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THE X FACTOR. The 256-year-old auction house Christie’s is launching a new department it has dubbed Department X, which will focus on sneakers, streetwear, and “rare collectibles across a number of genres—music, fashion, art, and sports history,” per a news release from the firm. “I am excited for new and existing clients of Christie’s to embark on this journey with us,” Caitlin Donovan, the company’s head of handbags, streetwear, and sneakers, said in a statement. First up from the new entity: a private selling exhibition in New York called “Ye Walks,” which will feature two pairs of sneakers designed by multihyphenate Kanye West in 2008.
JOB POSTINGS. The Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis has tapped Jessica Whittaker to be its deputy director, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. Whittaker was previously director of visitor services for the Cleveland Museum of Art. Alicia Longwell is retiring as chief curator of the Parrish Art Museum in Water Mill, New York, after 38 years at the institution, per ArtDaily. And Honolulu’s Hawai‘i Contemporary, which organizes the Hawai‘i Triennial, has a new executive director, ArtAsiaPacific reports: Rosina Potter. She has been artistic director of Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea and is on the board of the Maui Arts Society. Hawai‘i Contemporary’s former director, Katherine Don, is now its director of partnerships.
A foundation in Singapore that had taken legal action to halt a KAWS show late last year over intellectual property claims apologized to its organizers, Hong Kong’s AllRightsReserved agency. The statement was tied to a settlement reached by the parties outside of court. [The Straits Times and Artnet News]
Critic Peter Schjeldahl filed a rave review of the new Piet Mondrian biography by the late Hans Janssen, and quoted a passage that reports that, in his youth, the artist “developed a reputation for interesting, prolonged kisses, sometimes lasting for more than half an hour.” [The New Yorker]
Ebony L. Haynes, the director of David Zwirner’s 52 Walker space in Manhattan, answered “21 Questions” for Curbed. The New Yorker Haynes would like to hang out with? Jay-Z. “I’d like to DJ with him and go song for song,” she said. [Curbed]
The Freelands Award, which gives £110,000 (about $119,000) to a U.K. museum to fund a show of a mid-career artist who is a woman, named its shortlist. The artists in the running are Zarina Bhimji, Anya Gallaccio, Everlyn Nicodemus, and Katrina Palmer. [ArtReview]
Trend alert: “Furniture stores are packed with chairs right now that appear to be art objects rather than something you might actually sit on,” Monica Khemsurov reports, in a story about popular “chairs that don’t look like chairs.” [Bloomberg]
ARTIST INTERVIEWS.Samson Kambalu, who will unveil his sculpture for the prestigious Fourth Plinth in London’s Trafalgar Square on Wednesday, got the profile treatment from Claire Armitstead in the Guardian, and in the same paper, Rene Matić, who has a show up at South London Gallery right now, chatted with Skye Sherwin.
THE WUNDERKIND. We live in incredible times. Andres Valencia is only 10 years old, but one of his paintings (which have kind of a cartoon Picasso-meets-Bernard Buffet-meets-Romero Britto feel) recently sold for more than $150,000 at Phillips, the New York Times notes in a story on the young artist. Alexander Shulan, the proprietor of Manhattan’s Lomex gallery, is the voice of reason in the story, saying that “it’s pretty ridiculous for anyone to assume that an investment will have longevity for a 24-year-old painter, let alone an artist so much younger—an actual child, in this case.” [NYT]