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HAMMER TIME. The big May auctions in New York kicked off on Thursday night at Christie’s, which hauled in $506.5 million across a two-part affair—a 16-lot sale of works from the collection of the late media baron S.I. Newhouse and a 20th-century art sale. “There were several star lots, but few shooting stars,” Daniel Cassady reports in ARTnews. One highlight: A rare Henri Rousseau canvas soared past its $30 million high estimate to finish at $37.5 million, a record for the artist. The Newhouse sale totaled a within-estimate $177.8 million, with Willem de Kooning’s meaty black-and-white Orestes (1947) going for $26.5 million and a classic 1959–60 Lee Bontecou making $8.7 million, well more than its $5 million high estimate. For a full report, head to ARTnews.
ART IN UNUSUAL PLACES. An 1853 Dublin building that figures in James Joyce’s Ulysses—it was the waiting room for visitors to the Guinness brewery at the time—has been converted into an exhibition and workspace for artists, the Irish Times reports. The venue had served as a bank in the intervening time and is currently held by a government-affiliated development agency. Meanwhile, across the Atlantic: A garage in residential section of Arlington, Virginia, is home to a 320-square-foot gallery that specializes in emerging design, T: The New York Times Style Magazine reports. It is called Friends Artspace, and its proprietor, Margaret Bakke, said that the venture “is an extension of my love of collecting, because I don’t want to be a hoarder.”
New York art adviser Lisa Schiff has been hit with a lawsuit from two collectors who allege that she owes them $1.8 million from the sale of their Adrian Ghenie painting via Sotheby’s, Alex Greenberger reports. The suit claims that her alleged failure to pay is part of “a much larger Ponzi scheme.” Schiff has not returned a request for comment. [ARTnews]
The Cameroonian-born Nigerian photographer Samuel Fosso—famed for shooting portraits in settings rich with striking patterns, as well as self-portraits dressed as figures like Malcolm X and Angela Davis—has won the 2023 Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize, which comes with £30,000 (about $38,000). [The Guardian]
Actor Al Pacino will play art collector Maurice Gangnat in the forthcoming film that Johnny Depp is directing about Amedeo Modigliani. (Riccardo Scamarcio is starring as the ill-fated artist.) Shooting for the film, which is titled Modi, is slated to start this fall in Budapest. [The Guardian]
At recent Christie’s sales, the late Seattle billionaire Paul Allen’s prized modern art holdings have been going for huge sums. Allen also collected Northwestern artists, and some of material he owned has recently been selling through the Dallas-based Heritage Auctions, without mentioning him in the provenance. [The Seattle Times]
Sam Gross, who contributed irreverent and inventive cartoons to the New Yorker, National Lampoon, and many other publications, died Saturday at 89. When it came to “lines of taste” that some decline to cross, Gross “doused them with gasoline and lit them on fire, cackling as he did,” Daniel E. Slotnik writes. [The New York Times]
The keeper of the keys at the Vatican Museums, Gianni Crea, holds almost 3,000 keys. Writer Cullen Murphy and photographer Alex Majoli ventured inside the storied institution late at night, when it was closed to visitors. [The Atlantic]
A NEW DAY. On Saturday, the indefatigable artist Tracey Emin will open a show of freshly made paintings at Galleria Lorcan O’Neill in Rome, and she just gave a moving interview to the Guardian to mark the occasion. In 2021, doctors declared her free of cancer, and she said that now, “I have all this new work, all this new life, all this new energy and focus that I never had before. I never knew cancer would give me so much.” She has titled her new series “You Should Have Saved Me,” and her exhibition is up into early September. [The Guardian]