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THE ROARING TWENTIES. The global art market bounced back to its pre-pandemic levels in 2021, according to a report from Art Basel and UBS, ringing up $65.1 billion in sales. That is a $15 billion jump from 2020, which saw the worldwide pandemic shutter galleries and scuttle auctions. Angelica Villa has details on the findings . The U.S. remains the largest hub for business, accounting for 43 percent of the field, more than double China, which is in second place, at 20 percent. In third place is the U.K., at 17 percent. The economist behind the study, Clare McAndrew, said in a statement that the “rising wealth” of high-net-worth types “helped to support demand at the higher end of the market.”
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THE WAR IN UKRAINE. Last week, the Arkhip Kuindzhi Art Museum in Mariupol was destroyed, and the status of its collection is not known, according to an NBC News story that asks: “Is Russia intentionally targeting Ukraine’s cultural landmarks?” Since the start of Russia’s invasion last month, at least 39 landmarks in the country have been damaged, according to the Transatlantic Dialogue Center, a Kiev nonprofit. Russia’s foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov , has said that that “we treat the Ukrainian people, their language and traditions with unfailing respect.” Meanwhile, in Moscow, Russia seized Swiss-made Audemars Piguet watches, citing customs violations, Bloomberg reports. In a memo, Swiss officials termed the move “most likely an arbitrary repressive measure in response to” sanctions imposed on the country by Switzerland.
Speaking of reports on the state of the art world, the Art Newspaper published the 2021 edition of its annual attendance survey, and the Louvre took its usual spot at the top. It notched about 2.83 million visitors, trailed by the State Russian Museum in St Petersburg with 2.26 million. The Paris museum’s number is still “well below its pre-pandemic levels,” per the paper. [The Art Newspaper]
The online art marketplace Invaluable has a new CEO: David Krauter, who joined the firm in June of last year as its chief operating officer. [Press Release/Yahoo! Finance]
Lunar dust collected by astronaut Neil Armstrong on the Apollo 11 mission in 1969—and later auctioned by the U.S. Marshals Service (a long, and not uninteresting, story)—will be offered at Bonhams on April 13 in New York with a high estimate of $1.2 million. [Penta/Barron’s]
A Piet Mondrian show at the Kunstmuseum Den Haag in the Netherlands is toasting the sesquicentennial of the artist’s birth. While some may view Mondrian as a monkish figure, he was “pretty much aware of the latest trends in painting and the hippest music around,” a co-curator of the exhibition, Benno Tempel, said. [The Wall Street Journal]
The Colby College Museum of Art in Waterville, Maine, has added to its collection a dramatically colored Faith Ringgold quilt from 2000 that presents enslaved people fleeing captivity through a dense forest. It is titled Coming to Jones Road #4: Under A Blood Red Sky. [Hyperallergic]
The Onion ran an art-world item that we will not ruin here. [The Onion/Instagram]
THE RULES OF THE GAME. What would artist Nari Ward like to change about the art field? Curbed asked in a 21-question interview, and he replied: “Collectors have too much power. There should be some other way that the museums can get funds or work without having to kiss the ass of the collectors.” Ward, who opens a show at Lehmann Maupin in New York next month, also revealed his first New York rent ($350) and his go-to restaurant, which sounds extremely delicious. [Curbed]