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The week in art news – Macklowe collection sells for record-breaking $922m

20 May 2022

The collection of the divorcing New York property developers Harry and Linda Macklowe has fetched a record-breaking total of $922m – the highest price ever achieved for a single-owner collection at auction. The total was reached after the second portion of the couple’s collection raised $246m at Sotheby’s in New York on Monday evening, surpassing the estimate by more than $75 million; the first half of the collection made $676.1m last November. Among the highest selling works, an untitled red canvas by Mark Rothko sold for $48m , a self-portrait by Andy Warhol for $16m, and Gerhard Richter’s Seestüch (Seascape) (1975) for $30.2m.

The Scottish businessman Sir Angus Grossart has died at the age of 85. The former chairman of the Royal Bank of Scotland Group and the Scottish Investment Trust was widely recognised for his contributions to arts and culture. Grossart served as chair of the National Museums of Scotland, the National Galleries of Scotland, and the Heritage Lottery Fund in Scotland, and was one of the leading forces in the recent refurbishment of the Burrell Collection, donating more than £1m to the project. The First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, described Grossart as a ‘titan of Scotland’s business community’ who will be known for ‘his significant contributions to the arts, culture, the economy and public life’.

Amid allegations of censorship at the Museu de Arte de São Paulo Chateaubriand (MASP), Sandra Benites, who became the first Indigenous person to serve as a curator in Brazil in 2019, has resigned. The museum had been accused of censoring a series of photographs that were due to be exhibited in an upcoming exhibition, ‘Histórias Brasilerias (Brazilian Histories)’In an email informing artists João Zinclair, André Vilaron and Edgar Kanaykō that their works were to be omitted, Benites and guest curator Clarissa Diniz called the decision ‘disrespectful and unjust’. The photographs depict the Moviemento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra, a Marxist social movement which advocated for rural communities during the 1980s. The museum has stated that the photographs were removed on the basis of late submission, rather than content.

More than 100 demonstrators gathered outside the Whitney Museum of Art in New York on Tuesday night, on the occasion of the institution’s annual gala. Consisting of members of the Whitney Museum Union, which formed in October 2021, the crowd formed around the entrance to the event to protest the institution’s working conditions, wages and other issues.

Ukrainian soldiers in the port city of Odessa have located a mass of ancient artefacts while digging ditches in advance of a Russian art strike, according to reports by the Ukrainian military this week. The objects discovered include containers known as amphorae, dating back to the third or fourth century BC, when the city was a Roman settlement.