Diego Rivera Bombs at Auction, Are Budget Cuts to Blame for Museum Crime Wave?, and More Must-Read Art News

Diego Rivera Bombs at Auction, Are Budget Cuts to Blame for Museum Crime Wave?, and More Must-Read Art News
Sotheby's New York
(Courtesy Getty Images)

– Wifredo Lam Sets New Record at Sotheby's, But Rivera Bombs Big Time: The Cuban surrealist's 1944 canvas "Idolo" fetched $4.56 million at last night's Latin American sale at Sotheby's, more than doubling the artist's previous auction record. Lam's was among nine new artist records set at the sale, which achieved a total of $21.8 million, the house's highest-ever result for an evening sale of Latin American art. There was, however, one very big disappointment: The top lot, a painting by Diego Rivera expected to sell for up to $6 million, failed to find a buyer. [Reuters]

– Are Budget Cuts to Blame for Museum Thefts?: In the wake of high-profile art thefts in BritainGreece, and elsewhere, experts are asking whether waves of budget and staff cuts have made museums more vulnerable to crime. Still others attribute the thefts — many of which target Chinese artifacts — to the flurry of publicity surrounding the demand and high prices for certain works. [BBC]

– Heat on Whitney Over Sotheby's Auction Grows: In the latest of a series of satirical pranks targeting the institution, the Whitney Museum of American Art was again hit this morning by activists issuing a fake press release in its name. This time, the object of the attack was the museum's rumored partnership with Sotheby's on a charity auction to raise money for its new headquarters. The popular blog Art Fag City has recently initiated a call to artists not to participate until Sotheby's resolves its grievances with its locked-out art handlers. [ITA]

– Street Artist and Alleged Brooklyn Bomber Freed: Takeshi Miyakawa, the Brooklyn-based designer and street artist whose playful guerrilla installations of glowing "I [Heart] NY" bags landed him in jail as a potential terrorist threat, has been released. After a several day stint at Riker's Island — unusual for suspected street artists, who are typically released within hours of their arrest — Miyakawa was set free yesterday afternoon. [Hyperallergic]

– Frieze Masters Exhibitor List Released: The inaugural outing of Frieze Masters, which will coincide with the ninth edition of the contemporary fair in London, has released a list of its 96 exhibitors. Looking to compete with the well-established Tefaf Maastricht, the list includes Old Master veterans Jean-Luc BaroniMoretti Fine ArtSam Fogg, and Ben Janssens, as well as a smaller selection of 20th-century art dealers. [TAN]

– Huntington Library Plans $2.5 Million Renovation: Next month Los Angeles's Huntington Library will close its main exhibition hall — where its displays of treasured books like a 15th century Gutenberg Bible and a First Folio of Shakespeare's plays from 1623 haven't changed in 25 years — for a major $2.5 million renovation. New touchscreen displays and an audio tour will add a digital component to the library's collection of nine million printed artifacts. [LAT]

– Zuma Portrait Defacers' Court Date PostponedBarend la Grange and Louis Mabokela, the two men who painted over Brett Murray's controversial portrait of South African president Jacob Zuma with his genitals exposed at Johannesburg's Goodman Gallery have had their trial pushed back to June 28 — while the president and painter face off in court. "A high court must get involved for a painting?" asked la Grange. "It took me 15 seconds to get rid of the painting." [All Africa]

– Talk About an Expensive Installation: In order to safely place Henry Moore's seven-ton sculpture "Large Two Forms" (1966) inside Gagosian's Britannia Street gallery for its exhibition of the artist's monumental sculptures, a team of builders had to demolish an entire wall of the building. The wall will be rebuilt and then destroyed again during deinstallaton. [ARTINFO UK

– Depardieu Drops Million-Euro Miro-885156">Miro-885156">Miro-885156">Miro-885156">Miro-885156">Miro-885156">Miro-885156">Miro-885156">Miro-885156">Miro-885156">Miro-885156">Miro-885156">Miro-885156">Miro-885156">Miro-885156">Miro: A 1969 painting by Joan Miro-885156">Miro-885156">Miro-885156">Miro-885156">Miro-885156">Miro-885156">Miro-885156">Miro-885156">Miro-885156">Miro-885156">Miro-885156">Miro-885156">Miro-885156">Miro-885156">Miro-885156">Miro from the collection of the Frenchest of French actors, Gérard Depardieu, sold at a Christie's auction in Paris yesterday for €1,050,600 ($1.3 million). The colorful horizontal ink and gouache composition "The Lizard with Gold Feathers" sold to an American telephone bidder who beat out a Japanese collector bidding via the Christie's Live online service. [La PresseMiro-885156">Miro-885156">Miro-885156">Miro-885156">Miro-885156">Miro-885156">Miro-885156">Miro-885156">Miro-885156">Miro-885156">Miro-885156">Miro-885156">Miro-885156">Miro-885156">Miro-885156">Miro-a-un-million-d-euros_821047" target="_blank">Libération]

– Hong Kong Auctions Test Asian Luxury Goods Market: This week's sales at Christie's in Hong Kong include a slew of luxury goods, from a Qing dynasty vase to a treasure trove of wine, watches, and jewels, which the auction house estimates could fetch a total of up to $260 million despite slowing growth and China's increased regulation of imports. "From the number of hotel bookings and reservations for our dinners from Chinese," said Christie’s François Curiel, "it seems to be business as usual." [Bloomberg]

– Cherry and Martin Takes on T. Kelly Mason: The Los Angeles gallery Cherry and Martin announced yesterday that it now represents the L.A.-based artist T. Kelly Mason. Mason, whose "Jump" collaboration with Diana Thater was one of the standouts of the 2006 Whitney Biennial, will create a site-specific installation at the gallery's Art Basel Miami Beach booth in December before having a solo exhibition in the spring of next year. [Press Release]


Watch artist Rashaad Newsome perform at Feast Projects in Hong Kong. (To see our ARTINFO Questionnaire with Newsome, click here.)


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