KAWS Pays $17 M. for Brooklyn Building, Contested Banksy Sculpture Withdrawn from Auction, and More: Morning Links from November 19, 2019 – – ARTnews

KAWS with his sculpture GONE at the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, Australia in September 2019.

DAVID CROSLING/EPA-EFE/SHUTTERSTOCK

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News

A Banksy sculpture that had been set to go up for sale at Sotheby’s in London has been withdrawn over an ownership dispute. [The Art Newspaper]

KAWS paid $17 million to Thor Equities in New York to buy a 10,000-square-foot building next to his studio in Brooklyn. The artist has been there since 2017. [The Real Deal]

Kelly Crow reports on efforts by Bettina Bryant to maintain the art collection assembled by her husband, Donald L. Bryant Jr., who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Crow: “They are encumbered with more than $90 million in art-backed loans, and with the 77-year-old Mr. Bryant no longer able to weigh in, Ms. Bryant, 52, has been doing everything she can to make monthly interest payments totaling around $300,000.” [The Wall Street Journal]

History

The prime minister of France returned a 19th-century sword to Senegal’s president “as a symbolic gesture of France’s commitment to its pledge to return African cultural heritage.” [The Art Newspaper]

The first episode of the Netflix series The Queen focused on Anthony Blunt, the former art surveyor for Buckingham Palace who doubled as a Soviet spy. [ARTnews]

Issues

Artist Ai Weiwei commented on the turmoil in Hong Kong, saying “Hong Kong demonstrators are the heroes of our time.” [The Art Newspaper]

Taking a question posed as part of an audio guide to a show at the National Gallery in London, Farah Nayeri wonders: “Is it time to stop looking at Gauguin altogether?” [The New York Times]

The New Yorker devoted a “Talk of the Town” piece to artist Kehinde Wiley and playwright Jeremy O. Harris—both of whom are “making provocative incursions into Times Square” by way of Rumors of War (Wiley’s public sculpture) and Slave Play (Harris’s Broadway show). [The New Yorker]

Misc.

Here’s an appreciation of a new wave of figurative painting that is “breathing new life into a form that has traditionally been dominated by white male artists and has been described as ‘anachronistic, inert, crusty.’” [The Guardian]

A tennis racket that Serena Williams smashed in a notorious match in 2018 is going up for auction. “I think the low end would be $10,000, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it goes to $25,000 or $50,000,” the founder of Golden Auctions said. [The New York Times]

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