Sotheby’s Jumps on the Crypto Train, and Other News

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Reboot Ginevra by Pak

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Sotheby’s jumps on the cryptocurrency train by collaborating with the digital artist Pak.

Christie’s has been hogging the NFT spotlight after auctioning off a work by Beeple for an unprecedented $69.3 million, but now Sotheby’s is getting in on the action. The auction house has announced that it will collaborate with the digital artist Pak on the sale of an NFT, but few details are currently available. “We’re entering a whole new world with digital art, and we felt it was important to work with an artist who has been active in the community for many years,” Sotheby’s said about Pak, the founder of Archillect, an AI-driven visual content sharing platform. The auction house further noted that the Pak sale is “just the first step for us” and is looking at “how we can not only enter the digital art sphere, but create a bridge from digital art to our auction business.” 

A bottle of Macallan whisky raises $437,500 for the Guggenheim’s diversity initiatives.

When Macallan recently auctioned one of its 13 highly rare Anecdotes of Ages bottles through Sotheby’s New York, it raised a staggering $437,500. Those assets will be donated to the Guggenheim Museum’s diversity, equity, access, and inclusion initiatives, and will help sponsor a new recurring free-admission program called Saturday on the House. It’s a step forward for the museum, which for the past year has been mired in headlines that the internal culture “enables racism.” Longtime curator Nancy Spector departed the museum as a result, being replaced by Naomi Beckwith, the first Black woman to hold the position. 

Untitled at the Whitney

Danny Meyer’s Untitled restaurant at the Whitney Museum will permanently close. 

After being closed for a year due to the pandemic, Union Square Hospitality Group announced the decade-old Untitled at the Whitney Museum will shutter for good. Whitney Cafe, a grab-and-go pop-up that will be run by Union Square Events, will take over the space. Untitled is the second of Meyer’s restaurants to fall victim to the coronavirus, following Flatiron’s beloved barbecue spot, Blue Smoke. The announcement also shortly follows news that restaurateur Ignacio Mattos’s acclaimed Flora Bar at the Met Breuer would also permanently shutter.

To revive its struggling art scene, London debuts the first “gallery weekend” this summer.

The end of lockdown is in sight, and London’s long-shuttered galleries are planning to celebrate by launching the city’s first-ever “gallery weekend” this summer. The grassroots initiative brings together more than 80 galleries across the city, ranging from independent enterprises to global mega-galleries such as Gagosian. While the format has proven popular across Europe, it hasn’t quite caught on in London, which has a more disparate geography of galleries spread across South London, East London, and Central London. The three days will feature programming such as panel talks, studio visits, performances, and children’s events staged by participating galleries. 

Roberts Temple Church of God in Chicago

A storied church on Chicago’s South Side may become a National Historic Monument.

Senator Tammy Duckworth has instituted bipartisan legislation that would formally establish the Roberts Temple Church of God on the South Side of Chicago as a National Historic Monument. The classification would provide the historically significant secular institution an elevated level of federal support and ensure, per the National Trust for Historic Preservation, that it would “preserve, protect, and interpret its powerful impact on American civil rights history for generations to come.” The church is best known as the place where Mamie Till-Mobley held an open-casket funeral for her son, Emmet Till, after he was lynched by a group of white men in 1955. The church previously appeared on the National Trust’s 2020 list of America’s Most Endangered Places because the building is in urgent need of rehabilitation work. 

Kanye West went from being $53 million in debt to the richest Black man in U.S. history.

With $6.6 billion to his name, Kanye West has become the richest Black man in U.S. history. His multibillion-dollar net worth is largely due to his YEEZY sneaker business, which is valued between $3.2 and $4.7 billion. Sales for his YEEZY Adidas sneakers grew 31 percent during the pandemic, and he’s a major investor in Kim Kardashian’s shapewear label, Skims. In addition to his own ventures, his Gap partnership, slated to hit stores this summer, is worth as much as $970 million.

Mystery burglars vanish after a failed art heist at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

A planned robbery of the Museum of Fine Arts failed after a burglar alarm sounded, yet the man-and-woman duo still managed to escape after running through the woods to a motorized getaway boat on the Buffalo Bayou. Authorities later found the craft abandoned in a storm drain, and have been unsuccessful in identifying the waterborne burglars in the days since.  

Ya Gallery in Hangzhou

Today’s attractive distractions:

This photography contest challenges you to capture architectural drama.

Converse drops a Chuck Taylor made out of mostly recyclable materials.

Memphis Milano gets its due inside a mesmerizing gallery in Hangzhou.

This mirrored cabin uses ultraviolet coating to help prevent bird accidents.


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