Leonora Carrington Smashes Record at Sotheby’s, Lawsuit Launched Over Lost Star Trek Ship, Spain Unveils Submerged Roman Treasures, and More: Morning Links for May 16, 2024 - The World News

Leonora Carrington Smashes Record at Sotheby’s, Lawsuit Launched Over Lost Star Trek Ship, Spain Unveils Submerged Roman Treasures, and More: Morning Links for May 16, 2024

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CARRINGTON’S SURREAL NIGHT. The Surrealist artist Leonora Carrington is the talk of last night’s otherwise mostly mixed auction at Sotheby’s in New York. Her 1945 painting Les Distractions de Dagobert surpassed previous records with $28.5 million paid with fees, reports Harrison Jacobs for ARTnews. Surrealism is getting a lot of love this year with exhibitions marking its centennial, but the fact that a female artist like Carrington is setting impressive auction records is also a positive sign of change. In fact, “the recent surge of interest in previously overlooked women artists connected with the Surrealist movement marks a profoundly significant cultural shift,” stated Allegra Bettini, head of Sotheby’s New York modern art evening sales. Overall, Wednesday’s sale yielded $235 million, led by a Monet hammering at $34.8 million with fees, though there continued to be signs of nervousness from buyers, following tepid sales and Christie’s website security crisis during the first two nights of New York’s marquee art auctions.

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Claude Monet's bright and sunny oil painting of haystacks in a field with trees, Meules à Giverny, (1893).

BEAM ME UP, JUDGE. Two men who found the lost, first model of the USS Enterprise prototype for the TV series Star Trek are now blasting towards court and suing Heritage Auctions for fraud and deceptive trade practice, reports the South China Morning Post. In April, the auction house announced with joy that they were returning the model to Eugene Roddenberry Jr, the son of the series creator, Gene Roddenberry. But the two men who found the model in a storage unit, Dustin Riach and Jason Rivas, claim the auction house questioned their title to the model, and convinced them to sell it for a low price of $500,000 to Roddenberry Entertainment, violating property law, according to their lawyer, an allegation the auction house has denied.


Spain’s ministry of culture is unveiling a trove of Roman archaeological treasures that researchers were able to recover from the temporarily drained reservoir of Valdecañas in Cáceres province, in a race against looters and rising water levels. The Roman city of Augustobriga was flooded by the 1957-built reservoir, but between 2019 and 2023 much of it resurfaced due to drought, making it possible for researchers to save precious remnants, including a megalithic dolmen, the complete cartography of Augustobriga, and stone boars made by the pre-Roman Vettones people. [El Pais]

A believed-lost, over 40-year-old statue of retired Queens resident and Italian-American ‘master seamstress’ Maria Pulsone was found by the model’s granddaughter, and will go on view at the Italian American Museum in New York, when it reopens this summer. The work will be included in the museum’s exhibition about the garment district and the story of the Italian immigrant experience. [WWD]

The new Kunstsilo modern and contemporary art museum has opened in a former 1930s grain silo in southern Norway. Vertiginous concrete tubes in the massive, vacant waterfront structure have gone from housing 15,000 tons of grain to displaying one of the most important collections of Nordic modern art in the world, including the holdings of collector Nicolai Tangen, whose foundation co-funded the museum. [The Guardian]

Hoor Al Qasimi will be the next artistic director of the 2026 Biennale of Sydney. Qasimi is currently the president and director of the Sharjah Art Foundation, and the daughter of the Emir of Sharjah, Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi. [The Art Newspaper]

The Joan Mitchell Foundation has announced Sarah Roberts will become its inaugural senior director of curatorial affairs. Roberts previously worked at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art as Andrew W. Mellon Curator and Head of Painting and Sculpture. [Artforum]

Curator and author Lou Stoppard discusses her current exhibit, Annie Ernaux and Photography at the Maison Européenne de la Photographie in Paris, which bridges Ernaux’s observant, impersonal writing style with photography. Inspiration for the project came with Ernaux’s own description of her writing in Exteriors, as an attempt “to describe reality as through the eyes of a photographer and to perceive the mystery and opacity of the lives I encountered.” [Literary Hub]


HOCKNEY’S DRAGONS. The biggest star attraction at this weekend’s opening of “Turando” at the Los Angeles Opera, are not the singers. It’s the artist David Hockney, or more accurately, the set design he made for the opera in the 1990’s. Compared to German Expressionist filmmaking, Hockney’s design is a “virtuosic testament to the artist’s lifelong exploration of abstract figurative painting and his abiding love of opera,” writes David A. Keeps for The Los Angeles Times. In his biography, Hockney also talks about the project: “I had seen many productions of ‘Turando,’ most of them kitsch beyond belief, overdone Chinoiserie, and too many dragons … I suggested that we take the dragons away and put them into the roofs, in forms that felt like dragons.” The resulting “harsh edges, strong diagonals, mad perspectives,” a fantastical scene of red and ultramarine, will be brought back to life during this weekend’s first performance.

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