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David Bowie (1947–2016)

11 January 2016

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

David Bowie (19472016) | Musician and cultural icon David Bowie has died in New York, just days after his 69th birthday. Quite aside from his 50 years of recording, Bowie’s cultural influence stretched well beyond music. An inspiration to countless artists and designers, he also took an active involvement in the art world. In the mid 1990s, he raised eyebrows by turning his hand to art criticism, and even took the bold move of exhibiting his own paintings at venues including the ICA and the National Portrait Gallery. But it will be for his seismic cultural impact, celebrated in 2014’s ‘David Bowie Is’ at the V&A, that he will be best remembered. As the New York Times says in its obituary, Bowie ‘transcended music, art and fashion’. Read our tribute to Bowie here. 

Sotheby’s Acquires Art Agency, Partners | Sotheby’s has bought major art-advisory firm Art Agency, Partners, paving the way for new ventures in an area previously unexplored by the auction house. The $50 million deal was accompanied by an agreement that the firm’s members will pocket an extra $35 million should they meet performance targets. For a good contextual analysis, see the Wall Street Journal’s report about what the deal represents.

Turner’s Dutch Boats in a Gale: Saved for the Nation? | A Turner painting owned by the late property-tycoon Harry Hyams is to remain on display at the National Gallery, where it has hung since 1998. Hyams, notorious for his controversial postwar developments, including Centre Point, stipulated in his will that Turner’s Dutch Boats in a Gale should remain on public view. However, it may be best to take the Sunday Times article (£) in which the story was reported with a pinch of salt: as stated in the piece’s entertaining below-the-line comments, there is little substantive information as to the painting’s fate. As we have seen countless times before, death duties can make mincemeat out of even the most noble intentions.

American Artist Murdered in Florence | Police in Florence are conducting an investigation into the possible murder of Florida-born artist Ashley Ann Olsen, who was found dead in her bathroom on Saturday, apparently from strangulation. Olsen was well known among the artistic community of the city, where her father teaches art at a school.

Gareth Hoskins (19672016) | Scottish architect and RIBA advisor Gareth Hoskins has died of a heart attack, aged just 49. Hoskins’s commissions occasionally attracted criticism, not least his proposal for the redevelopment Edinburgh’s Old Royal High School, but his accolades, which included winning UK Architect of the Year in 2006, were testament to the respect he inspired among fellow architects. Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s First Minister has since paid tribute to him as ‘one of Scotland’s finest architects’.