What Is Leonardo’s ‘Salvator Mundi’ Really Selling? Cracking the $100 Million da Vinci Code

Jesus saves, but the buyer of da Vinci’s ‘Salvator Mundi’ will spend—a lot. The signs all point one way: Christie’s upcoming sale of Leonardo da Vinci’s spooky Salvator Mundi is the latest and perhaps most convincing portent that we are living in the End Times. In the Bible, Christ and his apostles held their property in common. Now, this image […]

The Four Horsemen of America’s Apocalypse: Their Work Unearths the Seething Muck Beneath the Shiny Surface of American Culture

The Apocalypse has long been a staple of American film, pulp fiction, popular culture, and high art and literature. Lately it has also been looming large in our political consciousness. From a presidential adviser who is convinced we have entered the fourth and final “turning” in human history to charges by environmentalists that our withdrawal […]

Who Are the Most Influential Artists of the Last Century? 26 Industry Leaders Weigh In

Which artist defined the last 100 years—and continues to reverberate in the work of artists today? In 2017, a century since Marcel Duchamp turned a readymade urinal into an artwork, we’ve wondered how to characterize the past 100 years in art, posing challenging questions to some of the industry’s brightest figures: What are this century’s most iconic works […]

The Gray Market: Why Museums Can’t Compete With Private Collectors (and Other Insights)

FALSE EQUIVALENCE: Although I always advise caution about these reports, sales at this year’s freshly entombed Frieze and Frieze Masters were allegedly strong from the jump. Numerous exhibitors were eager to broadcast their results (or at least, pretend to) on VIP preview night. But rather than resurrect the issue of dubious honesty from self-interested actors in a consequence-free […]

What Is the Most Iconic Artwork of the 21st Century? 14 Art Experts Weigh In

How do you choose one defining artwork for a century still in its adolescence? Some of the art world’s leading figures take their best shot. Want to make an art historian laugh? Ask them to name the most iconic artwork of the 21st century. Turns out, it’s not so easy to single out the most […]

The Guggenheim’s Alexandra Munroe on Why ‘The Theater of the World’ Was Intended to Be Brutal

The curator explains the origins of the exhibition and the thinking behind its most controversial elements. Now well ensconced at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum as its Samsung Senior Curator of Asian Art, Munroe is trying to repeat that feat with recent Chinese art history, working with two co-curators—the widely respected experts Hou Hanru and Phillip Tinari—to […]

Billionaire Basquiat Collector Yusaku Maezawa Went Shopping at Leonardo DiCaprio’s St. Tropez Art Auction

Leonardo DiCaprio knows that if you want to sell a lot of art, you need to bring in the big guns. Among the guests at the actor’s recent star-studded charity auction in Saint-Tropez was Japanese collector Yusaku Maezawa. Best known for his record-setting $110.5 million purchase of a Basquiat at Sotheby’s in May, Maezawa went home from […]

‘People Are Too Stupid for Great Art’: Painter Markus Lüpertz on Why the Avant-Garde Will Always Fail

You’re often viewed as controversial—especially in Germany—because of your willingness to address difficult subjects, both in the content of your work and the press. How do you deal with that perception? I can’t really comment on my reputation because the reputation is in no way justified. I’m a peaceful, happy, cheerful, elderly gentleman, except for […]

A. R. Penck, Neo-Expressionist Painter Whose Work Reflected on the Postwar German Condition, Dies at 77

In 1985, A. R. Penck told curator Klaus Ottmann that he didn’t miss East Germany, where he had been born in 1939 and from which he was exiled in 1961. East Germany, Penck said, “disappeared in a black hole”—it was totally behind him. But, of course, his homeland and everything he lost when he left […]

Vito Acconci, Transgressive Progenitor of Performance Art, Dies at 77

The Bronx-born artist came to fame in the 1970s with an array of unsettling work. Vito Acconci, a towering figure with influences on both performance art and experimental architecture, has died at the age of 77. A cause of death has not been confirmed by the estate. Born in the Bronx in 1940, Acconci worked as […]

