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A HUGE NIGHT IN MANHATTAN. Yesterday evening, at Sotheby’s headquarters on York Avenue, 35 works from the prized collection of Harry and Linda Macklowe went under the hammer over the course of 90 minutes—and every one of them sold, for a total haul of $676.1 million with fees. Angelica Villa has a report for ARTnews . It was a strong result for the house, which had pegged the sale with a $618.9 million high estimate and backed it with a guarantee. Twenty-one lots had irrevocable bids. A 1951 Mark Rothko brought $82 million, the second-highest amount ever paid at auction for a Rothko. A 1974 Agnes Martin demolished her previous top mark, going for $17.7 million. The court handling the Macklowes’ tumultuous divorce ordered the sale because of an impasse over the division of their art. More of their holdings will be on offer at Sotheby’s in May. The big November sales continue throughout the week. ARTnews will be there.
HERE COMES THE SUN. Archaeologists in Egypt have come across what they believe is a “sun temple” that dates back some 4,500 years, CNN reports. Historical records suggest that six of the temples, dedicated to the sun god Ra , once existed. The new find, in Abu Ghurab, just south of Cairo, is the third one to be uncovered. The researchers believe it dates to the mid-25th century BCE, and are aiming to identify the king who was responsible for its construction. On a very tangentially related note, if you are in the mood for more Egyptian treasure talk, the new Netflix heist film Red Notice, may be of interest. It features Dwayne Johnson as an FBI agent in search of three bejeweled eggs that once belonged to Cleopatra. Alas, as Newsweek points out, they are entirely fictional.
Good news for KAWS fans in Singapore: a court lifted an earlier order that barred the exhibition of a massive balloon by the artist because of a claim over intellectual property rights. [The Straits Times]
U.S. President Joe Biden is placing a 20-year ban on oil and gas drilling in Chaco Canyon, a UNESCO World Heritage site in New Mexico that was once a nexus of Pueblo culture. Some Indigenous and environmental groups have called for permanent protections for the area. [The Associated Press]
A statue of U.S. President Thomas Jefferson that the New York City Council voted to remove from its chamber last month because of his status as an enslaver, will be sent to the New-York Historical Society, on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, as a 10-year loan. [The New York Times]
Efforts are underway to preserve a hidden underground cave that once connected the London home of poet and satirist Alexander Pope to his gardens. (That villa and those glorious grounds are, alas, no more.) The project is budgeted at £400,000 (about $539,000) and will be partly paid by the National Lottery Heritage Fund. [The Art Newspaper]
Mariam Zulfiqar has been tapped to be the next director of Artangel, which commissions public artworks in the United Kingdom. Zulfiqar comes from Forestry England, whose National Arts Programme she led. After three decades as co-directors of Artangel, James Lingwood and Michael Morris stepped down this year. [ArtReview]
Art dealer Inigo Philbrick, who has been accused of perpetrating frauds totaling more than $20 million, will reportedly plead guilty to federal charges this week. [The Daily Beast]
LIVING WELL IS THE BEST REVENGE. Artist and iPad draughtsman David Hockney apparently had an assistant snap up some beer mats by an artist named Mr. Bingo that bear a gloriously Hockney-like sentiment: “Bored of wellness.” The Guardian reports that Mr. Bingo was excited about this, and asked Hockney to share his thoughts on the matter. Unsurprisingly, the 84-year-old painter did not hold back. “I too am bored with wellness, the concept seems ridiculous and too bossy for me,” he wrote. “I’m still smoking and enjoying it enormously. I have never been to a gym in my life.” It goes on from there. Hockney currently has a show up at the Musée de l’Orangerie in Paris. [The Guardian]