News From the Art World: December 27, 2020

Obama Presidential Center supporters ‘see a light at the end of the tunnel,’ while opponents say it’s not over yet

When Pastor Byron Brazier passes by the future site of the Obama Presidential Center, he already sees the glory of the South Side, he said.

There’s the palace-like Museum of Science and Industry building, its lofty Greek columns and jade-colored dome reflecting in the lagoon. The gothic towers of the University of Chicago’s leafy campus. And the 550 acres of Jackson Park teeming with wildlife and green land — and where he is patiently waiting for the 235-tall, sprawling Obama center complex to one day stand.

By Alice Yin, Chicago Tribune



Lost art: will virtual exhibitions replace in-person museum-going?

We are experiencing an extended period of museum and gallery closures. Lockdowns intended to curtail the spread of the coronavirus mean it is ill-advised to linger among crowds of strangers in enclosed spaces—which counts out enjoying art in person. Some might consider this the death knell for museums and galleries, and from the perspective of visitor income, it certainly is catastrophic. But my hope is that virtual exhibits will remain an alternative art-going experience that will complement traditional in-person viewing when normalcy returns.

By Noah Charney, The Art Newspaper



David Hockney, 30 Sunflowers (1996). Courtesy of Sotheby's Hong Kong.


It Wasn’t All Bad: Here Is One Piece of Good Art-World News From Each Month of 2020

During this chaotic and unprecedented year, the art world was forced to come together—and come up with new ideas. From the creation of a new gallery space run by an all-Black staff to Gee’s Bend quilters working hard to keep their community safe, it turns out that some good things actually did happen in 2020. Check out one piece of good news from each month of this year. 

Via Artnet



Wayne Thiebaud, ‘Four Pinball Machines’ (1962). In its July “ONE” auction, Christie’s secured a major work by Pop art mainstay Wayne Thiebaud from the collection of Ken Siebel. In a trade faciliated by the artist’s longtime dealer Allan Stone, Siebel had acquired the work from West Coast real-estate developer, Donald Bren, who originally purchased it from Christie’s in 1981 for $143,000. Estimated at $18 million–$25 million, more than double the artist’s previous record of $8.5 million, the work sold for a new high of $19.1 million. 

The Defining Auction Records of 2020: Young Talents Rise, Old Masters Seen Anew, and More

With the pandemic upending most aspects of the art world this year, top auction houses adapted their marquee sales to a new virtual format, ushering in an era of live-streamed mega-auctions. In the process, records were notched for artists with rising markets.

By Angelica Villa