Dealer Douglas Chrismas Ordered to Repay $14.2 M., Takashi Murakami Takes New York, and More: Morning Links for May 11, 2022

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The Headlines

THE LATEST FROM THE SALESROOM. On Tuesday night in New York, one day after it hauled in $195 million for a single Andy Warhol painting, Christie’s staged an evening sale of contemporary art with 29 lots that together earned $103 millionAngelica Villa reports in ARTnews. That result was only about half of what the same sale earned across 37 lots last year—one adviser described it as “lackluster”—and the total was not helped  by two Jean-Michel Basquiat works being withdrawn right before the action began. (One, a 1982 triptych, had been expected to earn $30 million.) Nevertheless, new artists records were set, via an Eric Fischl painting that went for $4.1 million (twice its high estimate) and a Helmut Newton photo that made $2.3 million. The auction action in Manhattan is far from over. Big-ticket sales continue in New York this week and next.

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TROUBLE IN L.A. A U.S. court has ruled that veteran Los Angeles dealer Douglas Chrismas, the founder of Ace Gallery, must repay $14.2 million from art sales that he diverted into personal accounts amid a bankruptcy, the Art Newspaper reports. The verdict resulted from a civil suit brought by Sam Leslie , a forensic accountant who was appointed by a court to run Ace after it filed for bankruptcy. Separately, Chrismas is facing federal criminal charges that allege that he embezzled $260,000 from the bankrupt gallery. He faces 15 years in prison, and has pleaded not guilty.

The Digest

More auction news: A 1714 violin known as the “da Vinci” Stradivarius (no connection to Leonardo) that can be heard in The Wizard of Oz (1939) will be offered in an online auction by Tarisio, where it could eclipse the current record for a violin on the block: $15.9 million. [The New York Times]

The hotly anticipated Hong Kong Palace Museum—housed in a seven-story replica of Beijing’s Palace Museum—will likely open this summer, according to officials involved in the project, though no exact date has been set. [South China Morning Post]

More pieces of the statue of the pioneering Native American ballerina Marjorie Tallchief that was stolen in Tulsa, Oklahoma, last month have been recovered. That means that it will be possible to restore it, according to Gary Henson, one of the sculptors behind the piece. [Associated Press]

Facing political persecution in Russia, Maria Alyokhina of Pussy Riot fled the country, an effort that involved disguising herself as a food courier. [The New York Times]

The place in East Hampton, New York, that artists James Brooks and Charlotte Park called home was placed on the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s annual list of “endangered” sites. It has been vacant since Park died in 2010. [The Art Newspaper]
TAKASHI MURAKAMI MAYHEM. Fans of the “Superflat” king, rejoice! He has two shows open now at Gagosian in New York, plus another on the way at the Broad in Los Angeles. WWD has an interview with him, as does Penta (there is talk of his NFT efforts). And—a bonus item—a Singaporean couple has rather impressively stocked their house with material by the artist, and CNA Luxury went inside.

The Kicker

LOOKING FOR A NEW ENGLAND. The inventive sculptor Cornelia Parker, who is about to open a show at Tate Britain in London, sat down with the Guardian for an interview that touched on a number of political topics—Brexit, for one. (Parker advocated staying the European Union.) “It affects everything,” she said of the United Kingdom’s withdrawal. “Your freedom of movement, my daughter’s future. I’m thinking of applying for German citizenship because I’m half German. I don’t like feeling not part of Europe. I don’t want to be a little Englander.” [The Guardian]


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