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Christie’s Modern Evening Sale Makes $346.5M

Despite the cyberattack against Christie’s website, the auction house’s annual Modern evening sale made a “reassuringly solid” $346.5m, with an excellent sell-through rate of 95%, and far exceeded last year’s equivalent sale by about $70m. This result is likely due to the entry of pieces from several high-profile private collections, as well as the prevalence of third-party guarantees that ensured success even if the lot did not technically sell to a bidder. The most expensive lot went to Andy Warhol’s Flowers (1964), which made its auction debut that evening at $30.5m. Another star lot was David Hockney’s A Lawn Being Sprinkled, which sold for $24.5m. Georgia O’Keeffe’s Red Poppy (1928) went under the hammer for $14m, while Monet’s Moulin de Limetz (1888) sold for $18.5m. Meanwhile, Vincent Van Gogh’s Coin de Jardin avec papillons sold for $28.5m ($33.1m with fees), landing within the presale estimate of $28m to $35m.

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Sotheby’s Gains $198.1M In Modern Evening Sale

Though landing well within the pre-sale estimate of $180.2m to $250.7m, the total revenue of Sotheby’s Modern evening auction in New York unfortunately still fell below the equivalent sale in 2023 by about 60m. 96% of auction lots were sold, not including a pair of withdrawn lots costing between $3.5m to $5.5m. One of the most significant sales of the evening was Mark Rothko’s 1969 oil on paper, which sold for $9.5m -- eclipsing its previous sale price of £820,000 in 2004. The evening also saw the sale of Monet’s Meules à Giverny (1893), featuring his signature conical grainstacks, and sold at $30m after a prolonged bidding war. Another Monet, Antibes vue de la Salis (1888), sold for $12m. The auction also saw a new record being set for Surrealist artist Leonora Carrington, whose work Les Distractions de Dagobert (1945) sold for $24.5m, more than double the low estimate.

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Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Heads Upcoming Bonhams Sale

Painted in 1995, Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity has never been seen before in a public setting. Now, it is the key feature in the upcoming Bonhams’ Modern and Contemporary Art sale in Hong Kong next week, with an estimated value of $5 million. Yayoi Kusama has been named the highest selling contemporary artist in 2023, her renown buoyed by a retrospective exhibition at Hong Kong’s M+ Museum and a revamped Louis Vuitton campaign. Kusama has enjoyed particular support in Hong Kong auction houses; her most expensive work was sold last year at Christie’s Hong Kong for $10 million, while another group of five works were sold at Sotheby’s Hong Kong for $22.9 million.

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Latest in Fashion: The Tate Modern

As the fashion world enters a new stage, luxury fashion brands such as Gucci, Burberry and Tod’s have embraced partnerships with major art organisations like the Tate Modern, the Venice Biennale, Art Frieze and Art Basel. This development comes after the end of the pandemic, when the luxury world have begun to appreciate the need to create engaged communities through art and culture. Other than sponsoring art fairs and events, fashion brands have been engaged in supporting emerging talent and upcoming exhibitions, while museums such as the Tate have hosted the shows of prominent designers during London Fashion Week. Gucci’s travelling exhibition, Gucci Cosmos, presents the intersections of art, fashion and heritage, and is slated to occupy art museums in London and Shanghai. Fashion presentations have also gotten more creative; fashion brand Galvan has integrated video and performance art into their show during Paris Fashion Week.

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Conceptual Artist Olafur Eliasson Kickstarts Southeast Asia Tour in Singapore

Based in Berlin, the Icelandic-Danish artist Olafur Eliasson is perhaps one of the most famous contemporary artists today, with an extensive body of work that examines current environmental issues. This year, Elassn has opted to hold his debut Southeast Asian exhibition at the Singapore Art Museum, where it will remain till September before moving on to Auckland, Taipei, Jakarta, and Manila. The show includes one of his earliest and most signature works, Yellow Corridor (1997), which uses single-frequency yellow light to alter visitors’ perceptions of the environment. Another work, The Seismographic Testimony of Distance (Berlin - Singapore, no. 1 to no. 6) were created specifically for the Singapore exhibition, and were created by drawing machines installed in the shipping crates during the transportation of the works to Singapore.

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Ai Weiwei Gets First US Retrospective in 10 Years

In March 2025, celebrated Chinese artist Ai Weiwei will get his first American retrospective in a decade at the Seattle Art Museum, showcasing more than 100 of Ai’s works which examine the intersections of art and activism. Curated by Chinese art expert Foong Ping, the exhibition focuses specifically on Ai’s works in the 1980s and 90s, during which he examined pressing issues such as his identity as a Chinese immigrant and the ongoing AIDS crisis. For his subversive activism, Ai has been detained by the Chinese government, and regularly faces criticism by some sectors of the public for his political views. However, Foong promises that her exhibition will not sidestep the provocative nature of his works, and further hopes to travel the exhibition after its run concludes in September 2025.

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Published on May 24, 2024
Yu Ke Dong

Ke Dong is a seasoned art writer and current double major in English Literature and Art History at NTU. Having worked with esteemed art institutions in Singapore, Ke Dong now regularly contributes his keen research skills, adept writing abilities and passion for art to the Art Works discourse.


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