“I was just watching TV and just decided to bite him,” Charlie Davies-Carr said in the interview. “He put his finger in my mouth, so I just bit.” Harry Davies-Carr couldn’t remember the pain from that bite.

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Sale of Museum Paintings Helps Conclude Strong Auction Season

Fifteen objects from cultural institutions passed through Sotheby’s at auction on Wednesday, showing that the debate among museum and industry leaders over deaccessioning hasn’t stopped these sales from occurring.

One work, Thomas Cole’s “The Arch of Nero” (1846) from the Newark Museum of Art, was a highlight, going for $988,000 with fees to a private foundation operated by the Florida-based collectors Thomas H. and Diane DeMell Jacobsen, in a sale of American art totaling $15 million. Last week, Sotheby’s made a combined $703.4 million from its contemporary, impressionist and modern art auctions. Its competitor, Christie’s, had similar successes, reaching more than $775.2 million for the week.

Talk of deaccessioning, the sale by museums of artworks to cover some operating costs, had been divisive earlier this year. The Newark Museum of Art’s decision this month to consign the Cole and 16 other artworks (including pieces by Thomas Eakins, Marsden Hartley and Georgia O’Keeffe) drew criticism from more than 80 curators and historians who signed a public letter that described the sale as “inflicting irreparable damage” on the institution.

The Newark Museum of Art’s director, Linda Harrison, defended the plan earlier this month, calling it “thoughtfully considered” and saying it represented a loss of less than 1 percent of the institution’s 130,000 artworks.

have argued that losing public access to works like the Cole landscape, which allegorizes the fragility of American democracy and the dangerous allure of oligarchs, limits society’s understanding of history.

“It’s a sad day for the people of Newark who are losing objects that have been at the heart of their great art museum for many decades,” William L. Coleman, a former associate curator of American art at the museum, who is now the director of collections and exhibitions at Olana Partnership in upstate New York, said in an interview. “We did not succeed in stopping the sale and that will be a source of regret for a long time.”

The Brooklyn Museum also participated in the auction, selling a Mary Cassatt painting, “Baby Charles Looking Over His Mother’s Shoulder (No. 3),” for $1.6 million with fees to the same collectors who bought the Cole painting. Before this latest sale, the museum had raised close to $35 million at auctions in the United States and Europe for the care of its artworks.

Commodore Amiga personal computer. They will be sold as NFTs, or nonfungible tokens, a type of investment conferring ownership of works that exist only in the digital world.

Funds from the Christie’s sale will benefit the Warhol Foundation’s grant initiatives, including its substantial annual funding of the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh.

“As the great visionary of the 20th century who predicted so many universal truths about art, fame, commerce and technology, Warhol is the ideal artist and NFTs are the ideal medium to reintroduce his pioneering digital artworks,” said Noah Davis, the Christie’s specialist leading the sale.

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Keith Haring’s Refrigerator Door Is on the Auction Block

It began life began as a white refrigerator door in an apartment in SoHo, but by the 1990s, it was anything but plain. It was covered with the graffiti tags and wide-marker signatures of the famous friends of the tenant in the apartment. “Madonna Loves Keith,” read one inscription.

Yes, that Madonna. The tenant was the artist Keith Haring, a star of the SoHo art scene, who partied with Andy Warhol and graffiti artists like LA II (whose real name is Angel Ortiz) and Fab Five Freddy (Fred Brathwaite), both of whom signed the refrigerator. Also on the door are the letters JM, which the auctioneer Arlan Ettinger, in an interview, speculated had belonged to Jean-Michel Basquiat, the downtown artist who became a megawatt celebrity. (Ettinger said he had tried to verify the Basquiat signature but that “there’s no way of absolutely confirming” it’s his writing or not.)

Ettinger, who will sell the refrigerator door on Wednesday at Guernsey’s, said the door served as Haring’s guest register. “It seemed like everybody who was anybody showed up there,” he said, “and you signed in on that refrigerator door. It’s not beautiful, but it’s of that moment, of that time. It reflects a certain spirit, a creativeness, that is alive today if you think about the people who were there — Madonna, and a long, long list of artists.”

