Cover Image: Alex Rotter, Chairman of Christie’s 20/21 Art departments at the auction house’s Rockefeller Center galleries.
1.Dandy Andy Primed to Smash Records
The Pop Art artist, Andy Warhol is set to break auction records this May with his ‘Shot Sage Blue Marylin’ (1964). The image was inspired by Marilyn Monroe’s press photo of her famous lead role in ‘Niagara’ (1953), Christie’s has secured the Warhol work for their New York May evening sale. Measuring three-feet square, the work is speculated to achieve nearly $200 million— nearly double the current Warhol record of $105.4 million achieved with his 1963 canvas ‘Silver Car Crash (Double Disaster)’ (Sotheby’s, 2013). Consigned by the estate of Swiss art dealers Thomas and Doris Ammann, proceeds of the sale will go to benefit their namesake foundation which supports health care and education of young children. Alex Rotter, Christie’s chairman of 20th- and 21st-Century Art, said in a press conference at the auction house’s New York headquarters, “this painting was a mystery to many people in the art world. When a painting like this comes up at auction, it changes the market not only for Warhol, but it changes the market itself.
2.Youth in Revolt: The Power of Public Art
French artist JR traveled to Ukraine last week to unfurl a monumental and moving public art piece. Enlisting residents, the artist used a photo of a five-year-old Ukrainian refugee, named Valeriia, originally captured by photographer Artem Iurchenko. Printed on a 148-foot-long tarp and held taught by the over 100 local participants, the larger-than-life art happening moved through Lviv to bring the message of Ukraine’s resiliency to the world. Using an overhead drone outside of the National Opera in Lviv to capture the scene, the now viral image of the performance will be used on two TIME magazine covers. “This little girl is the future, and, in this war, she reminds us what Ukrainians are fighting for,” JR wrote on Instagram. In keeping with the artist’s mission focused on the democratization of art and community involvement, the piece speaks to art’s power the time of conflict in delivering messages and stories of those affected.
3.Have your piece of RBG and eat from it too! Don’t actually though…
In the hottest auction market seen in 15 years, single owner sales have been cropping up more and more in the auction world, both at leading and regional houses. Often offering an eclectic mix of objects, collectors have the opportunity to get an intimate view of the collector and celebrity personalities behind these collections. On our radar are some of the works owned by the late Supreme Court Justice, Ruth Bader Ginsberg. An avid collector of modern and decorative arts, the auction with Potomack Company in Alexandria, Virginia, will benefit the Washington National Opera. Among these treasures on offer is a Pablo Picasso Madoura plein feu earthenware plate incised with whimsical cubist figures and forms, a monogramed mink coat, and portraits of the late icon. The lots will be available for preview April 12-26th at the Potomack Company gallery at 1120 North Fairfax Street in Old Town. An online catalog will go live on April 12.
4.Unearthing Egyptian Treasures near Cairo
Stunningly preserved murals, sarcophagi, toys, wooden boats, masks, and other objects have been discovered near the pyramid of King Merenre I, in Saqqara, just outside the Egyptian capital, Cairo. The tombs belong to senior officials from the Old Kingdom and First Intermediate period, which dates to more than 4,000 years ago, the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities said. The area has provided a host of discoveries, most recently a January 2021 excavation of over 50 sarcophagi and artifacts. Interestingly during this week’s discovery, one of the occupants of the tomb has been identified as a woman by the name of Petty, a member of the royal court. Petty was responsible for King Menere I’s beautification and was also the priest of Hathor. Menere I was the father of one of the most notable pharaohs, Pepi II and so an important dignitary to honour.
The discovery comes on the heels of Egypt’s massive cultural campaign, “Follow the Sun” aimed at attracting tourists to view the archeological findings and wonders of ancient Egypt. The 8-week campaign focuses on attracting cultural tourism in and around Cairo, Giza, Luxor, Aswan, the Red Sea resorts, and Sinai. In the wake of the ongoing Covid-19 Pandemic, recent protests stemming from the Arab Spring, and the war in Ukraine, Egyptian tourism has slowed in recent years with travel bring restricted and affecting the key economic driver of the country.
5.Bored Ape Yacht Club Creators Raise $450 Million to Create an NFT Ecosystem
Yuga Labs, the owner of the three largest NFT brands, has raised $450 million of funding to build a media empire around NFTs. Beginning with games and its own metaverse, called ‘Otherside’, the goal is to build a massively multi-player online role-playing game (MMORPG) connecting a broader NFT universe. This announcement comes just weeks after the acquisitions of CryptoPunks and Meebits from Larva Labs. The move puts three powerful NFT collections under the Yuga Labs umbrella, giving a large diverse range of IP to pull from to execute these plans. Keeping everything in house, the company also launched a cryptocurrency, ApeCoin which will be governed independently and used as the primary currency in Yuga Labs properties. The group aims to have a collaborative environment in the ‘Otherside’ encouraging deeper connections with users. In an exciting fast-paced environment of the Metaverse race, Yuga Labs has positioned itself as a serious counterweight to the Meta monopoly. Stay tuned for more developments on this!