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The Contemporary Art Evening auction at Phillips on February 12 features works by many art world heavyweights including Andy Warhol, Allen Jones, Julian Schnabel, and Antony Gormley, but the star that is likely to steal the show is undoubtedly Ai Weiwei's sculpture "Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads." This group of 12 gold-plated sculptures, portraying the signs of the Chinese zodiac, is offered as Lot 8 with a pre-sale estimate of £2-£3m.

Created in 2010 the zodiac heads are inspired by those which once comprised a water clock-fountain at the Old Summer Palace, the complex of palaces and gardens in Beijing built between 1750 and 1764 by Emperor Qianlong of the Qing dynasty.

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Soledad Lorenzo, one of Spain’s most important gallerists, has announced that she will donate her vast personal art collection to the Museo Reina Sofia in Madrid. Featuring 385 artworks, the donation is composed in its majority of pieces from artists she exhibited in her gallery, including Antoni Tàpies, Miquel Barceló, Eduardo Chillida, Tony Oursler, George Condo, Julian Schnabel, Luis Gordillo, and Juan Uslé.

Museo Reina Sofía issued a press release stating that Lorenzo’s gift is of an unprecedented scale in Spain.

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Amagansett firefighters are working to contain a fire in a guest house on the art dealer Larry Gagosian's Further Lane property. 

The fire, which was suspected to be electrical in origin, was reported after an alarm went off around 4:45 p.m. Firefighters reported light smoke in the crawl space, and they were checking behind walls with thermal imaging cameras.

The iconic 11,000-square-foot house, designed by the late Charles Gwathmey, was heavily damaged in a June 2011 fire that was linked to plumbing work.

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On Wednesday, May 14, Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Evening Sale in New York garnered $364 million, falling well within the auction’s pre-sale estimate of $337 million to $474 million. Of the 79 lots offered, 12 failed to find buyers. While the auction fell short of Christie’s monumental $475 million sale, which took place the evening before, new records were set for twelve artists at Sotheby’s, including Julian Schnabel, Wade Guyton, Rosemarie Trockel, Dan Flavin, Matthew Barney, and Keith Haring.

The top lot of the night was Andy Warhol’s “Six Self-Portraits,” which had resided in a private collection since its creation in 1986. The portraits, which are among the last works created by the pioneering Pop artist, sold for $30.1 million (estimate: $25 million to $35 million). The Warhol works were trailed by Gerhard Richter’s oil-on-canvas painting “Blaud” (1988), which sold to a telephone bidder for $28.7 million (estimate: $25 million to $35 million) and Jeff Koons’ mirror polished stainless steel sculpture with transparent color coating titled “Popeye” (1988), which fetched $28.2 million (estimate on request). The 6 ½-foot tall sculpture was purchased by billionaire casino tycoon and art collector Steve Wynn, who plans to display the work in his Las Vegas casino.

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The Bowdoin College Museum of Art in Brunswick, ME announced that it has received 320 works from the collection of Dorothy and Herb Vogel. The gift, which includes works by Julian Schnabel and Richard Tuttle, will greatly enhance the museum’s modern and contemporary art holdings and is among the most significant donations the institution has received in its more than 200-year history.

The late Herb Vogel and his wife, Dorothy, began collecting art in the early 1960s and went on to build one of the most notable collections of minimal, conceptual, and post-minimal art. Following the gift to the Bowdoin College Museum of Art, Dorothy said, “This donation represents a true highlight in the giving of our collection. I take pleasure knowing that artworks included here, by leading American artists, have the capacity to inspire many generations of audiences, from students to locals, to a broad range of international visitors.”

The gift is one of the largest contributions of works from the Vogels’ collection since the couple made a major donation to Washington, D.C.’s National Gallery of Art in 1992.

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Wednesday, 08 August 2012 11:43

Time's Art Critic, Robert Hughes, Dies at 74

Robert Hughes, who brought a muscular, confrontational writing style to the genteel world of art criticism, and whose books and television programs on art and the history of his native Australia brought him a worldwide following, died Aug. 6 at a hospital in the Bronx. He was 74.

His wife, Doris Downes, released a statement saying her husband “had been very ill for some time.” His health had been somewhat precarious since a near-fatal car accident in 1999.

Mr. Hughes had wide-ranging interests and published a memoir, a book about fishing and biographies of artists, in addition to two monumental surveys of art history. His 1987 book about the settlement of Australia, “The Fatal Shore,” was considered a masterpiece and became an international bestseller.

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