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The week in art news – Christie’s sells jpeg by digital artist for a record $69m

12 March 2021

On Thursday a digital artwork sold for $69.3m at Christie’s in New York. The work, titled Everydays: The First 5,000 Days, is a collage of images assembled by an artist who goes by the name Beeple. It has been sold as a unique, digital-only work, with its authenticity guaranteed via a form of digital certification known as a non-fungible token (NFT). In another first, Christie’s has confirmed that it will accept the cryptocurrency Ethereum as payment for the buyer’s premium on the work. As Bloomberg notes, this is a bold move, given the extreme volatility of cryptocurrencies.

Metro Pictures, the acclaimed gallery in New York, will close by the end of the year, its owners have announced. Founded in SoHo in 1980, the gallery – run by Helene Winer and Janelle Reiring – soon became closely associated with the group of artists known as the Pictures Generation, helping to launch the careers of figures including Cindy Sherman, Sherrie Levine and Robert Longo. The gallery relocated to Chelsea in 1997.

The Paris Biennale, one of the longest-running art fairs in Europe, has announced that it will not be continuing, with the Syndicat National des Antiquaires (SNA) who ran the fair stating that they will instead set up a new art and antiques event in the city at the end of this year. The fair had experienced a difficult few years, with visitor numbers falling consistently from 2016.

The Charity Commission has ruled that the National Trust’s report into histories of slavery and colonialism pertaining to its properties was not in breach of charity law. The commission, which regulates charities in England Wales on behalf of the government, opened a compliance case last September, after the Trust’s report was criticised for its alleged political bias by the Commonsense Group of Conservative MPs and peers. The commission has concluded that the Trust ‘acted in line with its charitable purposes, and the trustees fulfilled their legal duties and responsibilities’.