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Well, this week the marquee New York contemporary art auctions have come and gone, leaving the market at a newly restrained level and a few choice pieces in the hands of savvy bargain-hunters.
Christie's was the clear winner, with a crowd of the world's richest supercollectors spending a hearty $93.7 million on art and setting new auction records for David Hockney, Claes Oldenburg, Tony Smith, and other artists. Sotheby's had less luck, pulling in a relatively modest $47 million but still managing to set records for Martin Kippenberger, Christopher Wool, and even Dan Colen. Larry Gagosian played the silver prince at both sales, spending impressive sums on works by artists he represents, including Jeff Koons, Roy Lichtenstein, Richard Prince, and Cecily Brown--though since he likes to bid for others it's not certain which works actually went home with him. The only truly worrying results of the week, however, were at Phillips de Pury. Amid reports of hard times at the intrepid auction house, their sale fetched a mere $7.7 million.
Elsewhere in the art world, the spring breeze seemed to bring a number of happy developments. Renzo Piano's new Modern wing at the Art Institute of Chicago won raves for its spacious galleries and spectacular design, while the art inside's not half bad either. (Architects Zaha Hadid and Santiago Calatrava had a worse week, unfortunately.) Texas' Kimbell Art Museum, meanwhile, says they've discovered a new Michelangelo painting--executed when the artist was only 12 or 13--and a Syracuse University professor claims to have identified previously unknown work by Leonardo da Vinci. In other cheering news, video artist Bill Viola was awarded the Catalonia International Prize and Broadway megaproducer Rocco Landesman was named head of the National Endowment for the Arts. Here's hoping his vigor (and sharp elbows) can shake up the long-sleepy organization.
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"Real Housewife of Beverly Hills" [via Artforum.com]