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A SALESROOM DISPATCH. The big November sales are in full swing in New York, and last night the action was at Christie’s, which held a three-and-a-half-hour, two-part barnburner of an event that brought in $751.9 million. Angelica Villa has a full report for ARTnews. The first part of the evening offered the collection of the late Texas oil baron Edwin L. Cox, which brought $332 million, far outpacing its $178.6 million estimate. A $71 million Vincent van Gogh landscape was the top lot. The second part was a 20th-century sale that hauled in a strong $419.9 million, with an Andy Warhol portrait of his friend and collaborator Jean-Michel Basquiat going for $40 million: twice its estimate. After big-ticket auctions, works often head back into darkness—into private homes and storage facilities—but at least one major piece will soon alight at a public institution. Cox’s Gustave Caillebotte, Jeune homme a sa fenetre (1876), was snapped up by the deep-pocketed J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles for a cool $53 million.
ZERO HOUR. After years of delays, the M+ museum of art and design opened in Hong Kong today, and there is a bevy of coverage—though not as much as there would have been if travel was flowing freely. “With M+, the timing is always off,” Enid Tsui writes in the South China Morning Post, which has also picked ten highlights from its galleries. The looming question is to what degree Beijing’s crackdown on dissent will influence programming. “We have not had to make changes to our opening exhibitions,” M+ director Suhanya Raffel said, according to Bloomberg. Meanwhile, Henry Tang, the head of the West Kowloon Cultural District, which encompasses M+, is quoted in the Guardian saying that the “opening of M+ does not mean that artistic expression is above the law. It is not.” One work that is in its collection but not on display (or pictured on its website) is Ai Weiwei’s photo of himself giving the finger to Tiananmen Square in Beijing. (Other works by Ai are present.) “It is not possible for a museum to survive without the freedom of speech,” the artist said in an interview with Bloomberg. For more on M+, here is an ARTnews explainer by Alex Greenberger. A full ARTnews report will follow, so stay tuned.
The revered abstract painter Cheyney Thompson has joined the powerhouse Lisson Gallery, but will continue to be represented by his longtime New York dealer Andrew Kreps. The two outfits are planning a joint, two-venue show of his work in Manhattan. [ARTnews]
Steven Mark Klein, a New York fashion aficionado, and a fierce critic of the industry, who built an an archive of printed material that is now in collection of the International Library of Fashion Research in Oslo, took his own life late last month. He was 70. [The New York Times]
Ebony L. Haynes, the founder of David Zwirner’s 52 Walker gallery in Manhattan, is organizing a special section at the upcoming NADA Miami art fair that will present solo presentations by eight up-and-coming enterprises, including Miami publisher Dale Zine and New York gallery Saint George Projects. Its title is Curated Spotlight. [Artnet News]
Archaeologists at the Cupids Cove Plantation Provincial Historic Site—say that three times fast!—in Canada’s Newfoundland and Labrador province have found a silver coin from the late 1400s that they believe is the oldest English coin discovered in North America. “Certainly if anyone knows of an older English coin I’d like to hear about it,” archaeologist William Gilbert said. [CBC]
Businessman, collector, and philanthropist Michael Audain, who just gave CA$100 million ($79.4 million) to the Vancouver Art Museum, has written a memoir titled One Man in His Time. “It’s direct yet nuanced and erudite yet not pretentious or boring,” according to one reviewer. [The Georgia Straight]
Conservators are hard at work restoring a 15th-century mural of St. George at the Farleigh Hungerford Castle in Somerset, England. The storied knight is reportedly in poor shape following previous attempts at conservation that did not get the job done. [BBC News]
SKATEBOARDING IS NOT A CRIME. That is the skater’s credo, but that does not mean it is always easy to find a skate spot. To wit, the Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin has banned skaters from its premises, saying it is necessary to protect public artworks on its grounds and its freshly renovated Mies van der Rohe home. Now a petition is calling for that ban to be lifted, the Art Newspaper reports. “We want to talk to the skaters to find a way to keep the building in good condition and keep the skating,” said the museum’s director, Joachim Jäger, who will soon be succeeded by Klaus Biesenbach. Breakfast would like to propose a solution: install skate-able artwork. Michael Majerus designed a glorious half-pipe, Koo Jeong A has been building glow-in-the-dark bowls, and there must be plenty of artists eager to undertake a skate-park commission. [TAN]