O’Keeffe Among Highlights of Christie’s Auction, Dublin-NY Portal Shut Down, Artist Katherine Porter Dies, and More: Morning Links for May 17, 2024 - The World News

O’Keeffe Among Highlights of Christie’s Auction, Dublin-NY Portal Shut Down, Artist Katherine Porter Dies, and More: Morning Links for May 17, 2024

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STEADY GROUND. Christie’s evening sales on Thursday fell firmly within estimates, bringing in $413 million, reports Daniel Cassady for ARTnews. While bidding was not as fast and furious as a few years ago, the event suggests the art market is holding steady amid legitimate questions about its health for most of the last year. “The posture of all the auction houses has been more defensive than offensive,” said Alex Glauber, president of the Association of Professional Art Advisors. “If they can’t show strength, they can at least show that the market is healthy and functional.” That included top lots by David Hockney, Vincent van Gogh, and Georgia O’Keeffe’s Red Poppy (1928), a stunner that sold for $16.5 million with fees. It was also a day for “bargains,” if you will, with paintings such as Picasso’s 1971 Femme au chapeau assise “scooped up” for $19.9 million with fees, estimated to cost $20 to $30 million.

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David Hockney, A Lawn Being Sprinkled (1967)

RIP PORTAL. The “Portal,” an art installation that linked Dublin to New York City in real-time, was shut off due to “incidents,” like mooning and a whole lot of fooling around. So much so, that it even inspired a bit by the comedians at The Daily Show. As soon as it was turned off, and without missing a beat, a makeshift sign that read, “RIP The Portal,” was laid at its base in Dublin, along with flowers. But the artwork’s creator, Benediktas Gylys, told The Guardian he was taking the situation more seriously, and would continue with the project he hopes will connect people across the world. This, despite Benediktas never expecting such a rowdy response to what was supposed to be a “family-friendly” cultural experience. Still, the Portal may be back up soon, equipped with automatic censorship mechanisms. “We are building this project as a bridge to a united planet … I can’t control behavior and I do not want to, but it’s my dream to expand the portal network,” said Gylys.


Painter Katherine Porter has died at her home in Santa Fe, N.M. She was 82. Porter is known for her colorful expressionism paintings that drew from abstraction, tantric art, and Mexican muralists. [Artforum]

Scientists may have finally figured out how the ancient pyramids were built, thanks to the discovery of a long-lost, hidden ancient branch of the Nile River that ran right beside most of Egypt’s pyramids, including the Giza complex. The river, now buried under desert and farmland, would explain how ancient Egyptians were able to transport large building blocks and materials to where the pyramids now stand. [BBC]

Pro-Palestinian student demonstrators from the University of the Arts London (UAL) have taken over the reception area at Central Saint Martins art school. Students are demanding that the university call for an immediate ceasefire, to “withdraw from the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism; protect the right for free speech and the right to organize for Palestine; disclose and dissolve all affiliations with Zionist institutions,” among other actions. [The Art Newspaper]

French President Emmanuel Macron condemned the vandalism found on Paris’ Wall of the Righteous Holocaust Memorial, on the outside of the Holocaust Museum on Tuesday. Stencils of red hands were found painted across the wall featuring the names of 3,900 people who risked their lives to save Jews from Nazi extermination. Meanwhile, an armed man was killed by French police today after he set a synagogue on fire in Rouen. [DW/AFPand Le Parisien/BBC]

Chilean authorities repatriated some 117 rare, 400-million-year-old fossils from Morocco earlier this week. The paleontological artifacts were confiscated by Chilean customs between 2017 and 2022. [Hespress]

The southern French eco-music festival, Le Bon Air (Good Air) canceled one of its headlining performances by DJ I Hate Models, because the artist had planned to attend the festival on a private jet. The organizers reminded followers on social media that “this means of ultra-polluting transportation consumes 50 times more CO2 than a train.” [Le Figaro]


DANCING TO THE LOUVRE. The Louvre in Paris is celebrating the Olympics with exercise and dance classes held for paying customers, right inside its palatial walls. And while some purists might cry sacrilege, others are simply having the time of their lives. Catherine Porter, writing for The New York Times, was one of the lucky 60 who made it into the Louvre’s hour class of dance and exercise held before the museum opened to the public. As the instructor in the Salle des Cariatides shouted to the students to “point and point,” Porter struck her “best John Travolta poses and pointed around the room,” at the Grecian statues. It would have been hard not to. They were all around. “Over the years,” she writes, “I have felt many things in the world’s most-visited, and arguably the most-famous, museum … This time, I felt joy.”

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