A painting by Brazilian modernist Tarsila do Amaral sold for a record-setting 57.5 million reais ($11.2 million) at a São Paulo auction last week, making it the most expensive work by the artist ever sold at auction and one of the most expensive works by a Latin American artist ever to sell on the block.

A caipirinha (1923) came to sale by court order from the collection of banker Salim Taufic Schahin, who is the subject of a lawsuit over unpaid debt to 12 creditors. Schahin was a partner at investment firm Schahin Group, which went bankrupt in 2018. The Brazilian government denied a request to block the auction, filed by Schahin’s son, who claimed he purchased the painting in 2013 and gifted the work to his father.

The canvas was sold at the São Paulo–based Bolsa de Arte auction house, where it sold above its estimate of $47.5 million … Read the rest

Leonard Lauder, 87, is an heir to the Estée Lauder Companies fortune. He been on ARTnews’s annual Top 200 Collectors list since 1990. In 2013, he promised his Cubism collection to New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, and has been a major donor to the Whitney Museum. The following is an an excerpt from his newly published memoir The Company I Keep: My Life in Beauty.

I’ve always had the soul of a collector. Ask any collector how it all began, and you’ll hear stories about childhood fascinations ranging from bottle caps to beetles to baseball cards. I was no different. I started early and have been building collections ever since.

I was first bitten by the collecting bug when I was eight years old and attending a boarding school in Miami Beach. My fellow students used to collect and trade postcards of the beautiful Art Deco … Read the rest

Best known for his music videos for Björk and FKA twigs, artist and director Andrew Thomas Huang works across mediums, from animation puppetry to virtual reality. “We have so much art to make to imagine a new world for ourselves,” Huang recently told Brooke Jaffe for “ARTnews Live,” our ongoing IGTV series of interviews with a range of creatives.

Huang’s collaboration with Björk began in 2012 when the singer-songwriter reached out to him after seeing his short film Solipsist (2012), which quickly led to two collaborating later that year. “We did our first collaboration [for] ‘Mutual Core’ from her album Biopholia, so that was my first music video for her,” he said. “I’m the biggest Bjork fan and it was a dream to do it.” They have continued to collaborate over the years, which led to Haung’s work being included in the Björk’s 2015 retrospective at the Museum … Read the rest

The biggest museums in the United States are typically concentrated in the city centers of large metropolitan areas—with public transportation convenient, in most cases, for getting to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the National Gallery of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, and other mega-institutions of note. That makes MASS MoCA, a museum with more than 250,000 square feet of space in North Adams, Massachusetts, an outlier among its peers. The museum is inaccessible by train and located in a remote post-industrial town in the Berkshires with a population of fewer than 13,000.

And yet, against all odds, it has become a veritable art-world destination for artists, curators, critics, and historians alike filled with vast site-specific works that won’t fit anywhere else other than inside the museum’s cavernous walls. Today, its galleries—some as big as a football field—house a selection of monumental works by the likes of Anselm Kiefer, … Read the rest

On Tuesday, Phillips’s “New Now” sale in London generated a total of £3.8 million ($5.1 million) across 172 lots, landing at the low end of the pre-sale estimate of £3.7 million–£5.5 million (with premium) and realizing a 76.6 percent sell-through rate. The total was a disappointment when measured against the hopes of the estimates but not against the history of these sales. The £3.8 million marks the house’s highest total achieved for its “New Now” iteration in London.

The “New Now” sales showcase Phillips’s prowess in creating markets for emerging artists. With speculative buying returning to the forefront of collecting (as opposed to a flight to blue-chip quality) the series in London and New York continues to gradually expand. Last year’s equivalent sale brought in a total of £3.7 million, though that 2019 sale’s top lot was a work by an established mid-career artist, William Kentridge; it realized the … Read the rest

All images © Justkids, shared with permission

Tucked into the verdant landscape of Martin Luther King Jr. Park in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, are two dramatically altered basketball courts primed for play. Commissioned by the women-led curators of Justkids (previously) and OZ Art, the public project was conceived by London-based artist Lakwena, who transformed the outdoor spot into a lively area with her trademark typographic murals.

