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This Week’s 10 Most Important Art News Stories
Work by Ugo Rondinone installed in Gladstone Gallery’s booth at Art Basel in Miami Beach, 2015. Photo by Oriol Tarridas for Artsy.

Work by Ugo Rondinone installed in Gladstone Gallery’s booth at Art Basel in Miami Beach, 2015. Photo by Oriol Tarridas for Artsy.

01

Art Basel in Miami Beach kicked off this week to much fanfare and warm reviews. The vernissage of the fair’s 14th edition offered a welcome change of pace, with the buying frenzy of previous years giving way slightly. Sales were steady but fell mostly under $100,000, with New York’s Van De Weghe Fine Art reporting the top number thus far—$10.5 million—for a Francis Bacon. Highlights included booths by Mathew, Peres Projects, and Esther Schipper as well as artists Sam Anderson, Trisha Baga, and Park McArthur. (via Artsy)

02

The Chinese art auction market is slowing down, reflecting the country’s recent economic deceleration. As reported by Bloomberg, Christie’s Hong Kong Asian 20th Century and Contemporary Evening sales for the past three years have decreased from HK$935 million in November 2013 to HK$507.9 million ($66 million) this year. The downwards trend didn’t stop Sanyu’s Vase of Chrysanthemums on a Yellow Table (c. 1940s) from going for more than triple its high estimate of HK$15 million ($1.94 million), bringing in HK$46 million ($5.97 million) as the evening’s top lot. (via Bloomberg)

03

After vandalizing some of the works on display in the Wexner Center for the Arts and firing multiple shots, a former Ohio State employee took his own life on the upper level of the Columbus, Ohio center. No one else was injured, and information regarding the damaged artworks has not yet been released. (via The Columbus Dispatch)

04

The Knoedler Gallery and collector John Howard have reached a settlement in their lawsuit over the forged Willem de Kooning the gallery sold the collector for $4 million—though the terms of the agreement are confidential. One of ten lawsuits brought against the gallery after it sold some $60 million in fake artwork, the Howard case is now one of five that has been settled before trial. (via the Art Newspaper)

05

This week has seen a number of changes in representation: Hauser & Wirth has taken over the Estate of David Smith; Andrea Rosen Gallery now represents Simon Fujiwara; Penelope Umbrico is now represented by Bruce Silverstein; Richard Taittinger Gallery has assumed the representation of Frances Goodman. (via baerfaxt)

06

According to an analysis in the New York Times, we are witnessing an intentional improvement in the institutional representation of black artists, with museums finally recognizing the the important role that black artists played in 20th century Art History. As collectors rush to pick up pieces by long overlooked black artists, the auction market is also showing similar change, though slower and more sporadically. Ultimately, focusing simply on the numbers obscures broader issues about race and art. As Studio Museum in Harlem director Thelma Golden reminds us, “What we need to continue to understand is that the exhibition and collection of this work is not a special initiative, or a fad, but a fundamental part of museums’ missions — and that progress is not simply about numbers, but understanding this work, in the context of art history and museum practice, as essential.” (via the New York Times)

07

It took six hours of negotiations on Tuesday for Danh Vō and Bert Kreuk to finally settle their year-long dispute over a commissioned artwork. The final agreement, which was settled upon in an appeals court in The Hague, is that installation artist will not have to create the work that Kreuk commissioned in 2013 for $350,000—likewise, Kreuk does not need to pay Vō. Both parties have also adamantly stated that they will have nothing to do with each other in the future. (via the New York Times)

08

Jinge Art Gallery’s feminist art exhibition was shut down by Beijing authorities this week before it even opened. The show, scheduled to coincide with the UN’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, was due to feature the work of 64 Chinese artists and to focus on ongoing attempts to eliminate violence against women. But just hours before the opening, the gallery’s doors were bolted shut. Curator Cui Guangxia believes authorities were made uneasy by the subject and size of the exhibition. (via the Guardian)

09

An Amsterdam District Court has upheld De Appel’s decision to fire its former director Lorenzo Benedetti this past September. The museum’s decision caused an outcry from the art world, with over 600 artists and curators signing a petition in support of Benedetti, apparently to no effect. Following the court’s ruling, the former director will not receive any severance pay. (via Artforum)

10

In an anti-advertisement campaign in protest of the COP21 Climate Conference, 600 posters displaying work from over 80 artists have been plastered throughout Paris in an act of “brand vandalism.” The unauthorized posters, a part of the Brandalism Project, feature work by Paul Insect, Know Hope, and Alex One, among others, and present visual challenges to authority and advertising companies. (via My Modern Met)