Should a museum auction its art to raise funds?

Oct 28, 2020
It's an existential question, says art critic Blake Gopnik. Once a work of art is in a museum, it's supposed to be more or less unsellable.
The Baltimore Museum of Art's plan to sell off pieces in its collection — including a silk screen of Andy Warhol's "The Last Supper," pictured above — was met with backlash from patrons and donors.
Lex Van Lieshout/AFP/GettyImages

Nobel laureate Robert Wilson says auctions pervade our everyday life

Oct 13, 2020
Many products are now sold using "package auctions" for a more efficient allocation of goods.
It's not just art sales. Auctions are instrumental in advertising sales, electricity prices, property purchases and more.
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

U.S. economists win Nobel Prize for auction theory work

The winning economists designed auctions that allow for multiple bids over a period of time.
U.S. economists Paul Milgrom and Robert Wilson won the Nobel Prize in economics work on commercial auctions, including for goods and services difficult to sell in traditional ways such as radio frequencies, the Nobel Committee said.
Anders Wiklund/TT News Agency/AFP via Getty Images

2 Americans win Nobel prize in economics for auction theory

Oct 12, 2020
Americans Paul R. Milgrom and Robert B. Wilson won the Nobel Prize in economics on Monday for “improvements to auction theory and inventions of new auction formats.”
U.S. economists Paul Milgrom and Robert Wilson won the Nobel Prize in economics work on commercial auctions, including for goods and services difficult to sell in traditional ways such as radio frequencies, the Nobel Committee said.
Anders Wiklund/TT News Agency/AFP via Getty Images

Auction industry readies for COVID-19 business closures

May 13, 2020
The last order of business for many bankrupt companies — restaurants in particular — is to put their assets under the gavel.
A closed restaurant in Washington, D.C., in March. Auction companies are predicting a wave of closures and liquidations due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

The business behind celebrity auctions

Aug 10, 2018
What started in 1970 with a massive MGM auction has turned into a multimillion-dollar global business.
Sotheby's auctioneer Oliver Barker fields bids at the white-glove sale of David Bowie's personal art collection on November 10, 2016 in London, England. 
Michael Bowles/Getty Images for Sotheby's

Rockefeller auction at Christie's expected to bring in $500 million or more for charity

May 1, 2018
The items at the auction include everything from David Rockefeller’s gold cuff links to Picasso paintings that were once owned by writer Gertrude Stein.
Spencer Platt / Getty Images

You’ve got questions. We help you answer them.

Support nonprofit, independent journalism that makes you smarter.

That $100 million Leonardo da Vinci painting might not even be by Leonardo da Vinci

Nov 15, 2017
But art critic Blake Gopnik explains why that might not be the right question to ask.
A view of Leonardo da Vinci's Salvator Mundi, which could rake in more than $100 million tonight at auction.
TOLGA AKMEN/AFP/Getty Images

First map of Disneyland sells for $708,000 at auction

Jun 26, 2017
It was created by Walt Disney and fellow illustrator Herb Ryman in just one weekend to woo theme park investors in 1953.
Mickey Mouse and his friends celebrate the 60th anniversary of Disneyland Park during a ceremony at Sleeping Beauty Castle in Anaheim, California.
Disney parks handout/Getty

Art auction at Christie's sets record for expensive art

May 13, 2015
But is the price tag more about setting a record than the art itself?