkey. It is inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage site as part of an area of the city designated as "Historic Areas of Istanbul." UNESCO warned that the move risked harming the universal nature ... More

Willie Cole, Woman in Heels, 2019. Bronze, 70 x 25 x 30 in/177.8 x 63.5 x 76.2 cm base: 18 x 36 x 36 in/45.72 x 91.44 x 91.44 cm. Photo: Joerg Lohse. Image courtesy of Alexander and Bonin, New York.

NEW YORK, NY.- Alexander and Bonin announces an online presentation of sculpture, painting and works on paper by Willie Cole. The selection of works span the artist’s career and reflect his complex relationship with his materials. Mass-produced consumer products have been a consistent and powerful component of Willie Cole’s work since the mid 1980s. Cole transforms these symbols of Western consumerism into artworks that incorporate both explicit and indirect references to African arts, cultures and mythologies. Repetition is an important method of transformation for the artist, as he explains: “…repetition in a single piece has to do with reducing the object or its image to its smallest component. If I had a thousand of any given object, I know I could make anything, because I no longer see that thing for what it is. I see it as a molecule, a particle, or a fractal.” 1 By displacing a Western commodity ... More

Academy Museum announces six new trustees   Swords and sorcery, a freak and a little 'Peanuts' score $1.4 million in Heritage Auctions event   Phillips announces limited-edition artist-designed face masks

The board oversees the organization’s strategic vision, maintains its financial health, and ensures the institution fulfills its mission to create the preeminent motion picture museum for film lovers. Photo: Joshua White. JW Pictures/© Academy Museum Foundation.

LOS ANGELES, CA.- The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures today announced the addition of six new members to its Board of Trustees: Patricia S. Bellinger, Arnaud Boetsch, Olivier de Givenchy, Ray Halbritter, Ryan Murphy, and Regina K. Scully. As the governing body of the Academy Museum, the board oversees the organization’s strategic vision, maintains its financial health, and ensures the institution fulfills its mission to create the preeminent motion picture museum for film lovers. Ron Meyer, board chair and vice chairman of NBCUniversal, said, “We are thrilled to welcome these six remarkable leaders to our board of trustees. Their achievements in their respective fields demonstrate the passion and leadership that they will contribute to the Academy Museum. We look forward to working ... More

And Frank Frazetta’s 1975 work titled, simply, Nude Woman on Horseback garnered $31,200.

DALLAS, TX.- For a second day, an auction filled with original comic art was as thrilling as anything DC or Marvel has ever published. And by sale’s end, another $1,414,680 had been spent on some of the finest art to be had no matter the medium or maker. Friday’s fourth session in Heritage Auctions’ Comics & Comic Art event marked the halfway point in a signature auction that wraps Sunday. And with two days left, already the sale has realized $7,126,216 following blockbuster buys in the comics, comic art and video game categories, including a world record set Friday morning for the most money ever paid for a single video game. Session 4 was devoted solely to original comic art and illustrations, almost every single one of which – again – sold for well over pre-auction estimates. If ever one needed proof that the line between fine art and comic art has been erased, here it is – especially as an increasingly popular icon (and iconoclast) again rose to the top of a list f ... More

Fabricated in collaboration with Citizens of Humanity, each mask is made from 100% cotton and is washable and reusable. The masks are available in packs of 3 for $75, featuring all three or a single design.

NEW YORK, NY.- Phillips announces the debut limited-edition face masks designed by leading contemporary artists the Haas Brothers, Summer Wheat and Bel Fullana. Each mask will be produced in an edition of 500 available exclusively on beginning on July 15. A portion of the proceeds will go towards a nonprofit of the artists’ choice with the Haas Brothers benefiting The Bass Museum, Summer Wheat benefiting Artadia and The Innocence Project; and Bel Fullana benefiting NAACP. "We're thrilled to present these artist-designed masks as well as to support vital nonprofits and arts organizations during this unprecedented time," says Miety Heiden, Phillips Head of Private Sales and Phillips X, Phillips’ selling exhibition platform. "These unique masks showcase the work of some of the most compelling ... More

