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The Headlines

A TEN-FIGURE AFFAIR.On Wednesday evening in New York, at the Rockefeller Center headquarters ofChristie’s, 60 works from the collection of the lateMicrosoftcofounderPaul G. Allenhauled in $1.5 billion, an all-time record for a single auction—by a wide margin.Angelica Villahas areportinARTnews. (The previous high mark was set earlier this year, when theMacklowecollection brought in $922 million atSotheby’s.) Every single one of the Allen lots sold—a white-glove sale, in industry parlance. Five met or exceeded $100 million, including an 1888–90Georges Seuratstudio scene, whichwent for $149 million, and an 1888–90Paul Cezannelandscape,which brought $138 million. Those sums were new top auction prices for the artists, and illustrated just how fierce demand is for art at the upper-most reaches of the market.

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PUBLIC AND POLITICAL.Along a street in Brooklyn, artistPhil Buehlerhas installed a text piece thatcollects the thousands of liestold byPresident Donald J. Trumpand his allies about the 2020 election, theGuardianreports. “It’s really corrosive on our democratic system, that people stop believing in free and fair elections,” he said. Meanwhile, in Chicago, a piece that celebrates Ukrainian heritage, by the Kyiv studioPhotinus, is beingprojected ontotheMART Buildingtwice a night for the next week, as part of a public-art program there, theArt Newspaperreports. Ukraine’s vice-consul in the city framed it as part of an effort to draw attention to the country’s culture amid “the invasive imperialism planted by Russian propaganda.”

The Digest

TheContemporary Arts Centerin Cincinnati has tappedChristina Vassalloto be its director. The leader of theFabric Workshop and Museumin Philadelphia since 2020, Vassallo takes the place ofRaphaela Platow, who left last year to run theSpeed Art Museumin Louisville, Kentucky.[Cincinnati Business Courier]

DealerCourtney Willis Blairhas been hired by the British heavyweight galleryWhite Cubeto helm its hotly anticipated New York branch, which is slated to open next fall. Willis Blair was previously a partner at New York’sMitchell-Innes & Nashgallery, where she brought on artistsGideon AppahandJacolby Satterwhite.[ARTnews]

ArtistAdam Pendletontapped architectFrederick Tang, who collaborated on his recent show at theMuseum of Modern Artin New York, to design a studio for him in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, andArchitectural Digesttook a look inside. Pendleton will have a solo show withPacein Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood in the spring.[AD]

TheAndy Warhol Museumin Pittsburgh said that it has discovered in its vast archives rare master tapes for theVelvet Underground’s debut 1967 album,The Velvet Underground & Nico, with alternate versions of songs. The recording will be featured in a show at the museum next year.[Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]

TheInternational Council of Museumsissued a statement—signed by 92 museum leaders—about the recent attacks on artworks by protesters trying to draw attention to climate change. “The activists responsible for them severely underestimate the fragility of these irreplaceable objects,” it reads in part.[Artnet News]

High-end perfume bottles designed by prominent artists or architects (or their estates) are hot right now.James Turrellhas made two limited-edition bottles withLalique(prices start at about $25,000), and theYves Klein Archivesdid one withGuerlain(about €15,000). Certainly more affordable than actual art by those artists![Financial Times]

The Kicker

A GOOD HAIR DAY.Five years after an ivory comb dating to around 1,700 B.C.E. was found in Israel by archaeologists, a tiny inscription was identified on it, andnow it has been translated, theNew York Timesreports. Written in a Canaanite language, and believed to be the oldest sentence in an alphabet that evolved into the one being used right here, right now, it is a charmer: “May this tusk root out the lice of the hair and the beard.” One can only hope.[NYT]