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MARQUEE AUCTION MISFIRES. This month’s marquee New York auctions got off to a relatively sluggish start at Sotheby’s established and emerging contemporary art sales yesterday, reports Alex Greenberger and Karen K. Ho for ARTnews. With a total of $267.3 million sold within the pre-sale estimate, the evening saw some buzzy flops, including a hyped Francis Bacon painting, along with moments that felt “like extracting teeth,” per auctioneer Oliver Barker’s best quote of the evening. The event was the first big auction of annual May New York sales, set against concerns over a weaker market compared to 2023, which last night’s tepid performance didn’t appear to dispel.

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DUTCH ACADEMY DIVESTS. The Dutch Royal Academy of Art (KABK) in The Hague has decided to sever ties with the Israeli Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design. The historic Dutch school notably had an exchange program with the Israeli academy in the past. The announcement on May 10 comes following a KABK student-led campaign, which specifically condemned a new program called the Bezalel Emergency Sewing Center, in which students fix Israeli military uniforms, according to the KABK student union, reports Artnet News. “We choose to discontinue to partner with an institution that is not opposing a government under serious investigation for breaching human rights and committing crimes against humanity or is supporting this,” said the KABK board in a letter.


The Iranian filmmaker Mohammad Rasoulof has fled his home country with the help of smugglers, after receiving a jail sentence on national security charges for his latest film, The Seed of the Sacred Fig. The film will premiere at the Cannes Film Festival, opening today. [CNN]

Staff at Queens College, New York (Cuny) allege artworks in the schools’ Art Library collection and elsewhere on campus, by the likes of Anni Albers, Alice Neel, and Picasso, are not being cared for properly, with artworks suffering damage or gone missing. Current and former staff reportedly say systemic neglect of the artworks have gone on for decades due to “chronic lack of funding.” [The Art Newspaper]

Following the Met Gala in New York, a so-called “digital guillotine” trend has gained momentum, in which social media users block celebrities who have not shown pro-Palestinian support. [The National]

In more news on cultural responses to the Gaza-Israel conflict, Burning Man has removed an artwork from its website titled “From the River to the Sea,” after a petition said it used “language that advocates for the annihilation of Israel.” The unrealized sculpture proposal showed a giant, cut watermelon made of pre-fab fiberglass, described as “a powerful symbol for Palestinians.” [Hyperallergic]

On that note, the editor-in-chief of The Art Newspaper’s France edition, Philippe Régnier, discusses the controversial departure of patron Sandra Hegedüs from the Palais de Tokyo’s association of financial backers over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the ongoing exhibit “Past Disquiet”. [The Art Newspaper France]

The European Union has lodged a complaint against the Eurovision Song Contest for banning the EU’s flag from last weekend’s event. According to contest rules, only flags of “participating countries and rainbow/pride flags,” are permitted inside the venue. [BBC]

The sci-fi/psychedelic, immersive and interactive art firm Meow Wolf has revealed its Los Angeles exhibition space will open in 2026 inside a portion of the current Cinemark complex at Howard Hughes L.A., West Los Angeles. Some 10 million visitors have attended the firm’s four other US venues since 2016. [The Los Angeles Times]


WORKING ART-MOMS. It’s never too late to talk about Mother’s Day, particularly with Cultured Magazine’s worthwhile round-up of interviews with artists who “reflect on how motherhood changed their relationships with art,” as reported by the magazine’s editor-in-chief, Sarah Harrelson. “Being a mother has helped me relinquish control,” says painter Danielle McKinney as an uplifting opener. “My daughter is teaching me what art is all about: imagination and being in the moment.” That doesn’t necessarily mean any of it is easy. “For some, finding a balance between the contours of motherhood and a creative practice is inevitable, even galvanizing. For others, that tug-of-war is hard-won,” writes Harrelson. Here are a few perspectives to consider from more working art-moms: Rachel Feinstein, Camille Henrot, Karon Davis, Loie Hollowel, and Julia Chian.