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NSA director and nearly all US Joint Chiefs of Staff in isolation for COVID-19
October 7, 2020 by Joseph Fitsanakis Seven of the eight members of the United States Joint Chiefs of Staff —the group that brings together the nation’s most senior uniformed leaders— are in self-imposed isolation, after attending a meeting with a Coast Guard admiral who has since tested positive for COVID-19. As the list of senior…
October 7, 2020
by Joseph Fitsanakis
Seven of the eight members of the United States Joint Chiefs of Staff —the group that brings together the nation’s most senior uniformed leaders— are in self-imposed isolation, after attending a meeting with a Coast Guard admiral who has since tested positive for COVID-19. As the list of senior American government officials that are in self-imposed isolation continues to grow, it was reported yesterday that the director of the National Security Agency, US Army General Paul Nakasone, was also self-isolating until further notice.
Royal Opera House’s $16.8 M. Hockney Stars in Christie’s $118 M. Paris-London Series
To get the backstory behind buyers and sellers in Christie’s Paris and London October evening sales, read Colin Gleadell’s detailed Art Market Monitor report available to AMMpro subscribers. On Thursday, Christie’s brought in a total of £90.3 million ($118 million) with buyer’s premium across four sales at its Paris and London headquarters. In the auction series,…
To get the backstory behind buyers and sellers in Christie’s Paris and London October evening sales, read Colin Gleadell’s detailed Art Market Monitor report available to AMMpro subscribers.
On Thursday, Christie’s brought in a total of £90.3 million ($118 million) with buyer’s premium across four sales at its Paris and London headquarters. In the auction series, titled “20th Century: London to Paris,” the house deployed the live-streamed format, with Christie’s France president Cécile Verdier and its Europe president Jussi Pylkkänen at the helm.
The total hammer price was £77.9 million ($101.9 million), landing at the low end of the pre-sale estimate of £76 million ($99.4 million). With premium, the sales generated a total £90.3 million ($118.4 million), achieving a solid 84 percent sell-through rate.
Still unable to host large live audiences, auction houses have engineered new set-ups that focus attention on the bidding dynamic across specialists and auction staff—which acts as a way to inject tension without the energy of a salesroom packed with buyers. Typically, there are more than 100 guests at a Christie’s sale of this kind; last night, there were eight live guests in the room according to Pylkkänen, who led the London auction.
In a post-sale press conference, Christie’s representatives said that the format—which was once unconventional, and is now becoming the norm—holds out promise for the future. “It’s about creating bridges across our selling centers,” Pylkkänen said. “The vocabulary of the art market has changed fundamentally.”
“We know it’s a difficult moment—it’s a challenging market,” said Christie’s CEO Guillaume Cerutti. “We need to be creative by buildings sales that are selective…. Creativity is key in this market.”
The Paris sale hammered around the low estimate of at £15.52 million ($20.3 million), or £17.1 million ($22.4 million) with buyer’s fees. A guaranteed painting by centenarian abstract artist Pierre Soulages hammered at £4.5 million ($5.9 million), below the low estimate of £6 million ($7.1 million). A 1968 abstraction by Zao Wou-Ki sold for €2 million ($2.4 million) with fees, doubling its low estimate.
The contemporary art sale in brought in a total of £49.2 million ($64.3 million), hammering at £41.3 million ($54 million), just above the low estimate of £40.9 million ($53.5 million). A Francis Bacon portrait estimated at £4 million–£6 million and an Albert Oehlen estimated at £2.5 million–£3.5 million were each withdrawn from the sale.
The top lot was Peter Doig’s Boiler Room (1993), which went to a bidder on the phone with specialist Katherine Arnold for £13.9 million ($18.2 million), hammering below the estimate of £13 million. Next was David Hockney’s commissioned Portrait of Sir David Webster (1971), which was sold by the Royal Opera House to raise funds as part of a long-term financial recovery plan. Hammering at £11 million ($14.4 million) and likely going to the guarantor, it sold for a total of £12.9 million ($16.8 million) with buyer’s premium. The third-most expensive lot was Bacon’s Study of the Human Body (1991), acquired by the seller from the estate of the artist. It sold for £5.5 million ($7.2 million) with buyer’s fees.
Titus Kaphar, Fidelity, 2010.
Christie’s Images Ltd 2000.
The house brought Marina Abramović’s The Life, a 19-minute mixed reality performance featuring the artist’s 3D digital avatar, to auction, making it the first work of its kind ever to hit the block. The private Copenhagen-based Faurschou Foundation won the piece with a hammer of £230,000 ($300,856), far below its £400,000 low estimate.
Works by market darling Titus Kaphar, who has recently seen a spike in demand following his addition to Gagosian’s roster, saw steep competition. Fidelity (2010), depicting a mummified figure and a dog, sold for £250,000 ($326,000)—double its low estimate. This week, Kaphar saw a new record at with the sale of his 2016 painting Alternate Endings for £466,200 ($604,350) at Phillips London.
A 2005 portrait by Canadian artist Steven Shearer, whose works do not come up at auction often, sold for £125,000 ($163,000). The result follows ex-Christie’s chairman Loic Gouzer’s sale of Shearer’s Synthist for $437,000 as the debut work for his members-only auction app Fair Warning in June. The previous record price for the artist was $164,014, for the work HASH, which sold at Sotheby’s London in October 2015.
