This Week’s 10 Most Important Art News Stories

01

Frieze week auctions brought in big returns, with Sotheby’s 20th-century Italian art and Contemporary art auctions fetching $118.8 million, Christie’s Post-War and Contemporary Evening Sale amassing $54.5 million, and Phillips Contemporary art sale bringing in $47.9 million. Lucio Fontana’s Concetto spaziale, La fine di Dio (1963) broke the record for a work by a Post-War Italian artist with a sale of $24,676,668 at Sotheby’s. Phillips sold 100 percent of its lots, with Cy Twombly’s Untitled (2006) taking the top spot at $12 million. At Christie’s, Peter Doig’s top lot, Cabin Essence (1993), fetched $14.6 million. (via ArtInfo, ARTnews)


02

After reviewing “ample circumstantial evidence,” a judge has ruled that the two lawsuits against the Knoedler & Company gallery will be going to trial in January. The gallery and its owners are accused of knowingly selling 32 forged Modernist masterworks over the course of 15 years, before the gallery shuttered its doors in 2011. (via the New York Times)


03

Jeffrey Deitch and Larry Gagosian have announced plans to collaborate for the first time on an exhibition in Miami this December. “Unrealism,” set to open December 1st and run throughout Art Basel in Miami Beach, will focus on figurative painting and sculpture, featuring work by artists such as John Currin, Elizabeth Peyton,  and Urs Fischer. (via the New York Times)


04

Iconic German photographer Hilla Becher died this week at the age of 81. A longtime instructor at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, Becher also won the 2002 Erasmus Prize and the 2014 Grand Prize for Culture of the Sparkasse Cultural Foundation of the Rhineland. Known for the black and white photography she created in collaboration with her husband, Bernd, she has participatedin multiple editions of Documenta, and had retrospectives at MoMA and ICA London, among others. (via the New York Times) 


05

A “Diversity in the Arts” study published by the University of Maryland’s DeVos Institute of Arts Management reports a grim economic state for African-American and Latino nonprofit arts centers in the U.S. The report shows that when black or Latino exhibitions are held at large, mainstream organizations, smaller nonprofits face the consequences in diminishing donations and attendance. A possible solution, according to the study, is for donors to give larger grants to a smaller number of institutions. (via the L.A. Times)


06

Ai Weiwei signed a book deal this week with Crown Publishing Group to publish his first memoir. The book, set for release in spring 2017, promises to tell the story of recent Chinese cultural history through the lens of both the artist’s and his father’s lives. (via the New York Times)


07

Joleen and Mitch Julis have given the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden a $2 million donation—the largest gift from an individual that the museum has received. The gift is to be used for the integration of technology into programming, in addition to the creation of the “Future Fund” for a renovation of the museum’s sculpture garden and lobby. (via The Washington Post)


08

An exhibition of work by Dominique Goblet and Kai Pfeiffer has been prematurely removed from display at St. Petersburg’s Nabokov Museum, due to a request from the University of St. Petersburg, which oversees the museum. A part of the international festival Boomfest, the show was first conspicuously censored by the artists after the museum director expressed concerns about the prevalence of nudity in the illustrations, which depict a 50-year-old woman’s fantasies of naked men in a “garden of paradise.” (via The Moscow Times)


09

A group calling itself “The Arabian Street Artists” achieved an unusually high-profile expression of their discontentment with the show Homeland this week, scrawling “Homeland is racist,” “Homeland is a joke, and it didn’t make us laugh,” and other critical messages across the walls of a fictional Syrian refugee camp in the most recent episode. Hired by the show to make the set more realistic, the trio took it as an opportunity to convey the misrepresentations present in the show. Co-creator of the show Alex Gansa, has stated that while they wish they had caught the messages before the episode aired, they “admire this act of artistic sabotage.” (via Hyperallergic)


10

ArtPrize has announced this year’s winners. The seventh edition of the competition sees Loveless PhotoFiber’s Northwood Awakening (2015) winning the public vote grand prize, and Kate Gilmore’s Higher Ground (2015) winning the juried grand prize, with each prize winner receiving $200,000. (via Artforum)



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