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AUCTION ACTION. A 1929 painting by Francis Picabia that dealer Léonce Rosenberg commissioned for his Paris abode went for €10 million (about $11 million) during a sale of Surrealist art at Sotheby’s in the French capital city, setting a record for the artist at auction, the AFP reports. The wily artist’s previous auction best was about $8.8 million. The entire sale hauled in some €33 million (about $36.4 million). Meanwhile, experts have determined that a sculpture of a reclining woman that traded 20 years ago for a modest £5,200 at an auction of garden statuary is, in fact, an 1819–22 Antonio Canova sculpture of Mary Magdalene. Christie’s will offer it in July in London with an £8 million ($10.5 million) high estimate. The sellers—a couple who bought the piece to adorn their garden, and then heard rumors about its identity—are remaining anonymous.
ARTIST UPDATES. A powerhouse group—Rashid Johnson, Julie Mehretu, and Adam Pendleton—are in T: The New York Times Style Magazine, discussing their work, along with Ellen Gallagher, to preserve singer and activist Nina Simone’s childhood home in North Carolina. “We live in a moment when half the country would be perfectly content to forget somebody like Nina Simone,” Pendleton said. Nicholas Hlobo is in the Financial Times, talking about his upcoming exhibition at Lehmann Maupin in London. He’s made a point of turning down online shows. “I don’t visualize myself as having an exhibition in some funny box called a computer,” he said. And Yue Minjun is in Tatler, in advance of an outing at Tang Contemporary in Hong Kong. Famed for his portraits of laughing men, some of his new pictures present faces consumed by enormous flowers.
Annie Flanders, who founded Details magazine in 1982 to document the hothouse cultural world of Downtown Manhattan, died last week at 82. Contributors to the publication included the actor and model Cookie Mueller, who served as its art critic, and photographer Bill Cunningham, who provided fashion coverage. [The New York Times]
The decorated Indonesian painter and educator Srihadi Soedarsono—who won renown “for his expressionist and gestural abstractions, brightly rendered landscapes, and depictions of classical Javanese and Balinese culture,” H. G. Masters writes—has died at 90. [ArtAsiaPacific]
In the wake of the stabbing at the Museum of Modern Art in New York last weekend, U.S. arts institutions are reviewing their safety protocols. At most of them, few guards carry weapons, according to one security expert, who told reporter Zachary Small, “The last thing you want is a gunfight with 5,000 kids present.” [The New York Times]
Museums run by the city of Johannesburg, South Africa, are in need of repair work to protect their collections from flooding and other threats, according to some experts. “The Johannesburg Art Gallery is in a disastrous condition,” heritage architect Brian McKechnie said. [Mail & Guardian]
This year’s Gershon Iskowitz Prize, which annually honors an artist in Canada “who has achieved maturity and a measure of success,” has gone to Faye HeavyShield (Kainai). HeavyShield will receive CA$75,000 (about US$59,100, making it Canada’s second-largest art prize) and a solo show at the Art Gallery of Ontario. [The Art Newspaper]
A mansion in the beautiful Bel Air section of Los Angeles that is on the market for $87.7 million sports seven bedrooms, 11 baths, and—most relevant to this newsletter—an “NFT art gallery” with seven media displays and a laser device that “casts light in a rhombic-shape up to 1,650 square feet over the pool with misters.” [New York Post]
THE MOUNTAIN MAKERS. The New York Times checked in with the three cartographers responsible for drawing the Swiss Alps for Switzerland’s national mapping agency, the Federal Office of Topography . It sounds like hard work. Climate change has been keeping them busy—melting glaciers have been altering the landscape—and they undergo intense training: Each spent years apprenticing before touching the actual mountain maps. “It’s a little bit like being a god,” Jürg Gilgen, who is one of the trio, said of their profession. “You’re creating a world.” [NYT]