Rare Mercedes Goes for $143 M., Fundraiser Launched for Aboriginal Art, and More: Morning Links for May 20, 2022

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The Headlines

RECORDS RESET. The marquee May auctions continued on Thursday in New York, with Sotheby’s hosting two back-to-back sales that earned a within-estimate total of $283.4 million across 50 lots. The big news: The prices for many works by women soared, with new records marked for Avery Singer ($5.25 million), Christina Quarles ($4.53 million), and Simone Leigh ($2.17 million). In the first of the two events, for recently made art, 65 percent of the lots were by women, a notable change of pace from the usual male-dominated festivities. The second sale, for postwar material and contemporary art on the older end of the spectrum, was a more traditional affair: Most of the top lots were the work of men, and Georg Baselitz and Sean Scully notched new records. ARTnews has a full report from Alex Greenberger and Angelica Villa.

IN OTHER AUCTION NEWS, an Aboriginal heritage council in Melbourne, Australia, said that it is working to raise $1 million through GoFundMe to acquire two pieces by the 19th-century Wurundjeri artist William Barak that will hit the block at Sotheby’s in New York next week, the Guardian reports. One of Barak’s descendents told the paper, “Let’s try and preserve some of our history and bring it back home.” Meanwhile, Mercedes-Benz said that it auctioned off a rare car from its holdings, a 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupé, for a whopping €135 million (about $143 million). It billed the sale as a record for an automobile, though that “claim couldn’t be independently verified,” the Associated Press reports. Dating to 1955, it is one of only two that were made.

The Digest

A New York court ruled against two artists, Kit-Yin Snyder and Richard Haas, who are attempting to halt the demolition of a Manhattan jail on the grounds that it would lead to the destruction of their work, Zachary Small reports. The case has been supported by a community group fighting the construction of a new jail there. [The New York Times]

Some 600 works that were damaged during flooding at the Lismore Regional Gallery in Australia are undergoing restoration work at the Registrar General’s Building in Sydney. Most will be able to be displayed once more, it is believed. [The Sydney Morning Herald]

Sculptor Alison Saar has been commissioned to create a statue of playwright Lorraine Hansberry. Set to go on view in Times Square early next month, the piece is the work of the Lorraine Hansberry Initiative, which focuses on preserving her legacy. [The New York Times]

Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker’s home in Calabasas, California, features a number of drawings by Raymond Pettibon, an Andy Warhol diamond dust silkscreen (of Dracula), and a Rick Owens bronze vase. Waldo Fernandez handled the interior decoration.
[Architectural Digest]

The artist John McGowan is on the hunt for a charming painting of a house standing next to a small stream that he made 42 years ago and gave to the Mereway Upper Schoo in Northampton, England, which was torn down in 2005. If you recognize it, drop him a line! [BBC News]

The Kicker

A STONE AGE FEAST. Archaeologists working at a settlement near Stonehenge that was inhabited around 2500 BCE, when that mysterious site was being built, have discovered fecal material (human and canine) that offer hints of what mealtime was like back then, CNN reports. There is good news and bad news. “Pork and beef were spit-roasted or boiled in clay pots,” said Parker Pearson , who coauthored a study on the subject. That certainly sounds tasty. However, the specimens contained the eggs of parasitic worms: a great deal less tasty. It “looks as if the offal wasn’t always so well cooked,” Pearson continued. [CNN]

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