Morning Links

Morning Links: Leonardo Sells for $450.3 Million (Highest-Ever Price for Art) Edition

A cross-town bus on which Jesus might ride.



Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi sold at Christie’s last night for a gasp-inducing price of $450.3 million to an unknown bidder on the phone. Nate Freeman was there to report on the historic event—and the big $788.9 million night overall—for ARTnews. [ARTnews]

Jason Farago of the New York Times did a deep aesthetic read of the Leonardo and was less than enamored. “The savior of the world appears in this painting as a soft, spumy cipher,” he writes. “His eyes are blank. His chin, flecked with stubble, recedes into shadow.” And then there’s this: “This Jesus, far from saving the world, might struggle to save himself a seat on a crosstown bus.” [The New York Times]

A couple days ago, Jerry Saltz of New York magazine gave voice to skepticism about the painting’s provenance and value. “I Have Doubts. Big Doubts,” the headline of his withering piece reads. [New York]

Seth Rogen, Hollywood star and surprisingly confident would-be art historian, isn’t so sure the Leonardo is authentic. His tête-à-tête with fellow film figureheads the Safdie brothers on Twitter is really something to see. [Twitter]


William Eggleston talked to Pitchfork about music he likes (Bach, Jerry Lee Lewis, “Ol’ Man River”) and photos of his that have been used as album covers by a slew of bands (Big Star, Silver Jews, Spoon). [Pitchfork]

“Dara Friedman: Perfect Stranger,” a survey at the Pérez Art Museum Miami of the German-born, Miami-based artist, is being held up as a watershed. “PAMM is also touting ‘Perfect Stranger’ as a crucial marker for the entire Miami art scene, and not only because it features more exhibition space than the museum has previously devoted to a hometown artist,” reports the New York Times—which also cites Pérez director Franklin Sirmans writing “her trajectory powerfully embodies the possibility that life as an artist in Miami is not just viable, but that the city can serve as an excellent home base for a global artistic career.” [The New York Times]


The Los Angeles County Museum of Art is changing its price structure for admissions. Entry will now cost $20 for L.A. County residents and $25 for visitors from everywhere else. (It used to be $15, plus $10 extra for special exhibitions, whereas now no extras will be attached.) “The idea is to give more benefit to the taxpayers and charge a little bit more for tourists—and it should all even out,” LACMA director Michael Govan told the Los Angeles Times. [Los Angeles Times]

Marcos Ramirez, known as “ERRE,” installed a would-be border wall on the facade of California’s Oceanside Museum of Art. The work is part of “unDocumenta,” a group show that, according to the Los Angeles Times, “takes the dynamism of the U.S.-Mexico border as a point of inspiration for works that explore issues of cultural, economic, and political exchange.” [Los Angeles Times]

“A storied art collection shrouded in mystery will anchor [a] new UC Irvine museum,” reports the L.A. Times. The subject is the Gerald E. Buck Collection of more than 3,200 paintings, sculptures, and works on paper. [Los Angeles Times]


An abandoned house in a Houston suburb was “destroyed in the name of art.” As the Guardian reports, the piece, titled Daringly Unbuilt, was the culmination of a multiphase project by the conceptual artist Mary Ellen Carroll, who had previously rotated the house 180 degrees on the same spot where it continued to stand. All of the action has been in the service of, in the artist’s words, an “urban alteration that makes architecture perform.” [The Guardian]

Geoffrey Chadsey’s exhibition at a gallery at Boston University has the Boston Globe seeing a way out of our current gendered mess. “Screwy, misbegotten, and antiquated ideas of masculinity have contributed to this moment of sexual harassment revelations and making American great again,” reads the paper’s review. “The male mask has gotten so old and rigid it’s cracking. Queer, effeminate, dark, and vulnerable stuff is seeping out from beneath.” [The Boston Globe]

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