More News
Marga Richter, composer in a male-dominated era, dies at 93
NEW YORK (NYT NEWS SERVICE).- Marga Richter, a prolific composer whose determination to be heard in a male-dominated field once led her to rent Merkin Concert Hall to stage a program of her own works, died June 25 at her home in Barnegat, New Jersey. She was 93. Her biographer, Sharon Mirchandani, reported the death. Richter, born into a musical family, wrote almost 200 works, for orchestra, chorus, small ensembles, voice and more, in a career that began in the 1940s and continued until late in her life. She made an impression while still in her mid-20s. “Miss Richter’s works were restless, inventive, dissonant, clean, and her intentions seemed to be well realized,” read a brief review in The New York Times when her compositions were featured in a Composers’ Forum concert at Columbia University in 1951. The review added, ... More

Ghana library showcases black and African literature
ACCRA (AFP).- A small group of visitors waits eagerly at the entrance to a single-storey building in Ghana's capital Accra, looking to explore the literary treasure inside. This is the Library of Africa and the African Diaspora -- a passion project launched by Ghanaian-British writer Sylvia Arthur. Based around Arthur's personal book collection, the library provides a remarkable opportunity to bring literature from the global black community to a country considered a cradle of African civilisation, and which was once a hub of the transatlantic slave trade. "Our work has been neglected, it's not been showcased, it's not been respected, it's not been archived and that's the purpose of this library," Arthur said as she guided her visitors around. The library was founded in 2017 when Arthur moved to Ghana after working in Europe. It was renamed and relaunched ... More

Theater artists of color enumerate demands for change
NEW YORK (NYT NEWS SERVICE).- Rename half of all Broadway theaters. Impose term limits for theater industry leaders. Require that at least half the members of casts and creative teams be made up of people of color. A coalition of theater artists, known by the title of its first statement, “We See You, White American Theater,” has posted online a 29-page set of demands that, if adopted, would amount to a sweeping restructuring of the theater ecosystem in America. The coalition, made up of Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) theatermakers, has declined to make anyone available to answer questions and says on its website that it has no leadership or spokesperson. “We understand the desire for individual interviews, but this is a collective movement and it would not be appropriate for any of us to speak on behalf of the all,” ... More

Six new hires join Lucas Museum of Narrative Art staff in leadership roles
LOS ANGELES, CA.- The Lucas Museum of Narrative Art today announced that six outstanding professionals have joined the staff in new leadership positions: Pilar Tompkins Rivas, chief curator and deputy director of curatorial and collections; Nenette Luarca-Shoaf, managing director of learning and engagement; Amanda Hunt, director of public programs and creative practice; Anais Disla, director of special events; Larissa Gentile, managing director of special projects; and Erica Neal, director of computing and infrastructure. These positions will guide critical programmatic and operational areas for the Lucas Museum, which is currently under construction in Los Angeles’s Exposition Park. “Since I started in January, we have been building the extraordinary physical structure of the Lucas Museum,” said Sandra Jackson-Dumont, director and ... More

Super Mario Bros. sets $114,000 video game world record at Heritage Auctions
DALLAS, TX.- The highest-graded copy of Super Mario Bros. ever sold broke the world record for the most ever paid for any video game when it brought a winning bid of $114,000 in the third session of Heritage Auctions' Comics & Comic Art event July 10. The new video games benchmark set by Super Mario Bros. - Wata 9.4 A+ Sealed [Hangtab, 3 Code, Mid-Production], NES Nintendo 1985 USA led the total for the session to $699,648, against a pre-auction estimate of $428,000. The game is the highest seller on the NES console and the first in the Super Mario Bros. series. This unopened copy of this NES launch title soared to record heights in part because it was part of one of the short production runs of the game packaged in boxes with a cardboard hangtab underneath the plastic, an indication that it was part of one of the first variants ... More

Fantastic collection of banknotes with errors achieves £8,450 at Dix Noonan Webb
LONDON.- A fascinating collection of banknotes with errors sold for £8,450 in International coins, medals, banknotes and jewellery specialists Dix Noonan Webb’s live /online auction of British, Irish and World Banknotes on Wednesday, June 24, 2020. The 36 lots of Banknotes auction dating from the 1950s to the 1980s had either part of the Queen’s face missing, folds, mismatched serial numbers, missing serial numbers or ink errors fetched £7,526. The most expensive example was two miscut £20 notes from 1999 which fetched £1,054 – double its estimate [lot 32]. The second part of the Yves Cataroche Collection of Guernsey attracted as much interest as the first, with a fine example of a £1 dated 1924 selling for an impressive £5,208, against an estimate of £1,000- 1,500 [lot 305], while the cancelled £1,000,000 Treasury Bill, sold for £5,456 [lot 63]. ... More

