Arts and Culture

World’s oldest near-complete Hebrew Bible sells for $38 mn

NEW YORK, United States (AFP) — A Hebrew Bible more than 1,000 years old sold for $38.1 million in New York on Wednesday, setting a record for the most valuable manuscript ever sold at auction. The Codex Sassoon — which dates to the late ninth to early 10th century — is the earliest near-complete Hebrew Bible known to still exist. It was sold by Sotheby’s following a four-minute bidding battle between two bidders, the auction […]

France to shut Pompidou museum for five years in 2025

PARIS, May 10, 2023 (AFP) – The Pompidou Centre in Paris, one of the world’s top modern art museums, will shut down for refurbishment for five years from 2025, France’s culture minister said Wednesday. The Pompidou houses work by artists from Pablo Picasso to Wassily Kandinsky and welcomed more than three million visitors last year. But its ground-breaking “inside out” structure by architects Richard Rogers and Renzo Piano, that displays pipework on the outside, has […]

US climate activists smear paint on Degas sculpture enclosure

WASHINGTON, April 27, 2023 (AFP) – Climate activists attacked a famous Degas sculpture in a Washington museum Thursday, smearing its Plexiglas enclosure with paint. The French artist’s wax sculpture of ‘La petite danseuse de quatorze ans’ was attacked with stripes of red and black paint, the National Gallery of Art reported. The incident was one of the first of its kind in North America. The gallery said in a statement to AFP that the work […]

Trinity the T-Rex claws in more than $6 million

(AFP) Zurich, Switzerland by James RYBACKI A composite Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton called Trinity, made up of bones from three different T-Rexes, sold for 5.5 million Swiss francs ($6.1 million) in a rare auction on Tuesday. The skeleton was sold at the Koller auction house in Zurich after being shipped from the United States in nine giant crates. Trinity fetched a hammer price of 4.8 million Swiss francs, rising to 5.5 million with the buyer’s premium […]

New York parking garage collapses, at least one dead and four injured

New York, United States | AFP | Tuesday 4/19/2023 At least one person died and four were rushed to hospital after a multi-story parking garage in New York City collapsed on Tuesday, emergency responders said. Aerial video footage circulating on social media showed cars piled on top of one another in a jumble of cracked concrete in the financial district of Lower Manhattan. The building on Ann Street “pancaked, collapsed, all the way to the […]

AI work sparks fierce debate after winning photo award

Paris, France | AFP | Tuesday 4/18/2023 ADDS new statement from awards organiser, detail A German artist has sparked an angry row after winning a prestigious photography prize with an entry that was generated by artificial intelligence. Boris Eldagsen eventually rejected the gong from the Sony World Photography Awards after concluding that such competitions were not yet equipped to handle AI entries. The awards organisers initially accused the artist of “misleading” behaviour, but removed the […]

Michael Jordan sneakers fetch auction record $2.2 mn

NEW YORK, United States (AFP) — A pair of sneakers worn by NBA superstar Michael Jordan sold for $2.2 million on Tuesday, setting a record price at auction for game-worn sports footwear, Sotheby’s announced. The basketball great wore the “Bred” Air Jordan 13s during Game 2 of the 1998 NBA Finals on the way to his sixth and last NBA championship title. The online sale cements Jordan’s position as the most valuable athlete at auctions […]

Mexican TikToker shares Maya language with new generations

by Sofia Miselem Agence France-Presse OXKUTZKAB, Mexico (AFP) — Santos Tuz bids his followers farewell with a smile in Maya and Spanish on social media, where the young Mexican teacher shares his Indigenous language with thousands of people. The 21-year-old, from the southeastern state of Yucatan, discovered his vocation to keep the words of his ancestors alive during the Covid-19 lockdown. His TikTok account @tuzsantos322 has 343,000 followers and 3.1 million likes. “Green on the […]

Basquiat-Warhol: a rare artistic duo, reunited in Paris

by Eric Randolph and Sandra Biffot-Lacut Agence France Presse Paris, France (AFP) — There are vanishingly few great collaborations in the annals of fine art. For a brief moment in the 1980s, Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat showed the world how it was done. It started with a bang. Warhol, 54, met Basquiat, 22, for lunch in October 1982 and took a polaroid of them together. Basquiat took it to his studio and returned just […]

Danish artist hatches epic global troll hunt

by James BROOKS Copenhagen, Denmark (AFP) A Danish artist famous for his towering wooden trolls sent fans on a worldwide quest Monday to find his latest creation. Thomas Dambo has created a complex treasure hunt to find “Moon Mother”, his 100th troll sculpture, who he said has “crawled into the most secret spot in the forest” to give birth. His giant figures inspired by Scandinavian folk tales are often located off the beaten track to […]

Artists fight AI programs that copy their styles

by Julie JAMMOT Agence France-Presse San Francisco, United States (AFP) Artists outraged by artificial intelligence that copies in seconds the styles they have sacrificed years to develop are waging battle online and in court. Fury erupted in the art community last year with the release of generative artificial intelligence (AI) programs that can convincingly carry out commands such as drawing a dog like cartoonist Sarah Andersen would, or a nymph the way illustrator Karla Ortiz […]

Vienna museum tilts paintings to illustrate climate change threat

Vienna, Austria (AFP) Gustav Klimt’s well-known Attersee lake painting tilted by two degrees, Egon Schiele’s painting of a tree in late autumn rotated by five degrees. As part of the initiative “A Few Degrees More”, Vienna’s Leopold Museum has tilted 15 paintings by the number of degrees unchecked climate change could affect the landscapes depicted. The initiative, launched on Wednesday, comes after climate activists poured black liquid over a glass screen protecting a Klimt piece […]