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Leonardo DiCaprio's Art Auction Raises $45 Million: Last Week in Art

Artists included, to name just a few, Damien Hirst, James Turrell, and Adrien Brody.

A lot went down this week in the weird and wild world of Art. Some things were more scandalous than others, some were just plain wacky—but all of them are worth knowing about. Without further ado:

+ The woman to whom van Gogh sent his severed ear has finally been revealed: Gabrielle Berlatier, the daughter of a farmer who worked at a café run by the artist’s friends. The Art Newspaper cracked this 130-year-old mystery wide open after using certain details provided in Bernadette Murphy’s new book, Van Gogh’s Ear: The True Story as well as open archives. Read the full story here


+ Anonymous sources have revealed that Jeff Koons’ Chelsea studio has laid off 14 of its night workers, perhaps in part due to rumors of unionization amongst the crew. [Art F City]

+ The Guerrilla Girls have landed their first solo UK show. Commissioned and hosted by the Whitechapel Gallery, the show will investigate the diversity—or lack thereof—in European arts institutions. [The Guardian]



+ At UNESCO’s continuation of their abridged meeting in Istanbul last week, the group designated 17 of architect Le Corbusier’s buildings as World Heritage Sites. [ArchDaily]

+ The Gagosian has agreed to pay out $4.28 million in a tax settlement addressing the institution’s alleged evasion of taxes on art sales in the past years. [Bloomberg]

+ An artist built the cutest wall ever around Donald Trump’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame as homage to the larger wall the presidential hopeful plans to make Mexico pay for. [BBC]

Mini Trump Wall.jpg


+ Officials have returned Iranian artist Parviz Tanavoli’s passport after it was confiscated under foggy circumstances earlier this month. Once Tanavoli, who holds dual Iranian-Canadian citizenship, received his documents, he left immediately for Vancouver. [The Art Newspaper]

+ The prison where Oscar Wilde was imprisoned will open its doors to the public for the first time for Inside—Artists and Writers in Reading Prison. The artists commissioned for the project include Nan Goldin, Wolfgang Tillmans, Robert Gober, and Ai Weiwei, among others. [Artnet News]


+ Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love’s daughter is selling her art online. Any takers? (See below.) [Pitchfork]

Kurt Cobain's Daughter's Art.jpg


+ It looks like the Met is facing 50-some layoffs amidst a continued hiring freeze and budget crisis. [Artforum]

+ A monument to honor African drug deals has been proposed by the Berlin-based American artist Scott Holmquist. In his petition, the artist writes, “Drug dealers perform a socially valuable service appreciated by many people—especially where they are easily reached, in the middle of the neighborhood, and especially in parks.” [Artnet News]

+ A statue of a woman in a black burqa, entitled Walk A Mile In Her Veil, was vandalized in the wake of the Brexit vote. A 70-year-old woman ripped the veil from the statue, crafted by Master of Arts student Yasmeen Sabri, and yelled, “We voted to take our country back.” [The Standard]



+ A portrait that artist Lucian Freud had denied painting has been confirmed as a genuine Freud, and to the tune of nearly $400,000. Apparently, the artist’s rejection of the piece was due to the fact that it was owned by a longtime nemesis, artist Denis Wirth-Miller. [The Telegraph]

+ Alan Vega, singer of the New York avant-garde staple Suicide, passed away at the age of 78. [Pitchfork]

+ The art auction for the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation’s St. Tropez Gala raked in a whopping $45 million through sales of works by, just to name a few, Damien Hirst, James Turrell, and Adrien Brody. [Artnet News]

Damien Hirst of Leonardo.jpg


Did we miss any pressing art world stories? Let us know in the comments below!


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