Basketball jargon covers the patterned court with an arched “Make it rain” demarcating the three-point lines. Creating under a larger theme of unity, Lakwena also referenced iconic poet Maya Angelou, who lived in the state throughout her life. “Bury me down / still I rise” lines the perimeter of the court, with Lakwena’s title of the work, “I’ll bring you flowers,” spelled out on multi-color petals at the center circle.

This community-centered project is the artist’s second in Arkansas and follows … Read the rest

Robert Lynch, the president and CEO of Americans for the Arts (AFTA), a prominent arts advocacy group based in Washington, D.C., will take a paid leave of absence amid allegations that he and his colleagues fostered a hostile workplace environment. Lynch has led the organization, which facilitates a series of highly regarded awards and helps initiate fundraising and research, for 35 years.

Lynch is currently in the Biden-Harris transition team’s arts and humanities group. ARTnews has reached out to the Biden-Harris transition team to learn whether Lynch’s leave impacts his position there. Previously, the Washington Post reported that Lynch was rumored to be under consideration for chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, though he has said he is not actively seeking the position. (The NEA’s current chair Mary Anne Carter was appointed in 2019 to a four-year term.)

Multiple former AFTA employees made their allegations about Lynch … Read the rest

Left: “Up and Up” (2019), acrylic on birch plywood construction, 43 × 14 × 4 1/2 inches. Right: “Aviary” (2019), acrylic on birch plywood construction, 42 1/2 × 23 × 4 inches. All images © Ron Isaacs, shared with permission

Vintage clothing and nature collide in the trompe l’oeil works of Ron Isaacs (previously). Autumn leaves flow from a pastel pocketbook, songbirds emerge from a dress seam, and branches extend the length of formalwear. Despite appearing as fully formed sculptures complete with layered textiles and organic ephemera, the illusory works are constructed as reliefs with Finnish birch plywood that’s painted with matte acrylics.

Isaacs’s oeuvre is poetic and deliberately evasive as the Lexington-based artist renders vintage garments that represent an imagined figure. Whether appearing to be lying flat or slowly drifting to the floor, the slips and blouses evoke a “vivid human presence, as well as … Read the rest

Christie’s has announced a 25 percent drop in annual sales overall, but has forecasted a total of £987 million ($1.2 billion) in annual private sales for the year of 2020.

Total sales for the house are projected at £3.4 billion–£3.5 billion ($4.6–$4.7 billion), according to Christie’s CEO Guillaume Cerutti’s statement in a press briefing. “It was expected since we entered in the Covid-19 situation and is in line with our forecast around mid-year,” said Cerutti. Referring to a decline of around 25 percent compared to 2019, he added, “The biggest part of this drop is with live auctions.”

Conversely, the annual private sale result surpasses the houses’s 2019 total by 56 percent and marks the highest historic annual private sale total. Sixty-two percent of that total was generated during the second half of the year.

Cerutti confirmed the London-based house sold 3 works for prices above $100 million and 12 … Read the rest

A former tobacco factory will soon host a major art space from one of Greece’s top collectors. NEON, a foundation run by Dimitris Daskalopoulos, will work together with the Hellenic Parliament to help turn the Athens structure into a site for presenting contemporary art exhibitions, making it one of the most notable spaces of its kind in the Greek capital. That venue will open in 2021, to tie in with the 200th anniversary of Greece’s liberation from the Ottoman Empire.

NEON and Daskalopoulos, who is a mainstay on ARTnews‘s Top 200 Collectors list, will fund all of the costs associated with the revitalization project, which are set to total up to €1 million (or around $1.21 million). The art space housed within the structure will operate alongside the Hellenic Parliament Library and Printing House, which has been based there since 2009.

First up at the new art … Read the rest