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AND THAT’S A WRAP. The last big New York evening sales of the week were held last night at Christie’s, where auctions devoted to 20th and 21st century art brought in $421 million, Daniel Cassady reports in ARTnews. Both auctions suffered from “cautious buyers, and a form of auction overkill, which caused many lots to sell for hammer prices that hovered comfortably around their low estimates,” he writes. Yet the sales still managed to bring records for Noah Davis, Rashid Johnson, and Njideka Akunyili Crosby, and the auctions did manage to bring a certain level of intrigue when works by Willem de Kooning and Jean-Michel Basquiat underperformed. Even though there are day sales still remaining, Christie’s has brought in well over $2 billion in the past two weeks alone.
O CANADA. The Winnipeg-based artist Divya Mehra is the winner of the Sobey Art Award, Canada’s top art prize, the CBC reports. Among Mehra’s most attention-grabbing projects was one that, in 2020, saw the MacKenzie Art Gallery in Regina return a sculpture to India that her research revealed as having been looted. She will now take home CAD$100,000 (USD$75,000). In the Globe and Mail, scholar Charlie Wall-Andrews bemoaned the state of Canadian arts organizations, writing, “Diversity may be one of Canada’s best qualities, but it’s not one the Canadian arts can take credit for.” And in Art in America, Charlene K. Lau reviewed the Art Gallery of Ontario’s retrospective for Denyse Thomasos, whose work was a standout in editions of the Toronto Biennial of Art and the Whitney Biennial earlier this year.
Certain members of Hilma af Klint’s family are not pleased with a new NFT initiative featuring her work that Pharrell Williams played a part in creating. The family members say that the NFTs go against what her work stood for. [The Art Newspaper]
Anselm Kiefer got the profile treatment and talked about his cross-country, two-part Gagosian show. “I put the contemporary together with the depths of history,” he said. [The New York Times]
Jorge M. Pérez, a recurring figure on the ARTnews Top 200 Collectors list, donated $1 million and a painting by Fernando Botero to the Tampa Museum of Art in Florida. [Tampa Bay Times]
Artist Thomas McKean has been using MetroCards in his art for years. But as more and more people go digital to pay subway fare, his practice may now be in trouble. [The New York Times]
It’s almost time for Art Basel Miami Beach, and that means that companies around the city are beefing up their security with the aim of being able to host celebrities. [The Daily Beast]
Zoé Samudzi had some harsh words for the traveling Philip Guston retrospective, which “created a one-dimensional portrait of Guston as a mere recorder of violence rather than someone who recognized the multidimensionality of his victimization and complicity,” she writes. [Jewish Currents]
GO TO HELL. No, seriously, you could, in a way, if you visit Singapore’s Haw Par Villa, which is home to an entire museum devoted to the 10 Courts of Hell. CNN ventured inside the institution, which is meant to allow visitors to explore what happens after death according to Buddhist lore. Although the museum is filled with memorable visions of punishment and forms of violence, kids can be found there, enjoying what’s on offer. The Haw Par Villa doesn’t exclusively focus on hell, however, but according to some, it’s all some people come there for. Jeya Ayadurai, the historian who helped envision the museum last year, said, “Every time you spoke about Haw Par Villa, people just wanted to talk about the 10 Courts.”