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IT BEGINS. The big November auctions are in full swing in New York, with Christie’s posting a within-estimate $219 million finish on the 40 works in its evening sale of 21st-century art, Angelica Villa reports in ARTnews. A sprawling 1982 Jean-Michel Basquiat was the top lot, going for $40 million, with buyer’s premium, to a lone bidder. New records were set for Peter Doig ($39 million), Stanley Whitney ($1.2 million), Barbara Kruger ($1.2 million), and more. The curiously omnipresent NFTer Beeple also had a fresh-to-market physical work head to the block (don’t worry: it came with an NFT), where it sold for $29 million, nearly double its high estimate. As the auctions continue, ARTnews will have all the up-to-the-minute action.
SEOUL STORIES: South Korea has settled on a location in a gallery-heavy area of its capital to construct a building for the more than 23,000 works donated to the state by the family of the late Samsung chief Lee Kun-hee, the Dong-A Ilbo reports. It is due to open in 2027. The Korea Herald has the scoop that Seoul’s Kansong Art Museum , which has been closed for seven years amid financial trouble, is mulling a plan to reopen briefly before restoration work begins on its home. It was Korea’s first private museum when it was started in 1938. And a cultural center has opened in the Demilitarized Zone, with a show curated by art historian Yeon Shim Chung, Artnet News reports.
THE FRENCH DISPATCH: Officials estimated that a whopping six million people viewed Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s wrapped Arc de Triomphe during its three-week display earlier this year, per the AFP, which also has a story on the Tuesday ceremony at which French President Emmanuel Macron formally returned 26 objects looted from Benin by the French in 1892 back to that nation’s president.
Former Tate director Nicholas Serota penned a tribute to Achim Borchardt-Hume, the Tate exhibitions director who died last week at the age of 55, terming him “an exceptionally talented, productive and admired curator.” [The Art Newspaper]
Qatar Museums has tapped Zeina Arida, the director of the Sursock Museum in Beirut, to be the next director of Doha’s Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art. She takes the place of Abdellah Karroum, who is becoming special curatorial advisor to Sheikha Amna Al Thani, director of the National Museum of Qatar. [ArtAsiaPacific]
Chicago dealer Kavi Gupta opened his home—a loft above his Washington Boulevard gallery—to Architectural Digest, and it is stacked with art, by Theaster Gates, Jessica Stockholder, Tony Tasset, Beverly Fishman, Sam Gilliam, Nick Cave, and many, many more. [AD]
Archaeologists working at a Byzantine-era winery in the Israeli city of Yavne unearthed a gold and purple amethyst ring that may have been worn with the hope of preventing a hangover while drinking. [CNN]
Odd lots . . . An elf costume worn by Will Ferrell in the classic 2003 film Elf went for almost $300,000 at auction in the United Kingdom, the New York Post reports. A handwritten page of Arthur Conan Doyle‘s novel The Hound of the Baskervilles (1902) brought $423,000 at Heritage Auctions in Dallas, ArtDaily notes. And bracelets that belonged to Marie Antoinette sold for more than $8 million at Christie’s in Geneva, SkyNews says.
GUEST APPEARANCE. Los Angeles Times art critic Christopher Knight noted on Twitter that he featured in an answer on last night’s Jeopardy! that read: “Christopher Knight criticizes museums as shortsighted for funding operations by selling art—in museum-speak, this ‘de’-verb.” Do you know the question? (This ARTnews story, which quotes Knight, will help.) Wrote Knight: “I’ve been in jeopardy before, but never on Jeopardy! before.” [@KnightLAT/Twitter]