Art news – weekly round-up

  • 24 January 2014

A controversial chair, Christie's record-breaking year and Tate announces a new sponsor – we round up the top art stories of the week.

Dasha Zhukova is photographed for Buro 24/7 sitting on the controversial chair by Bjarne Melgaard

Dasha Zhukova is photographed for Buro 24/7 sitting on the controversial chair by Bjarne Melgaard

Chair causes controversy

A photograph of gallery owner and socialite Dasha Zhukova sitting on a chair made from a contorted black female mannequin in bondage clothing​ has caused controversy. According to The Independent Zhukova has claimed that the Bjarne Melgaard piece, which alludes to the work of pop artist Allen Jones, critiques racism and issues of gender as opposed to condoning them. However The Telegraph reports she has since released a formal apology and a new, cropped version of the photograph has appeared on the website Buro 24/7, for which it was commissioned.

Christie’s sales reach record high

With a record-breaking £4.5 billion of artworks sold last year, Christie’s now holds the highest annual sales of any auction house in history. Speaking to The Guardian, chief executive Steven Murphy said almost one in three customers were first-time buyers, and a 'surge in interest' from across the globe attributed 63% of sales to the Chinese market. The Financial Times reports that sales were boosted by inaugural exhibitions in Shanghai and Mumbai, and massive growth in online sales.

Tate’s Turbine announces new sponsor

Tate Modern has ensured another decade of popular large-scale installations in its Turbine Hall after signing a new sponsorship deal with South Korean car-maker Hyundai. Times art correspondent Jack Malvern says that although no official figure has been disclosed, the deal is estimated at over £5 million.

View across Venice on display

The Ashmolean Museum in Oxford has been given an 18th-century painting of Venice by Francesco Guardi, titled Fondamenta Nuova. Following the Art Fund's announcement of the acquisition earlier this week, the BBC reports that the £2 million acquisition was made possible thanks to the Arts Council England’s Acceptance in Lieu scheme, with additional contributions from the Art Fund and from the Sir Denis Mahon Charitable Trust, in memory of Jo Wilson. It will be the first time the painting has been on public display.

And finally...

The Underpants Museum in Brussels recently discovered that one of their prized exhibits, a pair of signed pants belonging to Mayor Yvan Mayeur, had been stolen. Situated in the De Dolle Mol bar, the museum is run by Jan Bucquoy and focuses on the relationship between politicians and their undergarments. He told The Telegraph: ‘I hope to find the pants. If thieves return them to me then I promise to give them a beer.’