Here’s Why Damien Hirst’s Art Market Is Not as Terrible as It Looks

A deep dive into the British artist’s prices as he attempts a comeback. After years of sluggish auction prices, is Damien Hirst poised for a comeback? In 2008, the British artist bypassed the gallery system to bring 167 newly created artworks straight to the auction block. The unprecedented sale upended every market convention and raked […]

Behold the New Vantablack 2.0, the Art Material So Black It Eats Lasers and Flattens Reality

Artists the world over were instantly captivated three years ago when UK-based Surrey NanoSystems announced the invention of Vantablack, the darkest material ever made. And things continue to get darker: The company has been advancing the technology, and released some astonishing photographs and footage of the pigment in action, which have to be seen to be […]

As Duchamp’s ‘Fountain’ Turns 100: 14 Iconic Artworks It Inspired

Discover the enduring legacy of the readymade in works by Manzoni, Koons, Hirst, Emin … Marcel Duchamp’s Fountain hardly needs an introduction. Celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, the work was originally submitted for display at the 1917 exhibition of the Society of Independent Artists in New York City. Famously rejected by the committee, Duchamp instead exhibited the work at Alfred […]

Inside Wolfgang Tillmans’s Superb Tate Modern Survey

The new show feels unquestionably relevant. The opening [today] of “2017,” Wolfgang Tillmans’s survey at Tate Modern, is bringing a much needed breath of fresh air to the London museum, and not because recent exhibitions might have been lackluster—on the contrary, the ongoing Robert Rauschenberg retrospective is a triumph, and the recent solos of Agnes […]

What to Make of MoMA’s Stand on Trump’s Travel Ban

This week, New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) rehung its prized Modern galleries, swapping out works by greats like Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso for works by artists from the Muslim-majority countries affected by President Trump’s travel ban. It’s not exactly as if MoMA has draped itself in a “Muslim Lives Matter” banner. Still, this rapid response, […]

In Elegant Reposte to Trump’s Travel Order, MoMA Installs Works by Artists from Banned Muslim Countries

Less than a week after President Trump signed an executive order banning citizens of seven majority-Muslim countries from entering the United States, the Museum of Modern Art in New York has responded by installing a dozen works by artists from those countries, including the late Iraqi-born architect Zaha Hadid, the Sudanese master Ibrahim El-Salahi, and the young Iranian […]

artnet News Critics’ Picks: The Most Memorable Artworks of 2016

While 2016 may have been pretty awful on any number of fronts, we have to admit that it also gave us a lot of pretty great art. Consider Maurizio Cattelan alone, who gave us a solid gold toilet to relieve ourselves on at New York’s Guggenheim Museum, a real life donkey, pooping in the tent […]

Why the ‘Uber effect’ is proving elusive for online platforms

Barely a month goes by without the launch of an online initiative that aims to disrupt the art market and bring the “Uber and Airbnb effect” to art transactions. But witness the crowds pacing the aisles at a big-league art fair, or spilling out of the salesrooms during the evening auctions, and the impact of […]

10 Disruptors Who Are Completely Changing the Art World

For the second consecutive year, artnet News set out to identify 10 players who are disrupting the status quo. This year’s edition, like last year’s, is a “subjective, non-comprehensive list of colleagues who have changed the shape of the American art world,” as Brian Boucher writes. Even still, game changers are necessary to any industry—especially the art world. From artists […]

The Middle Market Squeeze, Part II: Galleries Get a Reality Check

Every age gets the kind of gallery it deserves. In August of 2015, ex-gallerist, private dealer, art fair director, and author Ed Winkleman published his second book on contemporary art galleries in six years. Titled Selling Contemporary Art: How to Navigate the Evolving Market(Allworth Press), the book provides what an Amazon online review calls an […]