Ettinger said the owner, a yoga instructor in California, had insisted on privacy, so much so that he said he did not even know her name. He said his contract to sell the door was with a friend of the owner who forwarded an email describing how the owner had found the apartment on Broome Street — she saw an ad for a “spacious railroad apartment” in The Village Voice in 1990. It came with “this amazing refrigerator covered with the graffiti of the Haring era.” The walls had once been covered, too, but she said that the landlord had repainted them.

She returned home one sweltering day to learn that the refrigerator had conked out and was removed; the delivery men had left it on the street to be picked up with the garbage.

“I raced outside,” the email said. “There, in the back alley, was our old friend, the Haring fridge, lying on its side. The door slipped off the body of the fridge easily. I brought it upstairs while my roommate retrieved the smaller top freezer door.”

In 1993, when she moved to California, she carted the door to her parents’ home in Washington, and stored it in their attic, where it stayed until about 2010, when her mother shipped it to her.

Andy Warhol, whose signature is also on the refrigerator door, figures in another item in the auction: A moose head he owned. The auction will be conducted online through Liveauctioneers.com and Invaluable.com, and by telephone from Guernsey’s. Ettinger’s estimate for the refrigerator door is “in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.”

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Space Aged: Bottle of Wine From Space Station Could Sell for $1 Million

It was a cool and dark environment, but not your traditional wine cellar.

Not when it involved orbiting the Earth about 250 miles up at a speed of 17,500 miles per hour aboard the International Space Station, which is where a celebrated bottle of red wine from France’s Bordeaux region spent 14 months, according to Christie’s auction house.

The bottle, a Pétrus from the year 2000, is now being sold by Christie’s, which lists the estimated price of the bottle at $1 million. The company is calling it a “space-aged” wine for discerning connoisseurs, as private-sector monetization of space exploration and research ascends. Sip slowly.

“This bottle of Pétrus 2000 marks a momentous step in the pursuit of developing and gaining a greater understanding of the maturation of wine,” Tim Triptree, the international director of Christie’s wine and spirits department, said in a statement on Tuesday.

Renowned for its complexity and tasting notes of black truffles, black cherries, licorice and mulberry, the 21-year-old Pétrus is regarded as one of the best vintages in the world of wine. A 750-milliliter bottle typically fetches several thousand dollars.

Decanter reported.

Wine Spectator reported.

That same year, a rare bottle of Macallan whisky hand-painted by the Irish artist Michael Dillon sold for 1.2 million pounds (about $1.7 million in current U.S. dollars), Christie’s said. Earlier in 2018, two other rare bottles of whisky each sold for $1 million.

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Bidding Opens for a Seat on Blue Origin’s First Passenger Space Flight

Blue Origin, the rocket company founded by Jeff Bezos, will launch a rocket into space with passengers on board for the first time in July, the company said on Wednesday.

One seat on the flight, which will carry six astronauts on a short jaunt to the edge of outer space, is up for auction.

The first astronaut flight of New Shepard, a suborbital spacecraft, is scheduled for July 20, the 52nd anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.

“We’ve spent years testing, so we’re ready,” Ariane Cornell, director of astronaut sales for Blue Origin, said at a news conference on Wednesday.

millions of people eventually living and working in space.

For now, most of Blue Origin’s business has stayed closer to Earth. It builds and sells rocket engines to another rocket company, United Launch Alliance. A rocket that would lift cargo to orbit is not expected to be ready for years, and the company recently lost a competition with SpaceX for a contract to build a moon lander for NASA’s astronauts (it has protested the award). Customers have also paid to fly science experiments for NASA and private scientists during test flights of the New Shepard spacecraft.

