So much happened in 2013, but my favorite stories all revolve around the art world. From iconic singers finally releasing an autobiography (it's about time, Morrissey!) to Marina Abramović making it big in mainstream culture, it has been a pretty full year. Here are some of my favorite art stories to have come up (not all of them are positive, by the way) and though many go unmentioned, that's where you come in to share your favorites!
Banksy Dominates New York
Street artist Banksy made the entire city of New York his own personal gallery for the entire month of October, calling it "Better Out Than In." He made the announcement via his personal website on October 1, letting everyone know that each day he would unveil a work somewhere in the five boroughs and would announce where. Varying from elaborate graffiti and large street sculptures to video installations and performance art, Banksy effectively not only took over NYC, he took over the internet.
While some pieces were pretty standard and some only okay, others took precedence as daring and memorable. One of my favorites was definitely "The Sirens of the Lambs," which was a truck filled with adorable automaton sheep, chickens and cows, their heads poking through the slats as they are driven to a slaughterhouse.
In a move that is part mockery and part genius, he also anonymously sold his original artwork for $60 via an old man in Central Park. Famously, only three people bought anything from the stall full of signed art pieces, making only $420 in total.
Francis Bacon Sets Phenomenal $142.4M Auction Record
Three Studies of Lucian Freud (1969) was bought for $142.4M at Christie's postwar and contemporary art sale in November, making it the most expensive artwork ever sold at an auction. Seven bidders battled over the painting, which depicts Bacon's friend and rival Lucian Freud sitting on a chair, for more than 10 minutes until the triptych was won by the unknown buyer.
Over 1,400 Nazi-Seized Artworks Found In Munich Apartment
A lot of art found to be degenerate and corrupting to the German people were looted by the Nazis around 1937, from private owners and museums. Much of these pieces were modern or abstract in nature. Over 1,400 of these were found in one apartment in an upscale Munich district in February, professionally stored and in good condition. Discovered by tax investigators, the treasure trove includes framed and unframed artworks by some of the great artists, including Picasso, Max Liebermann, Toulouse-Lautrec, Auguste Renoir, and even a previously unknown artwork by Marc Chagall and an unlisted painting by Henri Matisse.
The Overnight Destruction of 5Pointz
For anyone that ever happened upon 5Pointz, either by happy accident or on purpose, it wasn't a sight that would ever be forgotten. Though many people may consider graffiti to be a form of vandalism (and sometimes without a doubt, it is intended that way), the "United Nations of Graffiti" on the edge of Queens was way more than that, it was a Mecca for artists around the world and a public outdoor art gallery. Though many tried to save it from being turned into a $400M residential project, in the middle of the night 5Pointz was quietly whitewashed, painting over the work of hundreds of artists (some incredibly famous) was lost.
Nick Cave's Heard Takes Over Grand Central Terminal
I'll admit it, I first discovered Nick Cave when I mistook him for one of my favorite musicians (you know, Australian Nick Cave who turns everything he touches into gold), but that's one mistake I'm proud of. Cave works in a variety of mediums, including performance and sculpture, and his HEARD•NY project must have been wonderful to witness in person. Twice a day, a herd of 30 beautiful life-size horses broke into choreographed movements accompanied by live music. Presented by Creative Time and MTA Arts for Transit, the "crossings" were part of a celebration for Grand Central's centennial. The performers beneath the costumes were students of The Ailey School, who worked with Chicago-based choreographer William Gill and Cave to perfect the movements.
Missing Van Gogh Discovered in Attic
Like many, I'm obsessed with the tender Vincent van Gogh (I even named my newly adopted orange tabby, completely with 1.5 ears, Vincent van Kitty — unfortunately, he doesn't paint), so you can image how excited I was to learn of a newly discovered Van Gogh. Just sitting in a Norwegian attic, Sunset at Montmajour (1888) has quite the history. Originally owned by Vincent's brother Theo, the painting has since bounced around and was written off as inauthentic. Finally the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam asserted its authenticity, believing it was painting during Vinny's time in Southern France in Aries — which was the same time period in which he created Sunflowers, The Yellow House and The Bedroom. They even found references to the work in two letters written by the troubled artist, one expressing dissatisfaction with the finished product.
David Bowie Art Exhibit
The Victoria and Albert Museum in London was given completely access to the David Bowie archive, access I would literally kill for, and put on David Bowie is — the very first international retrospective of Bowie's amazing career. Over 300 objects were put on display, ranging from handwritten lyrics and original costumes to photography and film. The fact that this happened at all was impressive in of itself, as Bowie is known for being incredibly private — he hasn't even performed since 2006 — but I like to think that this was his way of giving his fans a giant hug.
The exhibit made its way to America only once and that was to Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.