Elsewhere in the sale, works by Rudolf Stingel and Anish Kapoor—whose markets have declined somewhat in recent years—failed to find buyers.
Following the contemporary sale was “Thinking Italian Art & Design,” which brought in £5.9 million with fees ($7.7 million) across 18 lots, landing well below the £9.7 million ($12.7 million) low estimate and seeing a 54 percent sell through rate. Dealer Paul Haim’s collection of large-scale sculptures totaled £18.6 million with premium ($24.3 million).
‘Boycott French products’ launched over Macron’s Islam comments
Several Arab trade associations have announced the boycott of French products, protesting the recent comments made by President Emmanuel Macron on Islam. Earlier this month, Macron pledged to fight “Islamist separatism”, which he said was threatening to take control in some Muslim communities around France. He also described Islam as a religion “in crisis” worldwide and…
Several Arab trade associations have announced the boycott of French products, protesting the recent comments made by President Emmanuel Macron on Islam.
Earlier this month, Macron pledged to fight “Islamist separatism”, which he said was threatening to take control in some Muslim communities around France.
He also described Islam as a religion “in crisis” worldwide and said the government would present a bill in December to strengthen a 1905 law that officially separated church and state in France.
His comments, in addition to his backing of satirical outlets publishing caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad, has led to a social media campaign calling for the boycott of French products from supermarkets in Arab countries and Turkey.
Hashtags such as the #BoycottFrenchProducts in English and the Arabic #ExceptGodsMessenger trended across countries including Kuwait, Qatar, Palestine, Egypt, Algeria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.
In Kuwait, the chairman and members of the board of directors of the Al-Naeem Cooperative Society decided to boycott all French products and to remove them from supermarket shelves.
The Dahiyat al-Thuhr association took the same step, saying: “Based on the position of French President Emmanuel Macron and his support for the offensive cartoons against our beloved prophet, we decided to remove all French products from the market and branches until further notice.”
Putting an insulting picture of the Prophet (pbuh)in a French building is an unprecedented challenge and an insult to a billion and a half of Muslims around the worldAs Muslims, we must boycott #BoycottFrance #boycottfrenchproducts pic.twitter.com/lauaiPofKG
— Muhammad Akeel (@MuhammadAkeel0) October 24, 2020
Kuwait started who’s next #إلا_رسول_الله#Koweit #kuwait pic.twitter.com/0t7wEE5DRq
— عـبداللـه العويهان (@a_alowaihan1) October 24, 2020
#Tunisians launch the #BoycottFrenchProducts campaign in response to attacks on #Islam and #prophetMuhammed in #France.#تونس #قاطعوا_المنتجات_الفرنسية #إلا_رسول_الله #فرنسا pic.twitter.com/AKRsI28y9A
— Mourad TEYEB (مــراد التـائـب) (@MouradTeyeb) October 23, 2020
In Qatar, the Wajbah Dairy company announced a boycott of French products and pledged to provide alternatives, according to their Twitter account.
Al Meera Consumer Goods Company, a Qatari joint stock company, announced on Twitter: “We have immediately withdrawn French products from our shelves until further notice.”
“We affirm that as a national company, we work according to a vision consistent with our true religion, our established customs and traditions, and in a way that serves our country and our faith and meets the aspirations of our customers.”
Qatar University also joined the campaign. Its administration has postponed a French Cultural Week event indefinitely, citing the “deliberate abuse of Islam and its symbols”.
(1/2) عطفًا على مستجدات الأحداث الأخيرة والمتعلقة بالإساءة المتعمدة للإسلام ورموزه، فقد قرَّرت إدارة جامعة قطر تأجيل فعالية الأسبوع الفرنسي الثقافي إلى أجل غير مسمى.
— جامعة قطر (@QatarUniversity) October 23, 2020
In a statement on Twitter, the university said any prejudice against Islamic belief, sanctities and symbols is “totally unacceptable, as these offences harm universal human values and the highest moral principles that contemporary societies highly regard”.
The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) described Macron’s statements as “irresponsible”, and said they are aimed at spreading a culture of hatred among peoples.
“At a time when efforts must be directed towards promoting culture, tolerance and dialogue between cultures and religions, such rejected statements and calls for publishing insulting images of the Prophet (Muhammad) – may blessings and peace be upon him – are published,” said the council’s secretary-general, Nayef al-Hajraf.
Al-Hajraf called on world leaders, thinkers and opinion leaders to reject hate speech and contempt of religions and their symbols, and to respect the feelings of Muslims, instead of falling captive to Islamophobia.
In a statement, Kuwait’s foreign ministry warned against the support of abuses and discriminatory policies that link Islam to terrorism, saying it “represents a falsification of reality, insults the teachings of Islam, and offends the feelings of Muslims around the world”.
On Friday, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) condemned what it said was France’s continued attack against Muslims by insulting religious symbols.
The secretariat of the Jeddah-based organisation said in a statement it is surprised at the official political rhetoric issued by some French officials that offend French-Islamic relations and fuels feelings of hatred for political party gains.