It has been preparing for years for the start of its space tourism program, which would offer suborbital trips to what is considered the boundary of outer space, 62 miles above Earth. A competitor, Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic, also plans to fly space tourists on suborbital jaunts. Virgin Galactic’s space plane, known as SpaceShipTwo, is flown by two pilots, so it has carried people to space on test flights, but no paying passengers yet.

Blue Origin’s tourist rocket is named after Alan Shepard, the first American to go to space. It has undergone 15 test flights, none of which had passengers aboard. Ahead of the latest test, in April, a crew rehearsed boarding and exiting the capsule.

For July’s crewed launch, astronauts will arrive to the launch site in West Texas four days before their flight for safety training, Ms. Cornell said.

terms of agreement for the auction listed on Blue Origin’s website, the winning bidder must have a height and weight from five feet tall and 110 pounds to 6-foot-four and 223 pounds.

The astronaut must also be comfortable with walking at heights above 70 feet above ground level on the gangway, be able to climb the launch tower — equivalent to seven flights of stairs — in less than 90 seconds and be able to fasten his or her own harness in less than 15 seconds.

The astronaut must also be comfortable with lots of pressure pressing down on him or her for several minutes during both the ascent and descent.

Proceeds from the winning bid will be donated to Club for the Future, a science and technology education foundation affiliated with Blue Origin, Ms. Cornell said.

Ms. Cornell declined to comment on potential pricing for regular tickets, and when they might go on sale for the general public. But she said there would be “a couple more crewed flights before the end of the year.”

She also declined to answer whether Mr. Bezos would be on the first flight and did not say if and when he would go to space.

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Sotheby’s and Phillips Announce Departures and Arrivals

On Wednesday, two of the three major auction houses announced shifts in the makeup of their leadership teams.

Phillips announced that Stephen Brooks would become the company’s next chief executive as its former leader, Edward Dolman, transitioned to a new role as executive chairman. Separately, Sotheby’s said that the head of its fine art division, Amy Cappellazzo, would depart the company after more than five years guiding it toward billionaire clients and major sales; her duties will be divided among three different employees when she leaves the auction house this summer.

Changes in the upper echelons of the auction world demonstrate how companies are trying to reposition themselves for growth during the pandemic, said Natasha Degen, chair of art market studies at the Fashion Institute of Technology.

26 percent decline in global auction sales last year. “So auction houses quickly pivoted online. They have taken a real interest in new categories like NFTs, sneakers and streetwear. There are also more collaborations between auction houses and luxury brands.”

Credit…via Phillips

Earlier this week, Phillips revealed a new advisory service intended to help their clients find works of art in the primary market, which consists of galleries and artists’ studios. The initiative demonstrated how auction houses have taken the year to diversify their offerings, making incursions into business areas once firmly controlled by art galleries.

“Our ambition is considerable,” said Brooks, who regards the advisory service as part of a larger plan to accelerate growth at the auction house. Brooks, 56, a key member of the board of Christie’s and its executive management team for over 11 years, also has plans to expand Phillips’s footprint in Asia and the 20th-century art market. He added that he would like to see the company double the size of its overall business in the next five years.

At Sotheby’s, change involves a triumvirate of new positions. Brooke Lampley will oversee auctions and private sales for categories including old masters and contemporary art; Mari-Claudia Jiménez will lead the company’s global business development activities; and Gregoire Billault is being promoted to chairman of contemporary art.

Art Agency, Partners, in 2014. Two years later, Sotheby’s acquired the company for $85 million and she signed a five-year contract, which ended in January.

Her tenure at Sotheby’s helped cement her reputation as an industry rainmaker. In 2016, she organized an auction of the musician David Bowie’s trove of artworks and a year later oversaw the $110.5 million sale of a Basquiat painting. Earlier this year, she also helped secure the $150 million collection of the philanthropist Anne Marion, which will be auctioned at Sotheby’s this spring.

“You sort of know when it’s the right time to leave,” Cappellazzo said in an interview, declining to discuss her next venture except to say that it would not be in direct competition with Sotheby’s. “The real story is what I’m doing next, but first I want this chapter to finish.”

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