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VIVA LAS VEGAS. On Saturday night, the hotly anticipated Sotheby’s sale of Picassos from the restaurant Picasso at the MGM Bellagio in Las Vegas brought $108 million over the course of 45 minutes in one of the casino’s ballrooms, Angelica Villa reports in ARTnews. All 11 works found buyers, making it a white-glove sale in industry parlance. The top lot was Femme au Béret Rouge-Orange (1938), of the artist’s lover and muse Marie-Thérèse Walter, which went for $40.5 million (with buyer’s premium), after a quartet of bidders jousted for it. The winner was bidding by phone via Aliyaa Stude, who heads the house’s Houston office. MGM has characterized the sell-off as an effort to diversify its art holdings. Those hoping to dine amid Picassos during a wild night in Sin City, do not worry: The restaurant will continue to house a dozen works by its namesake.
THE KING OF POP. The Brooklyn Museum will open a show next month that looks at Andy Warhol’s work in relation to his abiding Catholic faith, the Guardian reports, quoting the late art historian John Richardson: “The knowledge of this secret piety inevitably changes our perception of an artist who fooled the world into believing that his only obsessions were money, fame, glamor.” In other Warhol news, a 1964 “Electric Chair” owned by rocker Alice Cooper went unsold at Larsen Art Auction in Scottsdale, Arizona, ArtLyst reports. A Warhol show just ended its run at Tehran’s Museum of Contemporary Art after drawing big crowds, the AP reports. And Page Six says that some Warhol associates are disappointed that they were not interviewed for the forthcoming Ryan Murphy –helmed Netflix documentary about the artist. Not actress, Viva Hoffmann, though. “I loved Andy, but I always pray and hope that no one ever mentions me again for the rest of my life in reference to any Warhol movie,” she said.
The U.K. government is reportedly considering ways to limit the number of students who pursue degrees in the arts and other fields that lead to low salaries (and a higher possibility that they will not repay their loans). “Trying to pick off any subject areas would be arbitrary and inevitably fuelled by prejudice,” said one university leader. [The Guardian]
The late German collector Ulrike Crespo bequeathed 90 works to the Städel Museum in Frankfurt, including major pieces by Otto Dix, Wassily Kandinsky, Fernand Léger, and more. A patron of contemporary art in her own right, Crespo inherited the modernist pieces she marked for donation from her grandfather, Karl Ströher. [The Art Newspaper]
Artist Park Seo-Bo, a key South Korean artist, educator, and exhibition organizer, won the country’s top honor for culture, the Geumgwan Order of Cultural Merit. Park turns 90 next month. “You should have given it to me earlier,” he joked on Instagram. “I want to brag about this for a long time, but I don’t have many days left.” [The Korea Herald]
Jeff Koons, who has a show up at the Palazzo Strozzi, Florence, Italy, gave a characteristically on-message, wide-ranging, and bizarre interview. “I think people respected the idea of making a mark in the Renaissance,” he said, “as though they were recording the history of what it means to be human, which we take for granted today.” [Wallpaper]
A new all-time record for a sneaker lot at auction: The oldest-known pair of Nikes that Michael Jordan wore in a regular-season basketball game sold for $1.47 million at Sotheby’s in Vegas. The card collector Nick Fiorella made the winning bid on the shoes, which date to the superstar’s fifth-ever NBA game, in 1984. [Bloomberg]
Trend alert! Town & Country notes that siblings are playing big roles in the art world these days, from Marlene and Lucas Zwirner working for their father, dealer David Zwirner, to Saskia and Cosima Spender compiling a catalogue raisonné for their grandfather, artist Arshile Gorky. [T&C]
CULTURE SHOCK. A couple in England who snapped up two prints at auction for under £12 (about $16.50) because they wanted the frames housing them inadvertently ended up with a valuable artwork, the Harborough Mail reports. To their surprise, a third print, of a man’s head, came with the lot, and after watching a BBC art program, they learned it is a 1998 Lucian Freud from an edition of 46. Gildings Auctioneers in Market Harborough has pegged it with a low estimate of £12,000 (about $16,500). Said a specialist at the house: “I was delighted to be able to be able to tell this couple that the print they had picked up for less than the price of a takeaway pizza, was indeed the work of arguably the most celebrated figurative artist of the 20th century.” That must be a nice feeling. [Harborough Mail]
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