11th Seoul Mediacity Biennale postponed to 2021
SEOUL.- As a precautionary measure in response to the contained yet persistent reemergence of Covid-19 infections in Seoul and its vicinity since early May, the Seoul Metropolitan Government has closed all public facilities, including museums, until further notice. In light of this development, as well as the need to guarantee the safety of all personnel involved in the preparation of the 11th Seoul Mediacity Biennale, SeMA (Seoul Museum of Art), together with the biennale team, has decided to postpone this year’s edition to September 2021. New dates and other information will be announced soon. Titled One Escape at a Time, the biennale was originally scheduled to take place at SeMA and other venues across Seoul from September 8 to November 22, 2020. Please visit and subscribe to our mailing list to receive the latest ... More

Tania El Khoury and Ziad Abu-Rish to Lead New M.A. Program in Human Rights and the Arts
ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, NY.- Bard College announced today the appointment of Tania El Khoury as Distinguished Artist in Residence of Theater and Performance and Ziad Abu-Rish as Visiting Associate Professor of Human Rights. Together they will lead a pioneering Master of Arts program in Human Rights and the Arts, planned to commence in Fall 2021. Designed by Bard’s Human Rights Program, the Fisher Center at Bard, and the Central European University, and launched through the Open Society University Network (OSUN), the interdisciplinary program will bring together scholars, artists, and activists from around the world to explore the highly-charged relation between artistic practices and struggles for truth and justice. The appointments deepen Bard’s relationship with El Khoury and Abu-Rish, both of whom were visiting faculty at the college ... More

James Harrison, music professor and piano lover, dies at 84
NEW YORK (NYT NEWS SERVICE).- The piano was at the center of James Harrison’s life. For his classes in music theory at Hunter College in New York City, he did a great deal of teaching while sitting at it, playing musical excerpts as he explained the inner workings of harmony and counterpoint. A Steinway grand piano was the centerpiece of Harrison’s home in Palisades, New Jersey. He turned a commodious room with strikingly tall ceilings into an inviting, acoustically lively space. He hosted regular informal performances there, inviting instrumentalists and singers to make music for gatherings of 20 or so friends. Harrison died May 24 at a rehabilitation facility in Cresskill, New Jersey, of complications of COVID-19, his daughter, Laura Harrison, said. He was 84. James Stanley Harrison was born on Aug. 29, 1935, in St. Louis to Stanley Leonard ... More

Football comes home after 127 days: National Football Museum reopens 23 July
MANCHESTER.- The National Football Museum will reopen on Thursday 23 July – more than four months after it closed due to the coronavirus crisis. The museum is the first major attraction to reopen in Manchester and is among the first museums in the country to welcome visitors once again. Visitors can expect a safe and warm reception as the museum gets back in the game after 127 days behind closed doors. Initially, opening days will be Thursday to Sunday 11am – 4pm. Online bookings will be encouraged to safely manage visitor flow. Visitors will be reassured to find a one-way system, plenty of hand sanitizer stations and social distancing measures all in place. The museum’s friendly staff are also trained and on-hand to help everyone enjoy their visit safely. Tim Desmond, Chief Executive National Football Museum, said: “We’re ... More

New public art in Alexandria frames 300 years of African American history
ALEXANDRIA, VA.- The City of Alexandria presents its newest public art installation, Wrought, Knit, Labors, Legacies, in Alexandria’s Waterfront Park (1 Prince St.). This new temporary installation by Olalekan Jeyifous is the second in the Site See: New Views in Old Town annual public art series, and will be on display through November 2020. It follows SOFTlab’s 2019 Mirror Mirror installation. Wrought, Knit, Labors, Legacies frames Alexandria’s African American history through the lens of the city’s merchant and manufacturing industries of the 17th to 20th centuries. Once a prosperous port city that was home to one of the largest domestic slave-trading firms in the country, Alexandria was a major center for shipping and manufacturing with an economy inextricably tied to the labor of ... More

Visions of Nature in 19th-Century Ceramics | Insider Insights

On a day like today, Italian painter Amedeo Modigliani was born
July 12, 1884. Amedeo Clemente Modigliani (12 July 1884 - 24 January 1920) was an Italian-Jewish painter and sculptor who worked mainly in France. He is known for portraits and nudes in a modern style characterized by elongation of faces, necks, and figures that were not received well during his lifetime but later found acceptance. In this image: Amedeo Modigliani, Reclining Nude (Céline Howard), 1918, Private collection, Geneva.

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