Elizabeth Taylor's $11 Million Van Gogh Heads to Christie's, Parsing Michael Kimmelman's Debut as NYT Architecture Critic, and More Must-Read Art News

Elizabeth Taylor's $11 Million Van Gogh Heads to Christie's, Parsing Michael Kimmelman's Debut as NYT Architecture Critic, and More Must-Read Art News
Vincent van Gogh's "Vue de l'Asile et de la Chapelle de Saint-Remy," 1889
(Courtesy of Wikipaintings)

Liz Taylor's Go-Go Van Gogh: The Christie's auction house has added more fuel to the frenzy over the coming Elizabeth Taylor auction by revealing that the mid-December sale will include Vincent van Gogh's lovely "Vue de l'Asile et de la Chapelle de Saint-Remy," a 1889 landscape that the actress's art dealer father bought for her in 1963. The painting, which was tangled in a restitution case until a court ruling cleared it in 2007, carries a high estimate just shy of $11 million. Another highlight of the auction will be a 33.19-carat emerald-cut diamond, given to her by Richard Burton, which is estimated to sell for as much as $3 million. [Bloomberg]

Kimmelman Debuts as NYT Architecture Critic: In appointing longtime chief art critic Michael Kimmelman to the architecture beat, a New York Times editor praised him for his ability to turn art criticism into page-one news. Well, today Kimmelman published his first column in the new gig — smack dab in the middle of page one (albeit below the fold). And what glamorous topic does it concern? The opening of Via Verde, a new South Bronx housing project erected by a non-famous consortium of developers and architects that "makes as good an argument as any new building in the city for the cultural and civic value of architecture." As a first outing, the column seems to promise an intention to write meaningfully about architecture within the framework of social issues and big ideas — in other words, page-one criticism. [NYT]



Occupy Wall Street Infiltrates Sotheby's: In solidarity with Sotheby's locked-out union art handlers, nine protesters from Occupy Wall Street infiltratedthe auction house's contemporary sale last week and stood up, one byone, to condemn the corporation for locking out its workers despiterecord profits. Security promptly escorted the protesters out of thesalesroom. Click through for a video of the debacle. [Hyperallergic]


MFA Boston's New Wing: The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, opened its new Linde Family Wing for Contemporary Art over the weekend. Following hot on the heels of its recent art of the Americas addition, the contemporary gallery features a 12,000-square-foot central space filled with 240 works from the museum's permanent collection, including major pieces by Roni Horn, Andy Warhol, and Tony Smith. [Press Release]

– Full Performa 11 Calendar Released: The well-lovedperformance biennial has released its full — and massive — schedule ofevents. Highlights include the kickoff performance "Happy Days in theArt World" by Elmgreen & Dragset, a Beckett-esque adaptation of Sarah Thornton's novel "Seven Days in the Art World," and Rashaad Newsome's "medieval-style rap joust." Other participating artists include Spartacus Chetwynd, Jonathan Meese, Laurel Nakadate, and James Franco. [Press Release]

Peeking at the Met's New Islamic Galleries: Randy Kennedy previews the Metropolitan Museum of Art'sdecade-in-the-making, 19,000-square-foot Islamic art galleries, to beunveiled November 1. The museum, he says, pulled out "most of thestops" for the project, which cost $50 million: it imported highlyrespected artisans to build a Maghrebi-Andalusian-style courtyard,employed textile conservators for more than three years to restore arenowned 16th-century Iranian rug, and remodeled former offices andrestrooms to give the galleries more breathing room. It also made thesomewhat controversial decision to display art that depicts the Prophet Muhammad. "We hope that it does not become a lightning-rod issue," said director Thomas P. Campbell. [NYT

Court Allows Met to Keep Cezanne Portrait: A Manhattan court has ruled that the Met is the rightful owner of Paul Cezanne's "Portrait of Madame Cezanne" (1891). The plaintiff, Pierre Konowaloff,alleged the painting was forcefully taken by the Bolsheviks in 1918from his great-grandfather; the court refused to question the validityof the state's action, which was part of a larger nationalization ofprivate property after the Russian Revolution. [Observer]

White Cube Goes South: Jay Jopling's gallery is to open its third London venue on October 12th in Bermondsey, South London. It will occupy a 1970s warehouse refurbished by London and Berlin-based Casper Mueller Kneer Architects, and include three main gallery spaces, an auditorium, and a bookshop. White Cube Bermondsey will be inaugurated by a group show, "Structure & Absence," looking at contemporary abstraction through the works of Andreas Gursky, Damien Hirst, and Gabriel Orozco, among others. [Press Release]

$80,000 in Art Stolen from Canadians: Thieves have made off with pieces displayed in federal offices, airports, and universities, revealed the Canada Council for the Arts. The works were part of the Canada Council Art Bank, the largest collection of contemporary Canadian art in the world, which rents artworks to public buildings. Canada Council Art Bank's director Victoria Henry has pointed out that only 201 pieces have been lost or stolen since the art bank opened in 1972. "It's a pretty good record," she said. [CTV]

An Artists' Hospital in Ivory Coast: Last Friday William Aimon, the president of the Foundation for Ivorian Artists (Foundaci), announced the construction of a clinic dedicated to the welfare of Ivorian artists. The clinic will be called "Cliniques des arts Dominique Ouattara," after the nation's First Lady. Building work will start before the end of October, Aimon has promised. Costs are estimated at 100 million Fcfa ($205,287), without equipment. [News Abidjan]

$14 Million Paid for Indian Art: Online auctions held on September 21 and 22 by Mumbai-based company Saffronart fetched $4.1 million, with works by Tyeb Mehta and Jehangir Sabavala reaching far more than their estimates, and 70 percent of the lots selling above their high estimates. The sale follows auctions of Indian art by Sotheby's and Christie's International last week, which fetched a total of $9.7 million.[Bloomberg]

Dutch Artist Wins Creative Time Award: The $25,000 Leonore Annenberg Prize for Art and Social Change went to Jeanne van Heeswijk, rewarding the artist fore "instigating social awareness and harnessing the communicative power of art to engage communities around important public issues." [Mediabistro]

RIP Stephen Mueller, Color Field Painter: The New Yorkpainter took inspiration from tantric art, Indian and Persianminiatures, and Mexican ceramics to create his "jazzed-up yet serene"color field paintings. Mueller's work is represented in the collectionsof the Whitney, the Brooklyn Museum, and the Denver Art Museum, among others. He was 63. [NYT]

RIP Beatles Photographer Robert Whitaker: Whitaker's pictures included the controversial album cover for the Beatles' "Yesterday and Today," which featured pork meat, dolls, and fake eyes and teeth. The photographer also covered the war in Cambodia and Vietnam, and the Pakistan-Bangladeshi conflict in the 1970s. [BBC]